Author Topic: What are your strategies to ignore the market?  (Read 2544 times)

appleshampooid

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What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« on: August 14, 2019, 08:57:51 AM »
Like many who post here, I have a hard time not binge-watching the stock market on a daily, if not hourly, basis. This is not good for my mental health.

There is keeping abreast of big news and generally staying educated, but I'm way past that. To the point where it affects my mood negatively on bad days, with a much smaller effect (if any) on good days, of course. Thankfully it doesn't affect my decision making, still sticking to the IPS and dumping in as much money as possible in the most effective ways possible. But it has been affecting my performance at work (distracted), which is a direct negative on income and time to FIRE.

Do you have any strategies for managing this behavior? I got nothing. Thanks.

Cezil

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2019, 09:09:15 AM »
I keep myself busy at home with errands/chores, hobbies, running/walking, making food, or relaxing.  I forget to check for weeks on end because I'm so busy living, trying to have a fun life.  As someone who suffers from anxiety/depression, it's useful to "too busy to worry about it", yes, even if I'm sitting there listening to the birds for an hour.  If I check the markets constantly and it starts having detrimental effects on me, that means it doesn't contribute to the joy in life, and so I cease the activity.  I've trained myself to not really ever think about it now.  I obsessed when I first started the journey, though, and it spiraled out of control.  Hence the self-training to stop it.

My SO, who recently just got onboard (7 years later than me), is now at the point of checking multiple times a day and it sure aggravates me to hear about it all. the. time.  It's just not fun, it doesn't help me live better, doesn't help me be a better human towards others and myself.  So, you will get there, you just have to choose happier things (like not obsessing over it).

I don't know if I clearly articulated that, but I hope it helps.

vand

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2019, 09:11:58 AM »
This is a classic sign that you asset allocation is wrong and you are too aggressively positioned.

If stocks represented 5% of your net worth you wouldn't give a fig about a 5 or 10% daily swing in the market. If stocks are 100% of your net worth then you will find yourself checking the market many times a day. You need to find a happy medium that you can get on with your life and sleep easily at night no matter what the market has done on any particular day, week, month, or year.

My advice? Diversify and hold more cash.

Philociraptor

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2019, 09:56:00 AM »

fattest_foot

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2019, 10:16:58 AM »
Seems like ignoring it would work pretty well?

Logically, the best way to handle looking at it is that if the market goes down, you're buying on sale. If it's so bad that you're worried about the economy collapsing, realize that if it did and you liquidated at the top, whatever money you have will be worthless anyway. Catastophic failure shouldn't be a consideration because nothing you do will matter.

Worrying about 5, 10, or even 20% drops isn't worth worrying about either.

In 40 years when you finally liquidate the shares you bought yesterday, and the S&P is at 10,000, will you care whether you bought at 3,000 or 2,500? I mean, it'll make a minor difference, but is it worth stressing about?

Telecaster

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2019, 10:22:37 AM »
The S&P 500 is still up since the beginning of the year.  Shoot, it is still higher than it was in June.  For that matter is higher than it was two weeks ago.   

DadJokes

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #6 on: August 14, 2019, 10:26:05 AM »
If I were retiring in the next year or so, I might be worrying right now. However, my asset allocation would be different, and the impact would be minimal.

Since a drop in the market today will be negligible to my net worth when I do plan to retire a decade or more from now, it's pretty easy to ignore. Even better, I can hope that my next paycheck will be able to buy stocks even cheaper than my last paycheck.

Villanelle

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #7 on: August 14, 2019, 10:26:53 AM »
Cold turkey, man.

You don't tell an alcoholic to drink less. 

Just stop looking.  I'm assuming that according to your investment plan, it isn't actionable, so you don't need ANY of the information.  If you must, check it twice a year to rebalance.  That's it.  If you have someone you trust and a simple enough allocation, ask that person to check it twice a year and let you know if you need to rebalance (according to whatever your set triggers are for that), and otherwise not give you the information.  Don't want financial programs on TV. 

Quit this like you would any other unhealthy compulsion, which usually means cutting it out of your life as much as possible. 

Bateaux

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #8 on: August 14, 2019, 10:28:49 AM »
OMY

WhiteTrashCash

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #9 on: August 14, 2019, 10:29:42 AM »
I'm baking some homemade rolls for meatball subs today using some bread flour I was gifted and making the dough with a bread machine I bought off Craigslist six years ago for $30. I'm trying to decide if I want to add some fresh chopped basil to the sauce from the garden or if I should hold off on that until the basil is grown back a little better.

I have to return a library book too.

Those are pretty much my strategies to ignore the market right now.

alienbogey

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #10 on: August 14, 2019, 10:55:08 AM »
My strategy has always been (more or less) to only look at it twice a month.  Here's how.

My wife and I get paid twice a month.  So, twice a month I sit down and pay the bills, balance accounts, update loan balances, update share balances in investments, etc, etc, in Quicken.  The program automatically updates share prices.  Then we sit down for the twice monthly Financial Report, in which we discuss how all the numbers have changed, cash on hand, upcoming bills, amounts on credit cards, etc.  We finish with a look at the two big numbers, Net Worth and Investments Stash.

As we've progressed financially over the years (34 together) we've hit and passed some nice, round-number milestones.  But it only counts as an Official Record if the number is surpassed when we've closed the books for that day.  There's no need to peek at the markets or run the numbers between the twice monthly bookkeeping and Financial Report because those numbers just don't count.

