Ferris Bueller and Retirement

May 23, 2018

Life comes at you pretty fast. If you don’t stop to slow down, you could miss it. – Ferris Bueller

In the age of information, this old movie quote may ring truer now than ever before. The sheer quantity of information we have at our fingertips is more than at any point in history. Social media feeds, text communications, and 24-hour news channels compete for our attention in a continuous bombardment. Information overload is an understatement – an information mushroom cloud feels more appropriate. A nuclear bomb of words and thoughts and ideas lands in our brains, and we take them in while we look for more. Stocks, investing, retirement, planning, savings, pension and 401k are constantly in these headlines.

And this can be very bad for investors.

The Volatile Market

Working with retirees, the recent market volatility is a common topic in our meetings.

Everyone, it seems, has a concern:

  • Why?
  • How much?
  • When is the market is going to move?

And, rightfully so. Volatility in the markets can be unpleasant for many investors. Volatility in retirement income is downright painful.

At a recent presentation, I asked the group how long we would have to go back to see market levels equal to that day’s close of the Dow Jones Industrial Average of around 24,650.  Responses ranged from “2 years” to “a long time”. They were surprised when I showed them the date. December 15, 2017.

Not even 2 full months, less than one calendar quarter, of time had passed since the last time the Dow had closed at that level. I wasn’t suggesting the recent downturn not important. I was suggesting that we keep it in perspective.

So, Slow Down

All the information they had received, from text alerts and articles to breaking news about plunging values, had not even resulted in one down quarter.

I’m all for being informed, tracking accounts, and knowing how your money is invested.

But with so much information coming at us today, I’m encouraging you to filter those close-ups with some wide-angle views. Be informed but maintain perspective on your retirement planning.

There is good news out there, you know. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it