Everyone is crazed about recent declines in the stock market, paper losses and who to blame for this debacle.
It just dawned on me: I forget to blame anyone for my stock gains in the past!
That’s right: in the last 20 years I’ve had some exceptional years when my stocks appreciated greatly. One year I averaged a 38% gain. Dang–I forgot to blame anyone.
Oh that’s right, I didn’t need to blame. Like everyone else who profited, I happily took credit for my investing brilliance. (And the technology implosion proved I wasn’t very smart after all).
The stock market goes up and down as do individual stocks. The problem today is that we had been spoiled by what many consider the longest run of American prosperity in history. With a few minor setbacks, the market chugged onward and upward and people got used to seeing gains, not losses.
But the physics of the universe didn’t change. Gravity still affects like on planet earth and the stock market as well.
We loved the gains and now we’re angry about the losses.
Silly, isn’t it? To think that somehow we should have been entitled to ongoing gains without any of the natural consequences of a decline?
Am I upset about my losses? You bet. On a bad day I get angry. Nobody likes to lose money, on paper or otherwise. But I’m the one responsible. Nobody made me buy or sell stocks when I did. No evil force prevented me from prudently moving more to cash before the sudden decline.
So here’s an idea that’s worked for me: get angry and then get over it. Do what you need to do to preserve capital and position yourself to make money in the future.
Just don’t waste time looking for somebody to blame.