Now, I confess that I occasionally peek, especially when we're near a new milestone, but by and large I only look twice a month as described.

Cliff Notes:  Pay bills/do household bookkeeping twice a month and only look at the financial numbers then. 

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #11 on: August 14, 2019, 10:55:52 AM »
Seems like ignoring it would work pretty well?
Thanks for missing the point. I know I *should* be ignoring it, but I can't. I need a strategy or method to help me do what I know I need to do.

Obviously, I have to find the strength within myself to make a change, just looking for any tips or tricks to get me there.

ctuser1

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #12 on: August 14, 2019, 11:15:30 AM »
Complexity!

Seriously!! It works for me that our "net worth" is scattered around and it is mighty difficult for me consolidate all of them in a spreadsheet.

It takes me to log in to 6 different provider accounts, with 8 different logins (my login + wifey's login in several places), note the numbers down in a spreadsheet etc. etc. etc. It is so "hard" that I have not done so for the past 6 months and don't have a lot of ideas what the market has done to our net-worth in this time.

This was not always so. 3 years ago, 90% of my entire net-worth was consolidated in a single place - in Fidelity. At that time I could see what the market is doing to almost my entire portfolio minute by minute if I wanted to. All it took was a single tap on my smartphone!! And I was constantly glued to it, almost everywhere!!

Since then, some bonus chasing added a couple of accounts. Some other conscious choices added 2 more. Some accounts that were diddly-squat-nothings (e.g. HSA) grew to become significant (HSA is > $50k now). Wifey started working and started setting aside $18k/year - so her 401k account has started becoming sizable now.

I need to now login to SIX separate apps on my phone to get somewhere close to our net-worth, and that does not account for the 3 separate 529 accounts - for which I am not aware of any apps on the phone!!

I found this lack of control maddening initially (even though it was by design). Gradually, I'd say over a period of six months or so, I got used to it, and calmed down. Right now, I am much more relaxed about money than I was 3 years ago - when everything was in a single pile.

If I am thinking about a specific expense bucket now (e.g. how to pay for kids college) - I go to one single place (529 accounts) and the numbers are less daunting to me, compared to when I'd add everything up and stare at a giant shortfall from my own (rather large) FI++ goals across all the buckets.

Complexity has definitely been a godsend for my mental sanity.

davisgang90

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #13 on: August 14, 2019, 11:20:26 AM »
I keep the next two years expenses out of the market.  So I don't really care what happens in the market for the next 2 years.  I know that over time the market will outperform most other investment vehicles.

Full disclosure, I only pull out about 2% of my stash each year, and the money isn't really critical to my current retired life, so that gives me even more flexibility to not really care about today's market shenanigans.

Works for me.

matchewed

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #14 on: August 14, 2019, 11:27:24 AM »
The pursuit of tips and tricks in order to change you habits is akin to wanting the magic pill to make you (insert thing here).

At some point you have to take responsibility for your actions and make a choice not to pursue that activity which you wish to stop doing. Using the "I can't help it" excuse is giving control of your actions to the outside world. Take control of your actions.

To aid you in this you need to put barriers between your desire and the action. Make the action harder to perform.

v8rx7guy

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #15 on: August 14, 2019, 11:30:08 AM »
You will probably naturally watch it less when it is going down... that has at least been my experience.  I love to watch it go up and update my NW statement more frequently.  However, when it's going down: "maybe I'll do it quarterly"... haha

FIRE@50

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #16 on: August 14, 2019, 11:30:41 AM »
Seems like ignoring it would work pretty well?
Thanks for missing the point. I know I *should* be ignoring it, but I can't. I need a strategy or method to help me do what I know I need to do.

Obviously, I have to find the strength within myself to make a change, just looking for any tips or tricks to get me there.
Maybe ignoring it isn't the answer. How about embracing the market? Getting excited about the big moves, up or down. The market moving sideways is incredibly boring. Learn to laugh at the people panicking knowing that you are/have done the right thing. If you are still saving, get excited that you are now buying at a discount. If you are in retirement, sleep well with the knowledge that you are only selling a small portion of your nest egg per year and when it is time to sell again, the market will likely be higher.

Just some thoughts. Good luck working through it.

effigy98

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #17 on: August 14, 2019, 11:35:26 AM »
I re-balance at 5% bands. Check for 5 mins in the morning as a routine.

I have a spreadsheet with fixed asset allocation percentages. There are no stock prices in it only total dollar amounts in each etf. I put color coding conditionals when they get past the 5%. If red, sell, if green buy. If not red or green, close spreadsheet and go on with rest of day.

BECABECA

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #18 on: August 14, 2019, 11:50:53 AM »
Where are you seeing the stock market updates? For me itís in the stock app on my phone and tablet. If I uninstalled that, it wouldnít be nearly as convenient to just click on it and see how things are going, so I wouldnít be getting that info. When Iíve been on travel abroad, not having cellular data meant I didnít ever look at the market for the whole trip. Just identify where youíre seeing the updates and put barriers in place so you canít just mindlessly check.

Frankies Girl

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #19 on: August 14, 2019, 11:55:26 AM »
I can empathize. When I first started learning how this stuff worked and especially when I took over control completely after close to a year of research... it was scary and I obsessively checked my phone app for the market hourly for months.

