“Stock Market Hits New High”
Have you noticed headlines like this lately?
Since March of 2009, when the S&P 500 Index hit a low of 666, the market has more than tripled. And it keeps going higher. In fact, headlines like this have become so frequent that they are no longer remarkable. The market actually hit another high earlier this week, and it barely earned a footnote in the news.
At the same time, as the market goes higher, I hear more and more people expressing concerns like this:
“It’s too high. It’s got to go down.”
“It’s come too far too fast.”
“Trees don’t grow to the sky.”
“This looks just like 1999. The bottom is going to fall out.”
If you have worries like this, or are wondering what to do about it, you’re not alone. What makes this difficult is that, while lots of people make market forecasts, none of them has a reliable track record. As a result, you really can’t know where the market is going, and that’s not a comforting feeling.
To combat this discomfort, here’s my recommendation to you: Recognize that there are a lot things that are, in fact, within your control. The stock market just isn’t one of them. So don’t spend any time worrying about it. Instead, what you want to do is to control everything that is within your control, and use that to protect yourself from everything that is outside your control.
These things, for example, are all within your control:
- Your living expenses, especially housing costs
- The amount you save
- Whether you carry umbrella and disability insurance
- What you invest in, and the schedule on which you invest
- If you have children, how you finance their education
- When you retire, and whether you work part-time in retirement
- Whether you have protected your assets from elder care expenses
- When you start collecting Social Security
Many things, it turns out, are very much under your control. They’re not all easy to change, but they’re not impossible either. They just require some planning.
Yes, it’s okay to have an opinion on where the market is going next, but don’t let that overly influence your choices. Control what you can control, and I think you’ll sleep a lot better at night.