I’ve had occasion to think lately about how heartless my investment advice must sound. I glibly assure you that stock market dips are temporary, and things will be just fine in the long run, just suck it up and tough it out, already.
Sorry about that.
What I haven’t done is acknowledge that volatile markets feel bad and scary and make people upset. And that is a perfectly valid set of feelings, even when you tell yourself that you know these bad times will pass. And it’s perfectly natural to want to DO something when you feel bad and scared. And all I ever do is tell you to sit on your hands and chill out.
The life change that has made me see the error of my ways is parenting a teenager. The Monday-is-great-but-Tuesday-is-a-disaster, the feeling bad, the feeling scared, the feeling guilty are about to kill me. While I love my child, I super-duper hate being his parent right now.
You wise friends of adult children are nodding your heads and saying, “Yes, I remember those days. Yes, it was terrible, but just do what you are doing, and he will turn out just fine.” Yet, I so want to DO something different to end this family recession. Can’t you give me better advice than just, “Love them and things will work out?” It feels like what I’ve done so far has just led to a long bear market of the soul. Wow, that sounds dramatic.
Sure, in 5 years, I could look back on this time and laugh. Or cry. I know plenty of people for whom these years did not turn out just fine. But in the meantime, I will be more understanding when people panic about their accounts losing money. Turns out, I know exactly how they feel.