TL/DR: dips/crashes while still working mean YOU GET TO BUY IN AT A SALE PRICE! That's a GOOD thing! Trust your IPS/AA and look but don't touch (desensitize by constant exposure), and you are a SMART PERSON that does not allow emotions to run roughshod over your logical side, so you'd never panic sell and lock in paper losses right? So get to the point where you are bored with the day to day moves and register it much like a weather report.




So the long version...

If I felt the need, I just kept checking as often as made me feel better. BUT in doing so, I promised myself that I would DO nothing. I knew that the panic feeling of seeing drops was purely emotional and this was my method of desensitizing myself. Zero moves, other than what I had in my IPS (which states I check on X day once a year an rebalance if any of my AA was +/- 5%). So knowing that I could get all worked up over this, but there's not going to be a damned thing I would do about it because I KNOW that my AA is good, my IPS is good... meant I started not caring as much about the hour/minute stuff, then less so about the day stuff, week stuff. I could see a drop shrug my shoulders and move on.

Hourly/daily market monitoring is akin to putting a subject under a microscope - intense and up close, I see all the crazy moves that happen, but this also helped realizing that I'm focusing on a very small part of a giant, enormous ecosystem. I saw how the market works. It goes down, it goes flat, but eventually it goes up. NOT a straight line. Sometimes quickly in the same day, sometimes there is nothing at all movement-wise. But this is at tiny section of time; I'm not investing for this week, or that month or even year. So it provided perspective and it was a great learning experience by allowing myself to see and observe but not act. Now, mostly I can see it daily but forget and really it's just a registering of daily information, much like the weather report.

If you are not FIREd, then you're still adding to your stache and have even less to worry over market drops. So what if you lost X amount? Are you SPENDING it right now? Are you in need of the bulk of it this very instant... or are you still LBYM, banking a nice % of your paycheck and comfortably living off what you currently earn? If this is the case, you should be THRILLED at market dips/crashes/etc... it is on sale, and buying stuff at a discount when you KNOW the value is going to rise? That is AWESOME.

Keep repeating to myself that it is only "on paper/screen" loss if I SOLD ALL OF IT AND LOCKED THAT PRICE IN. Am I that dumb? No, I am not. Therefore, the market will come back up, I just need to leave it alone.


If you don't allow panic/emotions to creep in... you're eventually going to get really bored with hourly/daily/weekly watching the market. It obviously takes some time, but keep telling yourself that investing SHOULD be boring if you're doing it right. Revisit your IPS and AA, make sure that you keep your hands off (other than to add more $ when you can!) and like a fever, this will pass.

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #20 on: August 14, 2019, 12:19:08 PM »
Where are you seeing the stock market updates? For me itís in the stock app on my phone and tablet. If I uninstalled that, it wouldnít be nearly as convenient to just click on it and see how things are going, so I wouldnít be getting that info. When Iíve been on travel abroad, not having cellular data meant I didnít ever look at the market for the whole trip. Just identify where youíre seeing the updates and put barriers in place so you canít just mindlessly check.
I have a bookmark to Google Finance with a couple key ETFs and my company stock starred. I just removed that bookmark...baby steps...

erutio

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #21 on: August 14, 2019, 12:53:02 PM »
Where are you seeing the stock market updates? For me itís in the stock app on my phone and tablet. If I uninstalled that, it wouldnít be nearly as convenient to just click on it and see how things are going, so I wouldnít be getting that info. When Iíve been on travel abroad, not having cellular data meant I didnít ever look at the market for the whole trip. Just identify where youíre seeing the updates and put barriers in place so you canít just mindlessly check.
I have a bookmark to Google Finance with a couple key ETFs and my company stock starred. I just removed that bookmark...baby steps...

That's a good start.

PDXTabs

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #22 on: August 14, 2019, 01:38:16 PM »
Like many who post here, I have a hard time not binge-watching the stock market on a daily, if not hourly, basis. This is not good for my mental health.

Are you like this about other things? You might need to just take a break.

But in general, I don't try to ignore the market's machinations. That's because when it is up I'm happy because my net worth is up and when it is down I'm happy because stocks are on sale.

But I do have trouble with compulsively checking news (of all sorts) at times. Sometimes I find that I need to just take a break (especially during the work day).

Tyler

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #23 on: August 14, 2019, 01:39:59 PM »
Do you have any strategies for managing this behavior? I got nothing. Thanks.

A few suggestions:

1. If checking your investment performance is something you do without even thinking, delete any finance app from your phone.  That will at least add enough friction to break the mindless ritual.

2. If it's the swings that stress you out, consider other portfolio options that also make good money but aren't so volatile.  It's way easier to not care about financial news when your portfolio is reasonably consistent across all economic conditions and uncorrelated to drama in individual markets.

3. Think about why gains make you so happy and losses bother you so much.  Are you putting your investments on a pedestal where you're chasing a "number" to save you from a situation that makes you miserable?  To really stop the cycle, work on being happy right now independent of your investment account. 
« Last Edit: August 14, 2019, 02:50:17 PM by Tyler »

chairman5

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #24 on: August 14, 2019, 01:57:19 PM »
Only asset allocation will be a solution.  That can get you in a position where following the market can be more fun instead of anxiety inducing.  You need to have enough cash on hand where a big market selloff would get you excited about possibly buying.  Forget about tuning it out or trying not to look - it is exciting and interesting for some of us and you sound like one of those.  Just have to get yourself out of the mood-altering thing.

As for those here talking about baking bread, watchin basil grow, and listening to birds all day, they can do that because they are properly allocated.

