Amid a period of scary viruses and social unrest, it’s time again for a reminder that the wise investor maintains a written long-term investment plan, then holds on tight and stays invested when markets are volatile. Despite everything, U.S. markets and the economy are showing remarkable hardiness. How is the US economy showing resiliency? Read on.
We experienced a nerve-wracking stock market correction in March 2020, with U.S. stocks declining about 33 percent. Since then, markets have come back strong. Stocks rose around 30 percent from mid-March to mid-June 2020, as measured by the S&P 500 large company index. Who could have guessed?
Then May brought surprisingly strong employment numbers as the economy gradually re-opened. The number of unemployed fell by 2.1 million, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. (Note: the bureau acknowledged misclassification of workers on temporary layoff in its reporting since March. While May’s unemployment rate remains high at 16.4 percent, it still represents a dramatic drop from April.)
It’s wise advice to remain calm and steady in challenging times. Doing so helps us endure and navigate the unpredictable. Investors, too, are often rewarded for staying calm in volatile markets.
“Emotions can have lasting consequences, and this is particularly true when you try to time the markets,” says Josh Hile, a Seattle-based investment analyst.
Perspective Financial clients have a clear, written, long-term investment plan, executed using broad diversification and reputable mutual funds. Rough times tend to be easier to get through, as a result.
Speaking of the U.S. economy – built on grit and a never-give-up spirit – allow me to share a book recommendation. Graham Moore’s The Last Days of Night is a historical novel about the invention of the light bulb and efficient electricity transmission. Featured in the story is the sometimes-nasty rivalry between Thomas Edison, George Westinghouse and Nikola Tesla. It’s an engaging read and wonderful break from every-day stress.
As Moore describes his work, “I love the notion that I could write something that two people could share. That’s the goal.”
Eat Complete by Drew Ramsey, MD effectively details the importance of nutrients and the role they play in brain health. After working with mood and anxiety disorders in patients, Ramsey began researching nutrition and how it affects the brain. His latest book is an amazing scientific resource detailing what nutrients your brain needs and why. For example, nutrients such as zinc and selenium – which most people don’t consider daily – are crucial in developing and protecting your brain.
Ramsey stresses the importance of meals that are tasty, budget appropriate and easy to make. Unfortunately, his recipes require a lot of prep and clean-up, and include expensive or difficult to find ingredients. They also lack alternatives for nut, egg, and shellfish allergies. So people with food allergies should consider the recipes a starting point, not a complete guide. If you are willing to try new foods and don’t have dietary restrictions, this is a great recipe book.
Overall, Eat Complete is an enjoyable, informative read that inspired me to change my grocery shopping and eating habits to improve my brain function. The nutritional information is universal. Those who enjoy reading about health and nutrition, learning about how the brain works, or delving into biological science, will find much to love. I recommend picking it up.
The True Super-Food
Did you know spinach contains 6 of the 21 essential nutrients? Magnesium, folate or folic acid (B9), vitamin E, vitamin K, iron and potassium provide nourishment for all three functions of brain support: foundation, protection and ignition. This is even better than kale or quinoa!
By Tobi McCann
Our energy and passions are often focused on personal achievement, financial success and building a life during our 20s, 30s and 40s. Though we also spend time giving back to our families and our community in different ways, something seems to happen when we reach our 50s and 60s. We begin thinking about legacy.
Author David Brooks calls this the second mountain in his latest book titled the same. He explains how early in our lives we spend our time climbing the first mountain, expending most of our time and energy striving for professional and financial success.
Sometimes, we fall down the mountain, into the valley. In that space, we may experience isolation and sadness. Perhaps we lose a loved one, or feel a lack of purpose or connection to others. Once we discover what we believe to be missing, we begin to think about ascending that second mountain.
“Here we can discover greater fulfillment and joy very different from that First Mountain,” Brooks writes. “We begin contemplating the legacy we want to leave our loved ones and our community, by making the world a better place in a small or big way.”
If you find yourself in that place and want to begin climbing that second mountain, make time for some self-reflection.
Here are questions to ask yourself when thinking about legacy:
- Who are the people most important to me? How am I showing up in their lives? Am I supporting them and sharing what I’ve learned to improve their lives?
- What stirs my passions? What experiences, both personally and professionally, have motivated me to help, support and connect with others? What talents can I share?
- How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me? How do I want to be remembered? How can I align my time and resources to what reflect who I am and what matters most to me?
There’s no better way to enable our legacy to live on, than to spend time and resources on the people and causes closest to our hearts.
Again this year, my favorite Christmas gift was a book. My son gave me The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick. Author Gene Stone interviewed dozens of people who never get sick and asked them for their secrets. His book features 25 people who each possess a different secret of excellent health – one that makes sense and has a proven scientific underpinning. It got me thinking about ideas for a healthy new decade.
Some of the so-called secrets aren’t that astounding, though they’re presented with an interesting twist. Late comedian George Burns, who lived to be 100 years old, was remarkably healthy and fit his entire life. When asked to reveal his secret, he puffed on his cigar and said, “Eat half.” That’s a pretty easy one, considering the out-of-control portions served at many restaurants. Split that giant cheeseburger with someone.
Other ideas are more surprising and challenging. One example? Cold showers.
For thousands of years, ancient physicians recommended frigid showers for healing and to boost immunity. For me, that’s rough. A cold shower is not what I want on shivery mornings, despite Phoenix’s comparatively moderate winters. So I’m easing into the idea. My strategy is to pull back on the hot water just enough so that my shower is on the edge of warm and cold. Then I hurry out.
Another idea that takes some adjustment is consuming brewer’s yeast daily. A natural by-product of beer production, brewer’s yeast is a probiotic and excellent source of B vitamins and other nutrients. It looks like whole-wheat flour and tastes like liquefied pizza dough. I add a half-teaspoon to flavored, fizzy water, and then I choke it down. But, I’ve gotten used to it.
Maintaining financial health also involves a mix of simple ideas and uncommon though proven ones. Some are easier to put into action than others. At Perspective, we’re committed to helping you develop practical strategies to become and stay financially fit. Here’s to a physically and financially healthy new decade!
“I look to the future because that’s where I’m going to spend the rest of my life.” — George Burns