Investing 101: Maintaining Confidence When Times Get Tough

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. And great things are not accidental but must certainly be willed. – Vincent Van Gogh 

Van Gogh was referencing his impressionistic art style in that statement, but we’d argue that the same philosophy extends to one of our favorite subjects: investing.  

Like many great things in life, investing well requires many small actions compounded over time. Each dollar you contribute may not seem like it’s doing much, but each dollar matters.  

That sounds empowering—but sticking with an investing strategy can be challenging. Especially when you’re going through a stressful chapter of your life – or the markets seem to be in a tailspin.  

After all, things happen. Life happens. The economy suffers. Inflation rears its head. What happens then?  

Let’s get practical. Staying consistent with investing is all about keeping your mind right—and sticking to the investment strategy you and your financial advisor have mapped out, regardless of changing circumstances.  

Here are four quick tips from our team to help maintain investing confidence:  

  • Focus on the time frame of your goals and when you’ll need the funds. Need your funds in 20 years for retirement? A market downturn right now might be scary and stressful, but it shouldn’t impact your long-term goals.
  • Keep in mind that we’ve made it out of every bear market thus far! Fear is normal and your portfolio losing value can be tough to stomach. Challenge yourself to view this as an opportunity to buy into the market at a discount!
  • The goal is to buy low, sell high, not sell low, buy high. Investors should avoid selling their investments to cash and trying to time when to get back in. No one has a crystal ball to do this, and the chances of you timing it perfectly is slim to none. What’s more likely is that you lock in a loss, then stay in cash, miss the recovery, and buy back into the market at higher levels than you sold out for.
  • Don’t let your emotions dictate your financial future. Making a rash financial decision at a time like this can jeopardize a financial plan. It’s best to stick to rules and sound portfolio management techniques, like rebalancing and tax-loss harvesting.

The You Factor 

If you look at these four tips, you’ll find that there’s one consistent thing you need to prioritize for healthy, successful, long-term investing: the right mindset

It’s important to realize that investing successfully doesn’t mean you need to do something new. Rather, it requires you to stick to your plans and know the markets will sort themselves out. Your mindset must be calibrated for the long haul—not the quick win. 

Remember: Investments – and, in particular, compound interest – can be incredibly powerful. (Allegedly, Einstein once referred to compound interest as the eighth wonder of the world.) To see the true potential of your investments, you need to give them time to grow. That remains true even if the financial climate shifts a little over the years.  

This means that no matter what you need to stay the course. Ultimately, you, your mindset, and your behavior are the most critical elements of investing success. 

Establishing a resilient financial mindset 

Here are specific, practical actions that may help when you need to move forward and maintain confidence with your investments:  

  • Review your financial goals. Keeping your mid-term and longer-term investment goals in mind (whether those be incredible vacations, education for yourself or your family, or even retirement) can make staying the course much easier.  
  • Educate yourself. Learn about how the market works, how to invest in your financial wellness, and more tips to balance your stress. Do you know the difference between different types of markets or investing strategies? Go find out!  
  • Don’t be afraid to ask for help. No matter how financially literate you are, it’ll help to have experts on your side. This will help with any second-guessing about your investment strategy – and can help safeguard your investments through stressful situations.  

At Commas, we’re here to help you use investing strategically to accomplish your goals. Whether you need help coming up with an initial investing strategy or need assistance staying the course during a stressful time, our team of financial advisors is here to provide support.  

If you’re interested in partnering with an expert financial advisor to create a confidence-worthy investing plan, reach out to our team today!  

Commas is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Truepoint Inc., a fee-only Registered Investment Adviser (RIA). Registration as an adviser does not connote a specific level of skill or training. More detail, including forms ADV Part 2A and Form CRS filed with the SEC, can be found at www.usecommas.com. Neither the information, nor any opinion expressed, is to be construed as personalized investment, tax or legal advice.