Frankly, you have to be a hermit nowadays to avoid hearing about market selloffs or corrections - you will hear it on NPR, social media, TV news, water-cooler, etc.  20 years ago you could go about a normal day and not hear about the market.

So the only solution is to be able to allocate appropriately for yourself, so the selloffs don't stress you.

Don't feel bad about possibly being "underinvested".  I went through what you are going through in the early 2000s, when I was 40 years old.  I transferred from 95/5 stocks to 50% cash and 50% stock in about 2005 for mental health.  As it turns out, with the 2009 correction, I am about the same place I would have been if I had been 100% invested in stock like the world preaches that whole period, somewhat because I was able to pick up some cheap shares here and there.  But I never went above 60% stocks.  And even if I would have never bought a few cheap shares I would only have a net worth about 4% less - not material for me.

So raise that cash level until you almost are rooting for a correction so you can buy a few shares - then you are properly allocated.

Malkynn

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #25 on: August 14, 2019, 02:01:58 PM »
Maybe step back a little and look at the source of this issue rather than trying to manage the symptoms.

Unless you are close to pulling the plug on your career, do the numbers actually even mean anything to you??

If the numbers really don't mean anything at this point, then why do you feel compelled to check on them so frequently?
What is motivating this? What is off in your life that is leaving a hole that you're trying to fill with net worth???

As someone who lives a pretty full but very chill life, the concept of checking on my investments seems like a tedious and pointless chore. I know ballpark how much and how long I'll need to save to reach my goals, and beyond that, I really don't give any of it much thought.

What is it you are trying to get from your numbers? What reassurance are you seeking from them, and why is it absent when they go down?
What drive motivates you to even care what they are at this point in time?
What have you emotionally tied up in this?

Buffalo Chip

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #26 on: August 14, 2019, 02:44:32 PM »
I suggest deleting apps from your phone and locking it in your car if necessary.

Speaking for myself, this is like waiting for Amazon Prime day. Only much better. Weíll see if itís a long overdue bear market or just another tease.

thriftyc

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #27 on: August 14, 2019, 03:09:04 PM »
Allocation to bonds based on your risk tolerance.  Sleep at night. Plus, the beauty of that, when stocks are down you rebalance.

Steeze

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #28 on: August 14, 2019, 04:27:45 PM »
Get all of your investments automated so you donít have to log in and make decisions.
Delete the stock market app on your phone
Only log in on a fixed interval - say, once a month to update your net worth spreadsheet.
Only make trades once a year to re-balance
Stop watching TV
Stop reading the financial news
Stop logging in to the forum to read the Top is In thread all the time
Download Duolingo for killing time

Get a hobby that is more interesting. I started rock climbing so I read about rock climbing and fitness related to that a lot lately.

secondcor521

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #29 on: August 14, 2019, 04:45:14 PM »
I used to watch obsessively during my working career.  For me, I eventually figured out that I was illogically hoping that by watching the market it would go up sooner/faster/further.  I was impatient for FIRE to happen.

When I realized that the market went up and down independently whether I watched it or not and that I'd get there when I got there, I realized it was better for me to focus on the things I could do to accelerate FIRE myself, such as figuring out how to handle stock options, and increasing my 401(k) deferrals, and reducing my expenses.

I think you would be well served to figure out why you watch so much.  If it's because you're worried, then adjusting your AA and/or educating yourself would probably help.  If it's because you're impatient like I was, then maybe go do something productive.  If it's just a mildly entertaining way to pass the time, like it is for me now, then you'll probably just enjoy it and not have the negative emotions associated with the activity.

Cabaka

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #30 on: August 14, 2019, 07:08:34 PM »

I ignored it yesterday and today until after the close, being a moving average guy; one day or even all three days this week do not influence me.

instead, Tuesday was in Monterey for car week; which I highly recommend for car nuts and today drove up the pacific co0ast highway; it was great.

MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #31 on: August 14, 2019, 08:10:50 PM »
You could also still look at the market, but have a different goal.  I like re-balancing to an unhealthy extent, so when the market drops I view it as a time to rebalance.  When the market drops 2-3%, that means selling bonds and buying equities.

You could also look at the longer term view: if the market drops now, you can buy in for cheap.  It's during retirement that you want the market going up.  You could almost define the stock market as the place everyone runs away from when they have a discount.

Bernard

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #32 on: August 14, 2019, 11:33:42 PM »
I check pretty much daily too. It's an app on my iPhone, and in the morning when I'm having my first cup of coffee, I have a quick look. I also check mid-day. Today, when I realized that the DOW was 800 points down, I transferred more money from the bank and bought more index funds. It won't make a big difference in the big picture, but every bit helps. But if the DOW goes down another 800 points tomorrow, I still will not be too much upset, I'll just sit back and let the market do what the market does.

vand

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #33 on: August 15, 2019, 03:52:01 AM »
Only asset allocation will be a solution.  That can get you in a position where following the market can be more fun instead of anxiety inducing.  You need to have enough cash on hand where a big market selloff would get you excited about possibly buying.  Forget about tuning it out or trying not to look - it is exciting and interesting for some of us and you sound like one of those.  Just have to get yourself out of the mood-altering thing.

As for those here talking about baking bread, watchin basil grow, and listening to birds all day, they can do that because they are properly allocated.

Frankly, you have to be a hermit nowadays to avoid hearing about market selloffs or corrections - you will hear it on NPR, social media, TV news, water-cooler, etc.  20 years ago you could go about a normal day and not hear about the market.

