Ignore it until later.
Stick with the original plan that you set out for the year and review appropriately during the year.
Say, at the most, review it every three months. But only make minor adjustments.
Maybe a tiny tweak is in order, but don’t panic.
I learned this from a friend who is ahead in his race to financial retirement and living almost time-rich.
Before this sound advice, I was a tinkerer. I thought the best way was to constantly tinker with the finances.
I would listen to everyone and no one and thought it was magnificent advice.
I would move around what little money I had available. I would check things daily and then passionately watch as there were small movements up or down, indicated by a red or green number.
This was a thrilling feeling as I made my pennies. Literally, I was getting excited as things changed slightly, and I made or lost a few pence.
What was the point of that?
I was using a lot of my time, energy and stressing myself out but getting a dopamine hit when things changed for the better, all of this for nothing much. Well, maybe a little upside with the dopamine.
This absorption stage helped me learn a lot, which I guess was a good thing, but it did consume a lot of living time and played games with my head.
I rounded it all out by trying to set a target for the end of each month, and then when I missed it, I would get pi**ed off and then try harder by getting in deeper. There had to be something I was not getting or understanding clearly enough. When I look back, it was the start of an addiction.
I was practically inventing my addiction in front of my own eyes. In my head, I was Warren Buffett. In reality, I was Bernie Madoff.
Let me qualify here, I know nothing about addiction other than what I would read in books and what I experienced around me during my life back in Glasgow.
I know that I was getting deeper and deeper into being obsessed with trying to crack the financial side of life in my desire to get to a long-term fantasy place of time-freedom.
I was obsessively reading and learning, then chasing the whims of a news cycle or the expert commentary of someone making it up as much as I was. Trust me, the guys on TV are bullsh*tting it through the day. Watch that sh*t long enough, and when you open your eyes to hear (I know, doesn’t make sense) what they are saying, you see that it is all entertainment.
But I was lapping it up. There had to be a code to it. I had seen a meme or two on Instagram. They claimed there was a secret code. It preached that there was gold in them there hills. It had to be accurate, surely.
In reality, it is true.
Trust me, there is gold in them there hills, but it takes years of patience and dedication to habit.
Habit works more than anything that you can learn from the other means you think can help you ride the financial markets to success.
The best advice, keep it simple, keep it cheap to administer and keep it your money and not someone else’s – stay away from bad debt. Don’t be a Bernie.
Oh, and KEEP the habit.
As my mate would say, ‘don’t waste your energy on it, lock it away for the long term in a simple (financial) vehicle. Then make it a habit to add to it as often and as frequently as you can. Don’t look at the scorecard, don’t look up at it for a while. It is league football you are playing, not a knock-out tournament.’
That was four years ago today. I know this because I wrote it down in my journal, and it flashed up to remind me of that insightful comment.
It was a game-changer for me.
I simplified everything after that conversation and moved what little I had into a cheap to administer long-term investments vehicle.
I locked it away not to be looked at regularly and only reviewed when I get my iCal reminder do I sneak a peek.
I sneaked a peak, things are on track, but the goal line is moving because life is a moving feast.
What do I do now?
Action: Some minor substitutions and increase my automated savings figure by a small amount and cut back elsewhere.
After all, if you are playing English Premier Football and you are not winning the league title, you don’t chuck it all in to go play American Football.
Because you know nothing much about that game.