When the Dow Jones average plummeted on Monday, I felt panicky(like everyone else.) In truth, the downslide was not even in the top twenty of daily market plunges percentage wise. But the numbers were frightening.
My father, a prominent stockbroker, used to reassure me about market fluctuations and I felt safe while he was alive. But he died in 2005, and now that he is gone, I have to be my own self calmer.
Not alone in this endeavor, I have some financial people who I can talk to about what is going on and they never seem to get rattled. During the crash of 2008, I called them asking advice on how to proceed as the downturn was historic. Their advice, “turn off the television.” So, I did and left the portfolio alone. In retrospect, a good move.
But the hysteria from the media is contagious, and I hesitate looking at the daily rises and falls of the market out of fear. My family has been generous and I feel responsible for maintaining the money to leave to my daughter. I am solely the custodian of the funds, I feel, not the owner.
My grandfather was also a stockbroker in Baltimore, after selling liquor from a wagon in St. Joseph, Missouri. Because of these family ties, I assume I should know what to do about economic problems, but I don’t. Usually, I follow the advice to buy good stocks and hold them. When I don’t know what to do, I do nothing.
I like to buy into companies I am familiar with-Coca-Cola(love to drink it,) Reebok(the only shoe I could wear when I busted the nerves in my feet from running,) and QVC(I knew there were other lazy shoppers like me.) I skipped the tech enthusiasm of the 1970s.
My dad told me that bulls and bears make money on Wall Street, but not hogs. So, I am not interested in the latest hot tip, nor in getting the perfect return on my money.
I just hope the volatility settles down in the right direction, and that I have the patience to remain calm when it does not.