So the only solution is to be able to allocate appropriately for yourself, so the selloffs don't stress you.

Don't feel bad about possibly being "underinvested".  I went through what you are going through in the early 2000s, when I was 40 years old.  I transferred from 95/5 stocks to 50% cash and 50% stock in about 2005 for mental health.  As it turns out, with the 2009 correction, I am about the same place I would have been if I had been 100% invested in stock like the world preaches that whole period, somewhat because I was able to pick up some cheap shares here and there.  But I never went above 60% stocks.  And even if I would have never bought a few cheap shares I would only have a net worth about 4% less - not material for me.

So raise that cash level until you almost are rooting for a correction so you can buy a few shares - then you are properly allocated.

^^ This all day.

MMM forum is choc full of bright young things whose experience of investing is purely on an intellectual/knowledge level, not on a "lived it, been through it" level. 

Let me assure you 100% that with the behaviour you are describing you are an absolute prime candidate for being the sucker who sells at the bottom of the next bear market because you can't stand the pain of the paper losses you will be sitting on. You will lose faith in the strategy and abandon it altogether, thereby locking in the downside and missing out on the upside.

Most people who bullishly proclaim that they're happy to hold a volatile portfolio so long as it delivers superior long term returns are sent running for the hills when a crisis hits because they don't know their own uncle point. This is how people lose money in the market. It's not because they're stupid or even because they try to dance in and out of the market, it's because they have wildly overestimated their tolerance for risk - which is an easy thing to do when the market is going up and volatility is low - get hurt and are psychologically scarred going forward.

Get your AA right. Someone else is NOT a better investor than you because they were prepared to hold more stocks and thus realised a 8% return while you only managed 6%. What was right for them might not be right for you, and you could have ended up abandoning the strategy altogether. Good Investing is about knowing yourself and what makes you tick, and tailoring your strategy to your own risk profile so you have confidence to stick with it through all imaginable scenarios.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 03:56:14 AM by vand »

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #34 on: August 15, 2019, 06:16:55 AM »
I want to thank everyone for the concrete suggestions - I really appreciate it.

A couple of general comments and then I'll respond to some specific ones. My day job (fancy sysadmin) involves sitting at a computer all day, so deleting stuff from my phone won't make a difference. I don't use apps anyway, I just hit google finance as noted above, where I've "starred" VTI/VXUS/BND and my company stock so they float right to the top of the page. As noted yesterday I deleted the bookmark but I can just as easily type in the URL.

On my phone I do have Mint, or did, as I just uninstalled it. I wouldn't get rid of Mint completely as my wife and I use it extensively for tracking spending across categories and time and for checking our net income, and of course net worth. But I can do this on the desktop and I don't need it in my pocket while commuting, etc. Logging in to mint periodically to check in on these things and fix mis-categorized transactions is, I believe, a necessity for our financial life, and not checking the NW number at the very bottom of the page is something I'm going to work on. Also I don't need to do this multiple times per week, obviously.

Are you like this about other things? You might need to just take a break.

But in general, I don't try to ignore the market's machinations. That's because when it is up I'm happy because my net worth is up and when it is down I'm happy because stocks are on sale.

But I do have trouble with compulsively checking news (of all sorts) at times. Sometimes I find that I need to just take a break (especially during the work day).
3. Think about why gains make you so happy and losses bother you so much.  Are you putting your investments on a pedestal where you're chasing a "number" to save you from a situation that makes you miserable?  To really stop the cycle, work on being happy right now independent of your investment account.
Maybe step back a little and look at the source of this issue rather than trying to manage the symptoms.

Unless you are close to pulling the plug on your career, do the numbers actually even mean anything to you??

If the numbers really don't mean anything at this point, then why do you feel compelled to check on them so frequently?
What is motivating this? What is off in your life that is leaving a hole that you're trying to fill with net worth???

As someone who lives a pretty full but very chill life, the concept of checking on my investments seems like a tedious and pointless chore. I know ballpark how much and how long I'll need to save to reach my goals, and beyond that, I really don't give any of it much thought.

What is it you are trying to get from your numbers? What reassurance are you seeking from them, and why is it absent when they go down?
What drive motivates you to even care what they are at this point in time?
What have you emotionally tied up in this?
Okay, good points here. M'wife and I are about 9.5 years out from FIRE, +/- of course, so not close. In fact it feels forever away, which is part of the problem. I don't love my job, in fact some days I hate it and on good days I tolerate it. I could write a novella here, but suffice it to say I've struggled with job satisfaction for my whole career. Changing companies makes it better for a few months while the new job is fresh and shiny, and then it's the same old. Changing careers is something I give some thought to, but I'm not qualified to do anything else with similar income. I'm very well compensated, so taking a huge pay cut and pushing FIRE even further out is not a great option. If there was something out there that I knew would make me happy (and be compatible with my family life) I would more strongly consider pulling the trigger, but I suspect that it would be the same at any job. At the end of the day, I don't like working. I've been ready for retirement since age 26 when I took almost 2 years off after working a high paying job for 4 years. Looking back, obviously, I wish I had cut that sabbatical a bit shorter and put more money away. To get to retirement as soon as possible sticking it out in my current career is the best option.

