How to deal with uncertainty in Investments and in Life

By Alain Guillot

Special to Financial Independence Hub

“I will invest in the stock market when things calm down,” said my friend Mercedes after the market crashed following the COVID pandemic.

Another friend said something similar after the terrorist attack of 9/11.

The thing is that in the markets and in life, everything is always uncertain.

Even when everything seems calm, there might be a surprise the next hour. And when everything is chaotic, long periods of peace and calm may follow. Between WWI and WWII, there were 20 years and 9 months of peace and prosperity.

After WWII there have been almost 80 years of economic, scientific, and technological improvement.
* Countries like China, India, and Brazil took millions of people out of poverty.
* The information technology changed how business, governments, and people communicate.
* There have been medical breakthroughs for various diseases which have improved global health.

Dealing with uncertainty in the stock market isn’t too difficult. At my age (56), I have seen a few economic cycles. I know that markets go up and markets go down. The best action I can take is to sit on my hands and do nothing.

In our regular life, it’s more challenging. Life also works in cycles, but these cycles can be more difficult to discern, and we don’t always know what to do.

Market cycles

How to deal with uncertainty in Life

These are some tips from our community on how to deal with uncertainty:

Kelly Bron Johnson, IDEA Advisor Supporting Businesses to Create Completely Inclusive Workplace Cultures: I won’t lie – it makes me feel very destabilized. It affects all my planning. For example, right now the teachers are on strike and my kids are home from school. We don’t know how long it will go for. It’s hard to make plans and to work without knowing how long the strike will last. I just try to take one day at a time and one task at a time and keep going.

Lin Sok, Financial Advisor and mortgage broker: It’s a weird time now for a lot of people. Strikes, economic uncertainty, how am I going to afford my mortgage when we renew, job stability in certain sectors ..

I’m “lucky” that most of my adult life has involved dealing with uncertain times so I’m unfortunately used to it. I don’t get too disturbed or react too much. My approach is more like “Ok, how am I/are we going to approach this?

Billy (Lin’s husband) is on strike and contrary to what people think, teachers don’t get paid anything from a “strike fund” until they’ve been on strike for two weeks and even with that, it’s not a lot of $$. Luckily we’re ok with that, but a lot of those who are on strike aren’t (I already know some who’ve taken temporary jobs in restaurants).

But I think this is A LOT for many people to deal with all at once.

Nara Lopez-Contreras, Copywriter | Digital Media Strategist: Accepting that uncertainty is the norm, not the exception.

Catherine Boundjia, M. Ing, Payment Expert, Banking, Fintech, Retail, Mobility: I manage uncertainty by making assumptions (e.g. worst case scenario, plan A/B/C). If I don’t have control over what will happen, at least it allows me to be ready for any eventuality.

Cheryl Williams, ESL teacher, Dance teacher: Remind yourself that nothing is ever certain. No one predicted covid, or the Great Depression etc. Notice it’s the worry about uncertainty that is most disconcerting – once sh@ hits the fan, people instinctively act – and that’s always easier than worrying.

Petra Canart, relaxation expert: I use the bowls. The vibrations bring you back in “basic trust” and when you regain the confidence in life and yourself you feel no more uncertainty ❤ It’s how it works and helps you to find inner peace.

Rudy Ramoutar, professional DJ: Keep away from anyone who feel uncertain about you.

Alain Guillot, Photographer, Website designer: I deal with uncertainty by sharing it with my friends, family, and different groups in which I participate. After sharing my uncertainties I feel more in control of my emotions.

Remember, it’s okay to feel uncertain, and you don’t have to have all the answers. Learning to navigate uncertainty is a lifelong process, and developing resilience and coping skills can contribute to a more fulfilling and balanced life.

Alain Guillot is a part time event photographer, part time Salsa teacher, and part time personal finance blogger. He came to Quebec as an immigrant from Colombia. Due to his mediocre French he was never able to find a suitable job, so he opened a Salsa/Tango dance school and started his entrepreneurship journey. Entrepreneurship got him started into personal finance and eventually into blogging. Now he lives a Lean FIRE lifestyle and shares his thoughts in his blog This blog appeared first on his blog on Nov. 24, 2023 and is republished here

One thought on “How to deal with uncertainty in Investments and in Life

  1. I only invest in Index ETFs. Every time I buy I ask myself, “Do I think that the price of this index will be higher 10 years from now?” If the answer is Yes, then I buy. Whenever the market is choppy, I ask myself the same question.
    Now, as I am approaching my 60s, I started to sell. No because I am timing the market, but because I have saved enough, and now it’s the time to enjoy the fruits of my labor.

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