Three Keys to Surviving the Next Correction
As most of us discovered in South Carolina’s historic flood, it is best to prepare for extreme conditions when everything is calm. The same principle applies to how we think about our investments. It is good to become emotionally prepared for market price variability when all is well.
The S&P 500 Index has declined 10% or more 28 times since 1950; 20% or more nine times; and 30% or more five times during this period. The flip-side is that the S&P 500 was valued at about 17 on January 1, 1950, and is at about 2100 now. The intervening years have brought about all types of scares and random events but the upward trend has continued despite all of those headwinds. There are three keys to keeping your cool when markets turn south:
1. First, consider your entire adult life as your investing time horizon.
That is, if you are age 55 for example, your investment life might be another 40 years. Not everyone will live until age 95 or later, but a good percentage will. If you have a 40-year time horizon, you will likely live through many market pullbacks (see above). Nothing to see here.
2. Next, beware of your behavioral blind spots.
We all have them, even if we think we don’t. We sometimes refer to “the three B’s”—blind spots, biases and behavior. Emotions play a major role in all of our financial choices. In times of stress, herding, or following the crowd can be a costly bias. Feelings of fear, panic and remorse can lead you to make poor choices. Relax and remember you are running a marathon, not a sprint. The long- term trends work in your favor...if you don’t get in their way. With a hat-tip to football season, remember that you don’t have to react to the play-by-play commentary. In fact, you don't even have to listen.
3. Finally, focus on your “why", that is, your reason for investing.
Money means different things to everyone. Remember what you are trying to accomplish financially and why you have accepted the inevitable, if unpredictable, risk associated with investing.
Your financial life is not separate from other aspects of your life. Money plays a role in almost everything you do. Even small financial choices are real...treat them that way.
You stand a much better chance of surviving the next correction if your investments reflect your goals...your values. Is your strategy all set?
NBA Player Carl Landry Demonstrates the Value of Persistence in Life and Work
Written by: Jon Sabes
When you meet Carl Landry, stand-out college basketball player and nine-year NBA player, you imagine that becoming a professional basketball star was a straight forward run for the 6-foot-nine-inch power forward.
However, when you go deeper into Carl’s background, becoming a NBA professional was less than certain and little came easily to the 33-year-old from Milwaukee:
- He was cut from his high school team as a freshman and averaged less than ten points a game when he did play as a senior.
- He started his college career not at Purdue, but a junior college where it was not clear he would play.
- When he finally got to Purdue, he tore his ACL in his knee his first year and reinjured it the next year.
- While his family held a party for him the night of the NBA draft, he slept in the Philadelphia airport after missing a flight following a workout for the 76ers.
- In the NBA playoffs, Carl had a tooth knocked out, but came back in the same game to make a game-winning blocked shot as the Rockets beat the Utah Jazz 94-92.
Landry, who I interviewed on my podcast, Innovating Life with Jon Sabes (www.jonsabes.com), is a remarkable example of the value of “persistence.” In a time where technology creates the image that anything is possible at the touch of a button, persistence is an under-appreciated trait. When I spoke with Carl, I clearly saw someone for whom success has only come through a force of will that made him a NBA player, but it also made him a better player every year he played. That’s the kind of personality that has produced greatness in business as well as sports.
Carl was, in fact, drafted that night he spent in the airport. The Seattle Supersonics chose him as the 31st overall pick and then traded him to the Houston Rockets where he rode the bench for much of the first half of the season. When All-Star teammate Yao Ming was injured, he stepped in and played a key role in the Rockets astonishing 22-game winning streak (the third longest streak in NBA history). And, that season, after sitting on the bench for 33 of the first 36 games, he was named to the All-Rookie second team.
Carl was the first in his family to go to college. “I told myself that this was my ticket out, so I did everything I possibly could to be the best person in school and also on the court,” he said.
His family life in Milwaukee showed him what he didn’t want to do. “Just being honest with you, seeing some my cousins, peers, they went to work for jobs paying six, seven dollars an hour or they didn’t go to work at all and then living off welfare. I didn’t want that.”
When he was first injured, he had to contemplate the end of a career before it even got started. “When you have an ACL tear, it’s over…no more basketball,” he told me. “I said, God, give me health again and I’ll do everything I can to leave it all out on the line and be a successful individual.”
On my podcast, Carl pointed out another interesting lesson he learned in the NBA: Not doing things just to fit in.
“Fitting in was easy,” he said. “Doing everything that everybody else does was easy. If I stood out in some type of way, I’m going to have different results. I’m going to have stand-out results.”
That’s called the “Law of Contrast” and it produces that exact effect of changing the outcomes that everyone else is experiencing. Carl is smart, he recognized that differences make a difference, and doing whatever it takes is what is required to make real, meaningful differences.
Every off-season for the last 11 years, he has run a camp for kids in Milwaukee where he tells youth his story of hard work and persistence. “I always tell the kids to apply themselves and always be persistent,” he said. “If you dream, apply yourself and be persistent. With hard work, man, the sky’s the limit.”
When Carl says the sky’s the limit he means it. He is smart to recognize that it’s important to dream big, because if we don’t – we may be selling ourselves short. “You have to dream bigger than your mind could ever imagine,” he said. “I wanted a nice house. I wanted a nice car. I said, and I got all of that. So, what do I do, do I stop now? Maybe I didn’t dream big enough.” That’s a big statement coming from a kid who grew up to be the first in his family to graduate college and go on to be not only a top NBA basketball start, but a good businessman, father and someone who gives back to the community.
I’m convinced that in whatever he takes on as a basketball player or in his post-hoops career, Carl Landry is not going to stop getting better at whatever he does, and in the process of doing so, make the world a better place.
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