MONEY matters

Mark Zaifman's thoughts on money, global economic trends and politics

Invest, Pray, Love

Mark Zaifman   |    Wed, May 18, 2011 @ 05:57 PM
no risk investing

Last week I’m having lunch with a few of my friends. And as usual, since I’m the investment guy of the group, everyone feels compelled to share their latest stock tip of the month with me as well as their latest score in the market.

These are the same friends that along with most investors, ‘white knuckled’ it through the recent stock market crash.  It was only a few years ago when the stock market became the perfect symbol of the collective fear felt around the globe during that way too scary time.

I googled: ‘Dow Jones closing averages’ for 2009. Then I looked at my Outlook calendar for 2009. Turns out I met with the same bunch of guys for lunch on March 6th, 2009. Guess what the Dow Jones closed at on 3/6/09? 6626.94. Gulp! Today, the Dow closed at 12,560.18. And what a ride back up it’s been.

Lunch - March 6th, 2009

Here’s what I remember most about that lunch. There was a lot of praying going on that afternoon, a lot! If I remember correctly, the most common prayer went something like this: Please God, if you make me whole in the market, bring my 401k back up to its value before the crash, I swear I’ll never put that much money into the stock market again.

Fast forward to my lunch last week, and my friends. (I do not manage their investments but I love hanging with these guys.) It’s as if the stock market crash never occurred. When I asked each friend how much of their portfolio is allocated to stocks and mutual stock funds, not one person was lower than 90%. “You have to be kidding” was my response. These are the same guys that promised themselves they would never ever, ever be that risky with their investments.

Be a Smart Investor

Please, take a few minutes to remember the promises you might have made to yourself about how you would do things differently next time if your investment portfolio recovered. To see where the stock market closed back in March of 2009 and where it is today, it’s easy to get swept back up in the frenzy.

Having a smart long-term financial plan and a well diversified investment portfolio is truly one of the keys to long term financial success. Yet, we’re human, and the temptation to take way more risk than is prudent is hard to resist.

So if you need a little help with the discipline required to develop a well balanced portfolio, just think back to March, 2009, how scary that time truly was, and see if that doesn’t motivate you to review your portfolio. And if that doesn’t work, give me a call  -we’ll talk.

long term financial plan

prayer candles photo by Barkaw