Get all of your investments automated so you donít have to log in and make decisions.
Delete the stock market app on your phone
Only log in on a fixed interval - say, once a month to update your net worth spreadsheet.
Only make trades once a year to re-balance
Stop watching TV
Stop reading the financial news
Stop logging in to the forum to read the Top is In thread all the time
Download Duolingo for killing time

Get a hobby that is more interesting. I started rock climbing so I read about rock climbing and fitness related to that a lot lately.
I don't watch TV. I've actually been reading this forum a lot less recently (an infant will really clear these kinds of things out of your schedule). Similarly, no time for any hobbies right now with a 2 year old and a new baby. But I am focusing on fitness and weight loss, squeezing in quick workouts (30 minutes) before I go to work while everyone else is asleep. That's the closest I have to a hobby right now. When the new kid starts sleeping a bit better I hope to get back into a weekly Ultimate game.

I can't quite automate everything as our spending is very lumpy right now with 2 kids (one just born) and big expenses coming irregularly (house maintenance/repair, travel to see family, etc.). Every payday (every other Friday) I add up our CC balances, add a cushion for EF, and invest the balance. But just doing this every other week would be a huge improvement over my current level of checking, so that's what I'm going to strive for moving forward.

I do have a spreadsheet I use to track AA that I'm going to strive to update only quarterly, when I get a batch of company stock to sell and then re-invest. This is a good time to rebalance as well, as I'm dumping a big chunk into international in our taxable account, and usually need a corresponding move back into US and bonds in retirement accounts.

I used to watch obsessively during my working career.  For me, I eventually figured out that I was illogically hoping that by watching the market it would go up sooner/faster/further.  I was impatient for FIRE to happen.
This describes me to a T.

Lastly, on the asset allocation front. M'wife and I are currently 89/11 stocks/bonds. Anticipating FIRE in about 10 years I've started the first half of a 10 year bond tent to 80/20. This matches up with our risk profile, and changing our AA isn't going to help me change my behavior. Right now if the market goes down 3% we lose X amount of money off our net worth. If we decided to go 60/40, and instead of X it was X/2 or whatever (actually a bit more than that), I would still get pissed off. Also my wife doesn't really suffer from this obsession like I do (although she is also impatient to retire), so changing our AA based on my problems would be a non-starter with her.

Philociraptor

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #35 on: August 15, 2019, 06:45:06 AM »
On my phone I do have Mint, or did, as I just uninstalled it. I wouldn't get rid of Mint completely as my wife and I use it extensively for tracking spending across categories and time and for checking our net income, and of course net worth. But I can do this on the desktop and I don't need it in my pocket while commuting, etc. Logging in to mint periodically to check in on these things and fix mis-categorized transactions is, I believe, a necessity for our financial life, and not checking the NW number at the very bottom of the page is something I'm going to work on. Also I don't need to do this multiple times per week, obviously.

Have you thought about disconnecting your investment accounts from Mint and syncing them on a Personal Capital account? Or keeping a second Mint account just for investments? That way you can keep an eye on your day-to-day spending but still have a single place to track your investments. That's what I did when I got tired of watching the number move every day; only check Personal Capital on the first of each month to update my net worth tracking spreadsheet. About 10 years from FIRE with a 100% stock allocation, there is simply no point in checking.

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #36 on: August 15, 2019, 06:54:10 AM »
On my phone I do have Mint, or did, as I just uninstalled it. I wouldn't get rid of Mint completely as my wife and I use it extensively for tracking spending across categories and time and for checking our net income, and of course net worth. But I can do this on the desktop and I don't need it in my pocket while commuting, etc. Logging in to mint periodically to check in on these things and fix mis-categorized transactions is, I believe, a necessity for our financial life, and not checking the NW number at the very bottom of the page is something I'm going to work on. Also I don't need to do this multiple times per week, obviously.

Have you thought about disconnecting your investment accounts from Mint and syncing them on a Personal Capital account? Or keeping a second Mint account just for investments? That way you can keep an eye on your day-to-day spending but still have a single place to track your investments. That's what I did when I got tired of watching the number move every day; only check Personal Capital on the first of each month to update my net worth tracking spreadsheet. About 10 years from FIRE with a 100% stock allocation, there is simply no point in checking.
I've thought about it, yeah. My in-laws actually have a similar setup, they only use Mint for CCs and checking account (they track investments in a spreadsheet).

A couple of hurdles...part of our net income in 401(k) contributions which hit in an investment account. Having everything in one place is huge for me, and my wife. I tried PC and wasn't really happy with it either, not to mention the incessant emails/phone calls upselling me on their services.

I'm going to stick with some behavior modifications as noted above and if I really can't make improvement I'll circle back on this one. I think my wife would be okay disconnecting all the investment accounts if I made the case it was important for our combined mental health. I would probably just not bother with PC in that case, and stick to my own spreadsheet for total NW and AA.

Malkynn

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #37 on: August 15, 2019, 07:24:09 AM »
Okay, good points here. M'wife and I are about 9.5 years out from FIRE, +/- of course, so not close. In fact it feels forever away, which is part of the problem. I don't love my job, in fact some days I hate it and on good days I tolerate it. I could write a novella here, but suffice it to say I've struggled with job satisfaction for my whole career. Changing companies makes it better for a few months while the new job is fresh and shiny, and then it's the same old. Changing careers is something I give some thought to, but I'm not qualified to do anything else with similar income. I'm very well compensated, so taking a huge pay cut and pushing FIRE even further out is not a great option. If there was something out there that I knew would make me happy (and be compatible with my family life) I would more strongly consider pulling the trigger, but I suspect that it would be the same at any job. At the end of the day, I don't like working. I've been ready for retirement since age 26 when I took almost 2 years off after working a high paying job for 4 years. Looking back, obviously, I wish I had cut that sabbatical a bit shorter and put more money away. To get to retirement as soon as possible sticking it out in my current career is the best option.

