I’ve been revisiting old headlines this past week.
We have a stack of newspapers (ya, we’re old school) in the office of key events over the last several decades. Here is what I found:
- Wild Day Caps Worst Week Ever for Stocks: Dow Swings 1019 points in Index’s Most-Volatile Session; Despite ‘Fire-Sale Prices,’ Buyers Mostly Stand Back
- Here is an article inside: “Statement Shock: 401(k)s: Sharp Declines Raise Questions and Jeopardize Retirements”
- Dow soars to all-time high: 215-point gain tops off a dramatic turnaround
- Dow Industrials Top 10000
- Here’s an article directly below that heading: “If This is a Bubble, It Sure Is Hard to Pop”
- Another one: “The Rocket Under the Tech Boom: Big Spending by Basic Industries”
- Bailout Plan Rejected, Markets Plunge, Forcing New Scramble to Solve Crisis
- Inside it, you’ll find this: “Tech’s Tumble is Bad News for All Stocks”
Do any of those newspaper headlines sound familiar? I think so. Plug in different numbers and events and they could probably be plagiarized within the last year.
I’m struck by how in the moment, the headlines seem so all-encompassing. Emotions cry out for action.
FOMO kicks in during high markets: “I can’t miss out on this rally, let’s get in while we can!”
Fear strikes on negative headlines: “Get out now. Sell everything.”
That creepy friend self-pity that simultaneously strokes our ego and shames us takes over both emotions:
“Of course, I missed out. I always do”
“Knew I should have sold yesterday, but it’s too late now.”
“Knew I should have got in when my gut told me so, but it’s too late now.”
In volatile markets, like the ones we’ve been having this year, there will be wild headlines and you will experience wild emotions. This is the way it is. It’s not new. And you’re not above being human.
What headlines are influencing your investment decisions right now? Should they be?
You need to decide in advance of how you will react to the news. When all seems rosy, do you invest as if it will never end? When all seems raucous, do you invest as if the world ends tomorrow?
I have a hard truth for you. Your investment actions will impact the headlines of your life because finance is a part of life.
What do you want the headlines of your story to look like when it comes to investing? When you look back over the newsfeed of your life a decade or two or three from now, what do you want it to be?
Need help answering these questions or cutting through the noise of the outrage of our age? Set up a time to talk with us or send a friend.
 Wall Street Journal, Weekend Edition, October 11-12, 2008.
 USA Today, Tuesday, November 24, 1998.
 The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, March 30, 1999.
 The Wall Street Journal, Tuesday, September 30, 2008.