The New York City Marathon and Your Investment Portfolio
You can tell when there's a lot of misinformation when it could be a monthly blog topic and you'd never have to devise another one to write about again.
As the markets start to improve, the flood of "the next bad news" has been surplanted by "the next best thing you can do." And, that's what the financial periodicals and websites are starting to spew out. There's all sorts of recommendations, buy high-dividend paying stocks (isn't it odd that right when tax rates are poised to increase that there'd be a recommendation to buy stocks who generate taxable distributions?) or go for "yield" to keep your income up (better known as the "straight-jacekt approach, it never works) or get entirely out of bonds and cash and put everything you own into stocks because "now is the time."
Every year, thousands of people run the New York City Marathon. Probably less than 1% of them are running it to win it. Everyone else, God bless them, is out there for some other much more personal reason, and that's exactly my point.
The financial media (and way too many investors for that matter) come to a common worldview that what every investor is doing or must do, is to attempt to make as much money as they can at every turn of the market, irrespective of goals, timing to reach those goals or perhaps more importantly, the risk involved. Just like the marathon, most investors should be basing their investment decisions on more personal matters such as their lives, their financial security and their willingness to accept risk. Not on maximizing the return on their money at any cost.
And, thankfully, most of the people that run the marathon with no hope to win it, still plan on winning. But they want to win something less newsworthy, but equally as valuable, their own progress in their heads and hearts.
Winning takes on many forms. Losing money takes on one. When it's gone, it's gone no matter what the race may have felt like at the beginning. So why not focus on your goals not someone elses.