I find this depressing.

A decade is a very long time to choose to be miserable for the overwhelming majority of your waking hours.

And make no mistake, this is the life you are actively choosing to live.

Trading another decade for FIRE may be the best plan, but I wouldn't jump to that conclusion just because it sounds good on the surface. Looking forward to freedom will not sustain you for that long, especially when a major recession hits and there are no growing net worth numbers to reassure you that it's all worth it.

Seriously, how will you cope if your net worth gets chopped in half and you feel like it's all been for nothing? I really don't think an adjusted asset allocation is even remotely sufficient to help you weather that very possible storm.

There is no force in this world that will push you towards a happier life, so it's 100% up to you to make it happen. Finding happiness is a much bigger challenge than most people realize, and it is so much more than just removing the things that are making you miserable.

What shape are you psychologically going to be in after another decade of this??? How will the experience have shaped your relationship with your young children?

Is it really worth the trade off?

If it is, then it's your responsibility to find a way to live your best life as much as possible while working this job: therapy, meditation, hobbies, volunteering, whatever. It's up to you to make it work.

Your net worth can't help you for many years so stop looking to it to do so. Look to yourself, as you are the ONLY person who can do anything to make your life happier.
« Last Edit: August 15, 2019, 07:26:23 AM by Malkynn »

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #38 on: August 15, 2019, 07:35:05 AM »
Okay, good points here. M'wife and I are about 9.5 years out from FIRE, +/- of course, so not close. In fact it feels forever away, which is part of the problem. I don't love my job, in fact some days I hate it and on good days I tolerate it. I could write a novella here, but suffice it to say I've struggled with job satisfaction for my whole career. Changing companies makes it better for a few months while the new job is fresh and shiny, and then it's the same old. Changing careers is something I give some thought to, but I'm not qualified to do anything else with similar income. I'm very well compensated, so taking a huge pay cut and pushing FIRE even further out is not a great option. If there was something out there that I knew would make me happy (and be compatible with my family life) I would more strongly consider pulling the trigger, but I suspect that it would be the same at any job. At the end of the day, I don't like working. I've been ready for retirement since age 26 when I took almost 2 years off after working a high paying job for 4 years. Looking back, obviously, I wish I had cut that sabbatical a bit shorter and put more money away. To get to retirement as soon as possible sticking it out in my current career is the best option.

I find this depressing.

A decade is a very long time to choose to be miserable for the overwhelming majority of your waking hours.

And make no mistake, this is the life you are actively choosing to live.

Trading another decade for FIRE may be the best plan, but I wouldn't jump to that conclusion just because it sounds good on the surface. Looking forward to freedom will not sustain you for that long, especially when a major recession hits and there are no growing net worth numbers to reassure you that it's all worth it.

Seriously, how will you cope if your net worth gets chopped in half and you feel like it's all been for nothing? I really don't think an adjusted asset allocation is even remotely sufficient to help you weather that very possible storm.

There is no force in this world that will push you towards a happier life, so it's 100% up to you to make it happen. Finding happiness is a much bigger challenge than most people realize, and it is so much more than just removing the things that are making you miserable.

What shape are you psychologically going to be in after another decade of this??? How will the experience have shaped your relationship with your young children?

Is it really worth the trade off?

If it is, then it's your responsibility to find a way to live your best life as much as possible while working this job: therapy, meditation, hobbies, volunteering, whatever. It's up to you to make it work.

Your net worth can't help you for many years so stop looking to it to do so. Look to yourself, as you are the ONLY person who can do anything to make your life happier.
I totally agree it's depressing. I do need some therapy.

Malkynn

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #39 on: August 15, 2019, 07:40:23 AM »

I totally agree it's depressing. I do need some therapy.

Very good call.
Take care of yourself, you're the only one who can.

ctuser1

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #40 on: August 15, 2019, 07:51:38 AM »
appleshampooid, if you are a sysadmin then perhaps you can gradually move towards more dev/consulting roles? In my experience, they engage a lot more of your creativity and can make you "happier" (at least in the intervals when you are not frustrated why your d**n code will not work!!)...

Sysadmin -> python -> either infosec or finance is a pathway that seems plausible and high paying. The jump to infosec or finance will require some skillset in addition to just coding skills. For finance - perhaps another MS or MBA can do the trick? Not so sure about infosec since I have not worked in it.

Point is, you either need to enjoy what you are doing, or actively working towards something better to tolerate it. Saving for FIRE is usually not sufficient by itself!!

So start working towards a slightly different, high paying career that you will enjoy!! Or at least something that will keep you so mentally engaged that your brain will not get time to pause/stop to think whether it is happy or not!!

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #41 on: August 15, 2019, 07:59:35 AM »
appleshampooid, if you are a sysadmin then perhaps you can gradually move towards more dev/consulting roles? In my experience, they engage a lot more of your creativity and can make you "happier" (at least in the intervals when you are not frustrated why your d**n code will not work!!)...

Sysadmin -> python -> either infosec or finance is a pathway that seems plausible and high paying. The jump to infosec or finance will require some skillset in addition to just coding skills. For finance - perhaps another MS or MBA can do the trick? Not so sure about infosec since I have not worked in it.

