We live in a society based largely around instant gratification.
Order an Uber, get food delivered, snoop on friends, watch five episodes of a series back to back – it can all be done with a few taps of an app.
I always think the greatest indicator of our shortening attention spans can be seen through the sheer number of people that take their phones to the toilet with them.
This is who we are now.
When it comes to investing, and investing wisely, many will tell you that it’s a long game, and they’d be right.
Short-term gains are there for the taking, but as Consequence Private Wealth points out, “the consequences of decisions made today will bear fruit over the years based on the sound principles applied at their inception”.
A recent Forbes article looked at ways in which you can get a handle on successful long-term investing, starting with getting your finances in order:
Before you can invest for the long term, you need to know how much money you have to invest. That means getting your finances in order.
“Just like a doctor wouldn’t write you a prescription without diagnosing you first, an investment portfolio shouldn’t be recommended until a client has gone through a comprehensive financial planning process,” says Taylor Schulte, a San Diego-based certified financial planner (CFP)…
Long-term investing also comes with different desired goals, whether that’s saving for retirement, a child’s education (ouch – good luck with that), or buying a home.
In this respect, you should know your ‘time horizon’, which will help you focus on an appropriate investment and risk strategy.
Once you have both of the above sorted, it’s all about patience:
CFP Stacy Francis, president and CEO of Francis Financial in New York City… [says] it’s especially important to choose a portfolio of assets you’re comfortable with, so that you can be sure to stick with your strategy, no matter what.
“When there is a market downturn, there’s a lot of fear and anxiety as you see your portfolio tank,” Francis says. “But selling at that time and locking in losses is the worst thing you can do.”
I’ve suffered the temptation to pull that trigger myself. Panic, instant gratification, now!
Finally, whilst patience is a virtue, your investment strategy should be regularly reviewed:
Even though you’ve committed to sticking with your investing strategy, you still need to check in periodically and make adjustments…
Look for changes in your own situation, too. “A financial plan is a living breathing document,” Schulte says. “Things can change quickly in a client’s life, so it’s important to have those review meetings periodically to be sure a change in their situation doesn’t prompt a change with how their money is being invested.”
Regular check-ins can help with tweaks where needed, as well as reduce the desire to panic after a bad month or a bad headline.
There are plenty of ways to go it alone, and many investors do. If you prefer to go with the tried and tested professionals, with years of experience in helping families protect and build their wealth, we wish you peace of mind.
Especially to those of you reading this on the toilet, because you can’t be without your phone for five minutes.
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