Some events occur with absolute certainty and although experienced many times, upon arrival, are somehow unexpected. It’s like when winter temperatures drop to sub-zero levels. Our phones and The Weather Channel tell us it’s coming. Having lived my entire life in the Upper Midwest, I have experienced bitter cold many times and yet each year when the cold arrives it feels somehow new. Upon walking out of doors, the cold hurts the exposed flesh and upon inhaling the frigid air, my lungs seem to crystalize and while not enjoyable, somehow it feels energizing. I’m alive. An accomplishment, knowledge that although old, I can still face nature’s harshness and triumph.
Recently, I had a similar emotional experience upon making a substantial purchase. Since the 90’s, our family has spent a good portion of our time in West Michigan. As many of you are probably aware, I am an avid fly fisherman and for the past 25 years or so owned a home on a trout stream. After much thought, discussion and consternation, Lisa and I decided to relocate our family vacation home to a lake. Over the past several years, we scoured West Michigan to find the right property on the right lake. Ultimately, we found it in Northern Wisconsin. The house is old, having been built in 1936 during the height of the Great Depression and needs a good deal of work. As we are known to like projects, it’s perfect for us. Being 85 years old, the property has character and history. Again, right in our wheel-house. We closed in April and work began immediately to make it ours.
After the purchase, I knew it would arrive as it has always in the past and yet, upon arrival it was uncontrollable as if occurring for the very first time. The human emotional system’s response to a substantial change, called “buyer’s remorse.” I told myself to prepare. The inevitable feeling of utter disappointment would happen and yet when the emotions arrived, I was unprepared just as always in the past. How does this happen? How can I know of the emotion and be so taken when it is felt? Logically it makes no sense. But feelings and emotions know no logic. I should know this by now.
The same emotions hit all of us when our portfolios, following the market’s lead, diminish substantially. We know it’s coming. We try to prepare ourselves and steel our emotions. And yet, each time it feels just the same. How did I let this happen? Why didn’t we put all our investments into CD’s and government bonds? Why do we continue to invest in volatile assets? What is wrong with me? For many of you, having been your financial advisor for years even decades, we have experienced this together in the past. We know it’s coming again, the signs are all around us. Yet the when is unknown and unknowable. Maybe it’s just weeks away. Maybe it’s years away. But it’s coming. With it will come that empty feeling. That remorse. It’s inevitable. The feelings and emotions can not be stopped. They cannot be rationalized away. However, when it happens, we will get through it together. And together, we will work to accomplish your financial goals. Emotions be damned!
As always, we thank you for your business and for your continued trust.
Jack P. Cannata