Your forecast for the current economic environment? Sunny with a chance of uncertainty.
It’s almost election time. Macroeconomic analysts are prophesying scary outcomes, political parties are snapping at each other in the headlines and the rand is doing a nervous jig that’s unlikely to abate until well into May. What do you need to get you through these unpleasant temporary side effects for your finances? Our answer may surprise you.
What you need is not a boat-load of cash or the hottest new fund or manager. It’s not even a guarantee that your hard-earned savings will not lose a jot of value ever – no one can provide you with that security. What you need is unflappability and a sunnier disposition. This is because it’s those that react most negatively to current instability that make the worst financial choices.
Are you the type of investor who sees one article on the way to work about how bonds are doing badly and immediately think about changing your portfolio to be less weighted in bonds? If so, you’ve chosen a hard road for yourself. The nature of all asset classes, funds, economies and markets is cyclical. And while the downs are inevitable, so are the ups. Unless something is really wrong (you’re investing in a company domiciled in a country that’s just declared civil war, for example) we usually counsel clients to wait and stay positive. And the ‘positive’ part is incredibly important.
Reason 1 to be sunnier: it allows you to get realistic
We often confuse pessimism with realism, giving ourselves tough talk in the hopes that it will sober us up to take serious matters like finances seriously. In fact it often does the opposite – the more you fear something, the more you put it off and refuse to think about it. Those that see their money and building wealth with positivity and a can-so attitude are far more likely to actually sit down with the figures and their advisor and get proactive.
Reason 2 to be sunnier: it allows you to get perspective
One of the chief stressors for all our clients is what they’re exposed to in the news. Alarming headlines can wreck your confidence, but someone with a sunnier outlook is likely to remember to keep things in perspective. Remember that the chief aim of newspapers and radio shows is to sell stories to audiences to keep their own lights on, not to give professional advice. Bad news comes, and it will go. Good news comes too.
Reason 3 to be sunnier: it gives you peace of mind so you can enjoy the journey, not just the destination
Who wants to reach their financial goal a nervous wreck, unable to enjoy the fruits of their labour? We’ve seen tragic examples of those who, for example, drive themselves with fear to save enough for retirement. When retirement comes, and lo and behold they’ve saved more than enough, they still can’t switch off the fear mindset and end up living like worried paupers when they should be living like kings. Life’s too short for that.
And here are a couple of fun and practical ways to up your sunniness quotient:
As any good financial advisor will tell you, the key to wealth and also to not going crazy is a well-diversified portfolio. Not all asset classes will do well or badly at the same time and, likewise, some will do better in certain environments than others. Ensuring you’re adequately diversified will safeguard you against lean times in one specific market or circumstance. It will also help you remain positive when reading your latest statement because, no matter what’s going on, at least one thing’s always likely to be doing well.
2. Become a charity chase
The sages and gurus say that the best way to attract wealth is to give it away. Whether you believe in such wisdom or not, it’s hard not feel sunnier when giving to a cause in which you believe in a spirit of generosity. What’s more, it helps you gain perspective because it’s a good reminder that there’s always someone out there worse off than you.
3. Less news
This ties directly into the getting perspective notion – set yourself a quota of how much news you think is healthy and turn the car radio off, shut the newspaper, close the browser as soon as you get there. Schedule times to look at only reputable publications and only what’s directly pertinent to you. Maybe afterwards watch an adorable cat video on YouTube as well just to remind yourself that life isn’t all bad.
4. Keep listening to advice
We advise so that you can thrive – it’s not just for your money, but for your mindset. The WellsFaber goal of all our interactions with you and the advice we give is to give you the confidence to achieve your goals and the peace of mind that accompanies having a plan in place to manage change and life’s uncertainties.