After improved sentiment last quarter, investors now appear to have heightened concerns. Not only have fears around China resurfaced, stoked in part by downbeat economic data and circuit breaker sell-offs, but weak global commodity prices also continue to elicit concern. Oil now sits below $30 per barrel, while the VIX index, a measure of volatility in the S&P 500, remains at an elevated level (approximately 29).
A lot has been going on in the global economy…enough that some shops have issued dire warnings of the days ahead. But while recent events do appear negative—insofar as they represent bad cards that have come up—they are not wholly surprising; the risks around China and weak commodity prices have been known for some time. Moreover, they warrant neither a kneejerk reaction nor panic.
Investor apprehension in this environment is both understandable and natural —and we must ensure it does not hijack us.
“Howdy, Beautiful!” my friend of four decades shouted from snow country, thousands of miles away. “Been watchin’ your website for years and I read all your stories. Love ‘em. But I thought you were retired!”
How many times over the twenty-plus years since we left the conventional work force have we heard that challenge? Our responses have ranged from surprised silence to justification of our volunteer work, to just laughing out loud.
We run a popular website, photograph our travels and share our lifestyle adventures with people like you. Some think that by doing this, we have somehow become unfit to call ourselves “retired.”
Once findependent, you’re free to choose how to spend your time
Today I would like to pose this question to you: “Once you leave the mainstream labor-for-paycheck world and become financially independent, aren’t you free to choose what you do with your time? When is something considered work, and when are you pursuing a passion?” Continue Reading…
In the 20-plus years I have been investing, I have yet to meet or work with anyone who enjoys losing money.
I’ve met people who have lost money (yours truly included) and I can’t say it gives anyone or myself great satisfaction. We spend all of our time trying to make investment decisions that will be successful.
Unfortunately and it’s nobody’s fault, we don’t spend enough time understanding what losses mean and how they can impact our future decision making beyond the tangible reduction in our RRSP or TFSA broker account.
In my previous post, I discussed a concept involving the Endownment Effect that Richard Thaler observed in his book, Misbehaving: The making of behaviorial economics. According to Mr. Thaler, the Endowment Effect feeds into a general discussion on how we behave when it comes to losing and making money. Conventional thinking suggest that because we don’t like losing money that we will tend to take less risk to minimize loss and conversely take more risk when we are making money.
There may be a few ideas for anyone who, like myself, is in the “Retirement Risk Zone.” That’s the five years prior to and five years following your projected retirement date. If it’s 65, the traditional age, then the Risk Zone is between age 60 and 70. Based on the Hub’s demographic user patterns, a lot of people are in that category (although we actually have lots of millennial and Gen X traffic too on both sides of the border).
Towards the end of the blog, I talk about portfolio hedging. I have to credit my fee-for-service financial advisor for most of these concepts. He didn’t want to be named for the MoneySense blog but he is listed in the Hub’s “Guidance” section elsewhere in this site.
It took me awhile to accept that hedging — that is, using options or selling short certain ETFs representing the major indices — is as much a risk reduction strategy as it is a “risky” strategy.
Hedging means trading off some upside for downside protection
The best way I can describe it is that you’re willing to give up some upside in return for protecting the downside. Continue Reading…
The preamble to the 3.5-minute video observes that If you have invested for any length of time, you will have heard the expression “Past results are not an indication of future performance.” The best minds in the investment industry not only agree with that but some feel that in the coming years we should prepare ourselves for lower returns than we are used to.
The corollary to this is that If the markets are indeed prepared to not be as generous, then keeping fees as low as possible has never been more important. We need to keep as much of the overall return as possible. Continue Reading…