Friday, January 7, 2011

Musings on 2011

A week into the New Year, I am reminded of the cottage industry that unfailingly produces a stream of “predictions & forecasts” this time every year. This isn’t a new phenomenon, of course, as we have looked to would-be wizards and wise men down through the ages to preview our fortunes. Taken with a grain of salt, I say “no harm/no foul” to the sport of New Year’s predictions, with one noteworthy exception: financial predictions.

Financial predictions take myriad forms--from which investments will perform best in the year ahead to where the stock market will end the year & everything in between. Financial prognosticators of all stripes make the predictions because they provide easy content for their TV shows, print publications, etc. and they are undeniably entertaining. The danger is that gullible investors bet real money--money they can’t afford to lose--on these highly uncertain outcomes.

To be clear, I revel in the promise and possibilities of the New Year as much as the next person. But rational investors, including me, will concentrate our focus on what we can control—not on what we can’t control. Future predictions and their outcomes are beyond our control and distract us from focusing on things we can actually do something about.

An old quote, “You can’t direct the wind, but you can adjust your sails,” reportedly a German proverb, provides us investors with all the guidance we need. Future predictions are nothing more than wind that will blow in every conceivable direction no matter what we do or don’t do. Our individual portfolios are our sails. This is where we should focus and make adjustments, as necessary. Asset allocation, diversification, risk assessment & mitigation, research, profit-taking & rebalancing, etc. are some of our tools. Not as dazzling perhaps as gazing into the night sky and pondering the stars, but more beneficial to our fortunes in the long run.

Timothy R. Meyer
President & Chief Investment Officer

Labels: , , , , , , ,


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home