The start of the year has been rough in the market. As I mentioned with the recent article, this is not a huge surprise since the Fed is talking about increasing interest rates and maybe more to slow down inflation. However, I am now starting to get more inquiries about bubbles, ugly reports, moving to gold, etc. I am not going to rehash anything I shared in the recent article about inflation, interest rates, markets and more. Instead, I am going back to my index card.
This is something I use to help me stay focused with my investments. Because, you never know when an internet bubble is going to burst or a Great Recession will reappear. Now, this is a concept I picked up some time ago. Like most things I do, it cuts through the confusion and is rather simple. It is simply an index card with what I consider the most important themes when it comes to investing, at least for me.
I would share a photo of my card, however, my handwriting is pretty rough. Although, I have posted it on LinkedIn before. Below is what is on the card:
- Control what is within my control -Spending, Investment Expenses, and Savings Rate
- My Patience will be rewarded over Time.
- The most powerful force in the universe is compound interest.
- “Nothing in the world’s more expensive than free.” – The Deacon from The Wire.
- My goals are my goals. I’m not chasing the Jones’.
- Money is a tool to help make the lives better for those I love and help the less fortunate. I’ve never seen a U-Haul behind a hearse.
- KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid!
- Most debt is bad debt.
- Don’t let the financial services industry separate me from my money.
- When I’m nervous about my investments, revisit this card and take a dog on a walk.
My card includes some highlights in there focused on the financial services industry. After living in this industry as long as I have, I learned there is much I need to do to keep the hordes at bay, not only for me but also for my clients. You don’t want to be as cynical as me though😉
If you don’t have a list like this, I would encourage you to grab an index card or two and start jotting down some notes. There is no right. There is no wrong. It needs to be yours though. It can include things like maxing out your 401k or paying off credit card debt every month. Again, what is important to you, not me. Then when you have times like what the market is going through right now, it is worth reading the card to see if the market’s recent moves will cause you to deviate from the list. If not, put it away for another day, because it won’t be the last time you need it.
I’m Dan Johnson, CFP®, founder of Forward Thinking Wealth Management. I run a flat-fee financial planning and investment management firm located in beautiful Akron, OH. Although I am in Akron, OH, I work with clients regardless of location. I cater to owners of equity compensation positions who are looking to organize their financial lives, keep more of what they make, and do the things they want in retirement and even now.