Imagine if we met on January 1st of this year and I said that the U.S. stock market would be up double digits in August. You would probably be thrilled with the prospect. So here we are in the middle of August with double-digit stock market gains and yet many people feel less than upbeat about the situation. The recent large swings in the market have diminished our enthusiasm.
While I am no Marie Kondo, I sometimes feel the need to straighten out the clutter on my desk. I definitely operate more efficiently when my office is neater.
Having less clutter in your financial life can be useful as well. Multiple bank accounts, brokerage accounts, and credit cards can accumulate over time for no particular reason. This collection of accounts often serves no purpose other than to create paperwork and confusion.
There is a small, but fervent movement afoot among Millennials known as FIRE -- Financial Independence, Retire Early. It's sort of a hipper version of the old country song by Jonny Paycheck: "Take This Job and Shove It."
It's hard to imagine randomly receiving $2,000 -- with no strings attached -- and be anything other than happy. But watching "Let's Make a Deal" the other day showed me the opposite may be true.
We enter 2019 with a lot of volatility in the stock market, just as we did in January 2009. Presently, the world economy appears to be slowing down. But the current situation is nothing like the economic jolt that occurred 10 years ago. We've been experiencing a recovery since then that was hard to anticipate at the time.
Market downturns happen. While acknowledging the pain that losses may cause, the current situation can be viewed as a "bright, shiny object" that prevents us from focusing on our long-term investment goals. Diversification can help us ride out the storm in the interim. Take a listen.
Here's a favorite from the Moody Blues "Days of Future Past" -- a live version of "Tuesday Afternoon." The year 1970 clearly had a different look to it.
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