The stock market has kept us on the edge of our seats for most of 2014. We’re talking eight record highs in a few months, with a few scary moments mixed in. If you’re already in, then it’s likely that you are reaping the rewards of this aging bull market. If not, you may be feeling like Charlie Brown in loser mode and quietly (or loudly) hoping that the market crashes so you too can afford to hop on the moolah chariot and whoop it up with everyone else when the markets surge again.
If you find yourself being overtaken by terror of a possible Stockmageddon, you may want to perch yourself on that 10,000 feet cloud above you and watch the movie called “Your Life on this Planet.” The ups. The downs. Everything from the stock market to your career and relationships have the highs and the lows. Our choice is to either run around and fret like Chicken Little, strategize incessantly on plans that ultimately fail like Wile E. Coyote or be calm, cool, collected like the Pink Panther and prepare accordingly for any trouble. Prepare for the worst and hope for the best. Now translate this to your financial situation.
If you are lacking a strategy altogether, it’s time to prepare a detailed plan of what actions you will take if things go south based on your personal needs. Does it make sense for you to rearrange your portfolio now because your risk tolerance has hit the skids? Does your personal situation allow you to plan for resulting actions that may be to do nothing and ride it out until the market recovers? Your gut feeling will always be an excellent planning assistant and reaction advisor as long as it’s not stomped out by the fear in your head.
Equally important, get yourself financially solid in the other areas of your life so that you can withstand the ups and downs of the stock market or the impacts of any economic storm. Stay away from the eggs in one basket oopsie. Cut the Richie Rich spending on non-essentials. Pay off your mortgage. Beef up your savings and emergency liquid fund. Engage in lifetime learning to ensure you will always have a solid career. Volunteer your time or donate to good causes regularly to help those in need and get that positive karma cycle going. All of these actions not only take you to a stronger place financially, but also help to decrease worry and contribute to a happy and satisfying life.
Will the bear market hibernation continue to allow the bull market counterpart of the natural cycle to continue? Only the Big Guy upstairs knows. In the meantime, let’s just let that cute little bear snooze away and enjoy sweet dreams of when it’s his turn to emerge as a global power player. Night, night.