Point is, you either need to enjoy what you are doing, or actively working towards something better to tolerate it. Saving for FIRE is usually not sufficient by itself!!

So start working towards a slightly different, high paying career that you will enjoy!! Or at least something that will keep you so mentally engaged that your brain will not get time to pause/stop to think whether it is happy or not!!
I used to be a software developer which technically pays more on average. But I pivoted into sysadmin/Systems Engineering/DevOps/SRE/Insert-buzzword-of-the-day as it was more interesting to me and a better match for my skillset.

Consulting may be an option nearing retirement to cut back on hours but still have some income stream. But I don't really have the hustle (at this point in my career) to go out and find customers/work. So the standard W2 gig is good for me right now.

On the finance front, I live in a metro area with a TON of finance and fintech companies. The weird thing is the pay suuucks compared to my current industry (e-commerce). I don't know what the disconnect is, but same job role at a fintech company is like a 20% paycut based on my experience last time around looking for a job (and supported by my peers here). AND those places expect you to work harder as well. I don't know if it's considered a cooler industry or what, but it's not worth it to me.

In terms of increasing my income, I might be able to make more pivoting back to software development. But despite my current dissatisfaction, I believe that would be even worse based on empirical evidence of myself, in that role, being even more dissatisfied :P.

DragonSlayer

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #42 on: August 15, 2019, 09:18:49 AM »
Basically I don't look until I get word that things are getting better. In the meantime, I only record contributions in my tracking programs, and don't record the losses. It reinforces the idea that my NW is going up. If not today, then at some point in the future. Yeah, it's trickery, and yeah, it's "cheating" when I look at my NW and see more than I "actually" have, but since it's money I don't need for years, it's highly likely to rise to the level in my tracking plus more in that timeframe. If not, well, then the world has gone haywire and it doesn't really matter, anyway.

PJC74

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #43 on: August 15, 2019, 02:29:23 PM »
I tend to look at the market more on big down days, not because I'm worried about losing paper wealth, but rather that stocks are on sale.
Who doesn't enjoy shopping the marked down aisle?

Grog

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #44 on: August 15, 2019, 02:51:02 PM »
Change mindset:

1) look at ETF unit price eg 100 USD per unit
2) take your fire number and divide by etf price (eg 1'000'000 USD / 100 = 10'000 unit. This is worst case (no capital growth for 20 years)
3) instead of looking at networth, look at how many unit you are missing
4) take your average monthly investment (eg2000 usd) and divide by current stock market  etf price eg 2000/100=20units per month.

Ta dah ! now every crash  will drive units per month up and get you nearer the 10000 goal in the example above. Just look at units, not money

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MustacheAndaHalf

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #45 on: August 15, 2019, 09:50:00 PM »
MMM forum is choc full of bright young things whose experience of investing is purely on an intellectual/knowledge level, not on a "lived it, been through it" level.
And yet it also seems to be full of people who survived the 2008 crash without changing allocations.
https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/investor-alley/2008-crash-any-witnesses-who-didnt-adjust-investing/

chairman5

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #46 on: August 16, 2019, 06:59:59 AM »
What is somewhat interesting here on this thread and many other threads on this website is that FIRE is built upon ultimate faith in capitalism and the functioning of financial markets.  In some ways FIRE foundationally preaches leaving behind some tenents of capitalism (you always need more, more, more, get out of the workplace that supports corporate profits, etc.) but yet relies on other tenents, namely corporate profits fueling an ever rising stock market.

appleshampooid

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #47 on: August 16, 2019, 07:19:07 AM »
Real talk, I did change the investments in my 401(k) back in 2007-2008. I went all cash/stable value at some point and then jumped back in at some point. I don't remember the exact dates (and it would be hard to find as that account has long ago been rolled over), but I definitely was back in the market before I left that job in 2010. So I have no idea if I came out ahead, or behind, or sideways.

I was young (just in to the workforce), and was about 75% clueless when it came to investing. I had heard the good news about index funds, checking expense ratios, and avoiding actively managed funds from a good Econ teacher (who also happened to be my football coach, great man) in high school, but I missed the boat on the hold the course, don't market time, etc. Also completely missed the course on investing outside of your 401(k) - I had no taxable account or Roth accounts until much later.

So would I do the same thing today? I'm older and wiser and I would like to say 100% no. Also, my wife and I are in this together now and we would hold each other accountable to not selling at the bottom.

All that being said, when you take those risk evaluation surveys, they always ask you what you did personally during the crash. So if I answer those honestly, it usually tampers down the resulting risk appetite.

Psychstache

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #48 on: August 16, 2019, 07:22:58 AM »
Read "The Power of Habit" by Charles duhigg. Great book with lots of actionable ideas about changing habits.

Aunt Petunia

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Re: What are your strategies to ignore the market?
« Reply #49 on: August 16, 2019, 07:50:59 AM »
Focus on things that you can control: You can't control stock performance, but you can make sure you are in the funds with the lowest fees. You can read articles about whether traditional or Roth is better for your situation. You can research 529 tax deductions in your state.

You can also control how much you spend and save: A little downtime at work could be used to shop around your car insurance or research credit card sign up bonuses. Look into any employee discount programs that you might not be aware of, for example I found out my employee assistance program provides a free consultation to make a will. Make sure you are in the best health plan for your needs. Even checking grocery store flyers would be more productive than checking the stock market.