It’s hardly a secret that 2022 has not been a very good year for the typical investor. In fact, stocks just had their worst first half-year run in over 50 years, and there’s a chance the market will remain sluggish well into 2023.
As someone who’s been through a stock market downturn before, I try not to let that get me down. But I also don’t believe in torturing myself needlessly. That’s why I haven’t been checking up on my investments lately. And it’s a practice I intent to uphold until market conditions improve substantially.
It’s all about being kind to myself
To be clear, I don’t regret going somewhat heavy on tech, and I still think the companies I chose to buy are solid investments. Plus, my portfolio is decently diversified — had it not been, I’d probably have seen even greater losses the last time I checked.
But while I’m not necessarily flipping out over the state of my portfolio, I also don’t feel the need to look at my shrunken balance on screen day after day. The more I’m forced to go that route, the more likely I might be to start panicking and make unwise decisions — like selling some of the tech stocks that are underperforming to a greater degree than the bulk of the companies I’m invested it. And that’s not a position I want to put myself in.
Also, the reality is that the investments I hold aren’t intended as a near-term cash source. Rather, they’re supposed to serve as my retirement nest egg. And since I’m not planning to exit the labor force any time soon, I really shouldn’t expend energy worrying about whether they’ll come back up.
One thing I’ve tried to tell myself repeatedly over the past six months is that the stock market really does have a solid history of rebounding. And also, some of the market’s strongest months of performance have directly followed a period of steady decline.
Now I promise, I’m really not one of those overly optimistic people who walks around saying things like, “Well, we may be in the midst of a monsoon, but at least my umbrella is keeping my pinky dry.” But I do like to remind myself that stock market downturns are normal and that investors who sit tight and ride them out often do just fine.
Don’t make yourself feel worse
If your investment portfolio has seen better days, rest assured that you’re in good company. But also, don’t slap yourself in the face with that reality day in, day out by checking your balance constantly. That’s not going to do anything good for your mental health. If anything, it might drive you to a place of panic and compel you to make decisions that result in permanent losses. And that’s a situation you should make every effort to avoid.
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