Archive for the ‘Past’ Category

Remembering Black Tuesday

Remembering Black Tuesday

Summary of the Dow Jones Industrial Average on Black Tuesday and the closing numbers for October 29, 2013.

Does anyone remember Black Tuesday? It was the day that marked the beginning of the Wall Street Crash of 1929.

Eighty-four years ago today, we were on the brink of the Great Depression. We call it the Great Depression – not because it was good but because of the scope and duration of this event. Today we are entering into unprecedented territory once again as the market reaches new highs. Reflecting on the last eighty-four years, what lessons have we learned and how can we use that information going forward?

Manage risk properly.

Speculative trading magnifies profits AND losses. Understand the risks going in and develop an appropriate risk strategy. If you are emotionally involved, consider working with a professional to give perspective. You can still make the final decision. I remember a time shortly after 9/11 when the markets were particularly uncertain. I spoke to an investor who sold all of their holdings because they feared losing money. They succeeding in locking in losses and when they finally felt safe enough to buy back in, they purchased at a higher price. Instead of paper losses they realized capital losses. Ouch! They were upset with their decision and in hindsight wished they had not sold at a loss. Tough lesson on the price of allowing your emotions to make your investment decisions.

No one has a crystal ball.

If you had asked someone in 1929 to predict where the stock market would be in 2013, they would have been hard pressed to imagine it would be in the 15,000 range.  The truth is that the market will continue to do three things – rise, fall and stay flat. It is possible to make money in each environment and understanding which strategies work best in different market conditions will make you a more successful investor.

Knowledge is power.

Understanding your values, goals, time horizon and risk tolerance pays big dividends. Most people distract themselves with market movements and are looking at those numbers to check their performance. That is useful information however, it is more important to measure your progress towards your goals. The market may be down but if you are on track with your goals, you sleep better at night and it is less scary to open up your quarterly statements. Conversely, the market may be up and if you are not on track to meet your goals, you are feeling a false sense of security and it is time to reevaluate your plan and get back on track. Up, down or sideways – it is important to measure YOUR progress against YOUR goals.

Remember these lessons and learn from Black Tuesday.






Living in the Past Lane

Living in the past?

Are you living in the past, present or future?


Past performance is not indicative of future results…

This standard disclaimer applies to many investment vehicles. It typically does not apply to human behavior. We are creatures of habit and tend to do the same thing – even when it becomes painfully obvious that it is not working.

The past often provides clues about our present.  If we seek change, it is fruitful to spend a few moments sifting through the past. What were our financial circumstances growing up? Were we raised with an abundance or scarcity mindset? How was money talked about (if at all)? What are our beliefs about money? As children we adopt the belief system of our parental units or caregivers. These beliefs become part of our operating system when we grow up. Unless we look at our beliefs, we hold on to some ideas that are not consistent with our current reality. Those beliefs limit our future reality.  When we continue to believe that money does not grow on trees, we miss out on the opportunity to become an orchard owners or to enjoy the fruits of our labor.

There is a deep-seated fear in our culture about having limited financial resources. That fear paralyzes us and keeps us on the sidelines when we could take action.

A few years ago, I talked with someone who had $1,000,000 in idle cash. They were terrified of losing money. They had enough assets to cover their living expenses until age 100 and beyond. It was not about the money. It was this deep-seated fear about something that was not true at the present moment in time. We often blame money. Money is only a tool. Consider fear as a road sign alerting you to slow down and look at your beliefs.  Ask yourself – is this happening now or am I reacting to something from my past?

We cling to the old and familiar long after it quits serving us.  The road feels bumpy as you blaze new trails and create new habits. It often helps to have support as you travel along this brave new path.

Are you stuck in the past? Schedule your complimentary initial consult today!


Is Happiness Expensive?

Happiness is Expensive

Is happiness really expensive?

This message has haunted me these last few days. I believe that UNhappiness is expensive. If you are unhappy and use money to chase happiness, it leads to more unhappiness. So you spend more money and the cycle repeats until you are broke or wake up and realize that something has to change.

Happiness is a choice. It is a decision we make. It has nothing to do with the amount of toys we have or the number of zeroes in our bank accounts. Every day we are bombarded with messages that feed this myth. We believe that if we buy that new shiny/pretty, we will be happy. Been there done that and believe me folks, it does not work.

I used to postpone my happiness. I would set goals and when I reached them, I felt hollow. So I set more goals. The more “successful” I became, the less happy I felt. I believed that more money was the answer. I finally decided to stop chasing happy. I gave up the illusion that more money or any other shiny/pretty would make me happy. I decided to be happy NOW.  I sat myself down an looked at my values. I examined my wants and needs and realized that some of my needs were frozen needs. I started thawing them out. At first, I had to fake happy. Then I started to notice that I was not faking it anymore. I was pleasantly surprised at how much peace came with that decision.

There were a few things that helped me along this path and I wanted to share them with you.

1. Turn off the television.

I went hardcore and got rid of mine completely. You may want to start with going a day, week or month without television. Notice what happens and how you spend your time. This gives you some space from marketing messages.

2. Connect with like-minded happy people.

They say birds of a feather flock together. Notice the people around you. Are they always complaining or are they positive people? How do you contribute? Can you decide to be happy together? We cannot control others, however we can make choices about how we spend our time. Do you need to expand your circle and find new friends? Be kind and compassionate with yourself and others as you work this out.

3. Learn to distinguish between wants, needs and frozen needs.

As humans, we all  have basic needs – food, clothing and shelter. We also have emotional needs. Some of our needs were not met as children and so those needs are frozen in time. We can never go back and change the fact that there was a lack. If we try to fill those needs in the present time, we find that we are never satisfied.  Ask yourself what you are hoping to accomplish with a particular want or need. What expectations do you have and are they being met? Are your expectations realistic? Are they based on old hurts? Journaling is a great tool to start sorting this out. If appropriate, seek professional help and guidance if you decide that you do not want to work on this alone.

If you find yourself caught in the spiral of using money to chase happiness, I invite you to sign up for my blog updates and to stay tuned for more tips and suggestions on this topic and others.