Solving the PuzzleSubmitted by Fountain Financial Associates | Financial Advisors on February 13th, 2019
Posted by Vinton Fountain in the FFA Spring 2019 Newsletter
On the morning of September 15th, 2018 hurricane Florence made landfall in the Cape Fear region. The storm ravaged our community and its citizens as the world watched mother nature prove her permanent domain. At the Fountain’s house, we were pleased that we were safe and out of harm’s way.
Adversity set in and I was reminded of the proverb “he that can’t endure the bad will not live to see the good.” So, I put on my game face and did what we do...hunker down and practice mental toughness. My wife introduced a puzzle that was probably the most difficult I have ever seen. Complex design, color and variations were abundant in the intricate design of what looked like thousands of pieces. This puzzle reminded me of our investment challenge. How do we assimilate the vast complexities into a cohesive simple and gratifying completion?
The investor’s dilemma may seem like a puzzle at times. With market volatility, problems in the world such as global conflict, tariffs, government shutdowns, Federal Reserve policy and an endless list of potential threats to our lives and portfolios. It can be intimidating and frightful. How does an investor put together that puzzle?
First, the investor should remain focused. Not on the headlines, but on the portfolio goals. They are often different and certainly often in conflict. During periods of adversity like the recent volatility in the fourth quarter, investors can practice mental toughness as well. Second, stay committed to your goals and objectives. Changing the game plan during the middle of the storm is hazardous and problematic on many levels. Successful investing is mostly about execution, not speculating or guessing.
During periods of adversity, I encourage investors to redirect their thinking to things they can control. Have you defined what is important? Do you have a process for achieving the desired results? Are you engaging or communicating with your advisor? Events or circumstances that are out of your control such as economic conditions, fed policy, political discourse and worldwide conflicts will only create frustration, fear and potential emotional mistakes.
In concluding, the investor’s puzzle can require focus, patience, trust and mental toughness. I like to remind clients that adversity is not to be feared but actually welcomed. Emily Dickinson wrote “a wounded deer leaps the highest.” A good investment process is designed to handle the events of the day and benefit from discipline and grounded thinking.
The challenging puzzle on my table during the week after hurricane Florence ended up being a prescription for success. It afforded energy and focus on what we have as opposed to things we are without. Our lives are clearly abundant. Sometimes, it can take a storm or a puzzle to clarify our perspective.
We are here to help and support your success.