Search
Close this search box.

The Tortoise and the Hare: How Fast Investments Can Slow Down Your Goals

By
Mike Loo, MBA
March 1, 2018
Share on:

Over the course of working with so many individuals and families, I’ve found that many people think financial planning, investing, and retirement planning are a sprint to the finish line. While on paper, maxing out your 401(k) each year and building an all-stock portfolio for maximum growth potential seems like a good plan, fast and big investing can actually slow down your progress to your goals. Let’s look at why.

The Dangers of Little Liquidity I always enjoy working with enthusiastic young couples who want to do everything in their power to reach their desired retirement. However, in the process of focusing on their long-term retirement goals, they neglect their short-term needs.

For many of my clients in their 20s and 30s, I may recommend contributing enough to their 401(k) to get the employer match, if one is offered, and contribute some of their paycheck to build an emergency fund and savings. This can help them avoid focusing so much on their long-term retirement goals that they neglect their short-term goals, from buying a house to paying off student loan debt. I generally recommend that my clients build a reserve fund that can cover three to six months’ worth of living expenses.

Dipping Your Toes In Versus Diving Head First

I said it earlier but I’ll say it again; investing and financial planning is a marathon, not a sprint. I’d much rather be the tortoise—slow yet steady and consistent—than the hare—fast yet unpredictable—when it comes to my investing strategy.

One of the more underrated strategies for financial security is making consistent and periodic contributions to your portfolio over a long period of time. As I mentioned earlier, younger individuals and families may not have the income yet to max out their 401(k), but they can make consistent contributions and increase them over time as their income increases. Like the tortoise, saving for retirement and other long-term goals is all about perseverance and consistency, even if it is at a slower pace.

It’s easy to let emotions get in the way, and many investors fall prey to the newest investment strategy that claims a higher return on investment. But the fact of the matter is, there is no controlling or predicting the market. I tell my clients that instead of focusing on what they can’t control, it’s helpful to focus on what they can control: the capital they invest.

Whether the markets are high or low, consistent contributions can have a powerful long-term effect. Additionally, maintaining a well-diversified portfolio and rebalancing if needed each year can help ensure your portfolio matches the appropriate level of risk you’re willing to take. Adhering to this motto and disciplined strategy can help you avoid the common trap investors fall into: buying high and selling low, and chasing high returns.

The Risks of Aggressive Investing

Too often, financial advisors tell young individuals in their 20s and 30s to keep close to 100% of their portfolio in stocks. The theory is that young investors have decades to ride out volatility and make up for any lost returns. While this may work for some individuals, I’ve had a number of younger clients who don’t feel comfortable taking such risks, even if they have decades to try to make up for losses.

Investing entirely in stocks isn’t necessarily the way to go, even if it makes sense on paper. It’s nearly impossible to entirely remove emotions from investing. Too often, I’ve seen investors give up when their portfolio takes a big hit. They lose motivation to keep investing, and they struggle to keep their eyes on the finish line of their long-term goals.

Incorporating investments, like bonds, that offer lower returns and lower risk, may help you feel more confident in your portfolio and avoid the rollercoaster of emotions if your portfolio takes a hit during a downturn.

Next Steps

Like the tortoise and the hare, fast investments don’t mean you’ll reach the finish line first. While it can be difficult, it’s important to tune out the noise of the media and focus instead on what strategies make sense for your unique situation, risk tolerance, and short and long-term goals. While not as exciting, I believe slow and steady can win the race, and without as many speed bumps along the way.

As an independent financial advisor, my mission is to make a meaningful impact on the lives of my clients and the people they love. I help families make informed decisions with their money and pursue a strong financial future. If you’re interested in learning more about balancing your short and long-term goals, I encourage you to reach out to me. Call my office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email me at michael.loo@lpl.com.

You may also like:

By
Mike Loo, MBA
April 16, 2018

Have you ever noticed when you turn on the news, the media is either panicked because the markets are down or celebratory because the markets are up? This may make for fun entertainment, but it can also impact people’s emotions, which are dangerous when they affect investment choices and financial decisions.

While you shouldn’t hide your head in the sand when it comes to the news, there’s a fine balance between staying up-to-date and obsessively following every market change.

The Problem with the News

Many people think watching the news will help them decide what financial or investment decisions to make. The problem with this is that the news is late, especially in terms of investing.

Capital markets efficiently price in all widely known information. As soon as news is available to the public, it becomes reflected in share prices. Therefore, looking at the same things as everyone else doesn’t give you a leg-up on other investors.

Additionally, we know that most news stations have a bias or slant. Many major networks tend to lean either right or left, and this can actually impact the type of actions they suggest in terms of financial decisions. Furthermore, when their guest is the head of a bank or works for a credit card company, you’ll want to be aware that their advice may be biased.

The Information to Turn to Instead

One of the best solutions is to ignore the pundits and spend more time sticking to your personal financial strategies and investment plan. It may sound crazy for me to suggest this, but I’ve found that it helps my clients feel less stressed and less likely to make emotionally driven decisions.

It takes training to tune out the media noise levels and focus on your long term plan. It is tough to do, but with a little coaching, you can feel less stress from media influence and more focused on your plan.

Let Your Advisor Do the Heavy Lifting

While working with a financial advisor is a collaborative approach, requiring work on both ends, it can be helpful to rely on your advisor for staying up-to-date on financial news and investment trends. Part of an advisor’s job is to stay current with financial news and changes in the markets. Your advisor will then suggest changes, if needed, based on your personal goals and needs.

Stick to Financial Wellness Tips

While listening to the news and recommendations of pundits can lead to emotional decision-making, reading general articles and blogs about financial health and wellness can be beneficial, and even motivating. There are hundreds, if not thousands, of blogs out there that share tips on sticking to a budget, savvy ways to save money at the grocery store, and how to find the best credit card rates. These sources of information can help you maintain a healthy outlook regarding money and keep you motivated to stick to your financial goals.

How I Can Help

As an independent advisor, my personal goal is to provide my clients with guidance that can help them understand and better define their financial goals. I stay up-to-date with the latest financial news, trends, and market shifts so my clients don’t have to. I hope to allow them the time to focus on their passions in life knowing I am here proactively monitoring their investments and financial strategies.

To learn more about how I can help you focus less on media noise and more on your passions in life, contact me for a no-strings-attached meeting. We can discuss your goals what strategies can help you pursue them. Call my office at (949) 221-8105 x 2128, or email me at michael.loo@lpl.com.

By Trilogy Financial
January 15, 2020

Get Started on Your Financial Life Plan Today