I remember it well – the mood swings, the hot flashes. One day I am elated with
life, enjoying every moment. The following day could find me on the verge of
biting a loved one’s head off, or in tears because my dinner didn’t turn out as
Reading the weather
report, I would dress appropriately for the day ahead. Then my internal
thermometer would change on a dime, finding me overdressed for a bitterly cold
I bask in the
warmth of the good days, knowing that the feel good hormones – dopamine and oxytocin –are
released and my other hormones (what are left of them) are in balance.
I also need to manage
my way through the tough stuff – keeping my eye on the light at the end of the
tunnel, knowing that “this too, shall pass.”
The same can be said
of the current markets. They are called “market cycles” for a reason. Politics,
health scares – the markets are once again experiencing hormonal swings.
We can make wise
decisions to manage and muddle through when we are in the midst of uncertainty,
uncomfortableness, and unchartered territory –
with our anatomical changes or our monetary mindsets.
Many of the same
techniques we use to reconcile with our changing physical season of life can be
applied to our evolving financial environment. When “the change” is upon us,
consider these four ways to handle it:
Take a Deep Breath
In through your
nose, out through your mouth. Focus on what is on the other side. Keep an eye
on your authentic financial identity and stay true to the course of your unique
version of true wealth. You want to stay pro-active and not reactive.
Look at your assets from a holistic perspective, not just your investment accounts. Do you have equity in your home? Do you have savings accounts? Are you taking income from Social Security or from a pension?
Focus on gratitude
for what you do have – from character assets to your financial assets. A daily
gratitude journal can shift your perspective on what is going on in the world
Manage the Mental Fog
brain and learn something new about your monetary life. It may be around your
changing identity as you move from the work world to this new season of life or
experienced other life transitions.
You could learn
about cash flow, investments, or economics. You could look into the field of
behavioral economics which deals with how our brains work on money (fascinating
Start a book club
and discuss monthly financial topics. How about a “women who wine” group (an oxymoron).
Gather some friends, pour a glass, and create a positive, supportive
environment to talk about money.
Avoid the Triggers
For me, physically,
I know that alcohol now triggers my migraines – so I stay away from it (bummer).
What triggers do you need to stay away from when it comes to the markets?
It won’t be easy. Turn
off the barrage of news. You want to make informed decisions, but if anxiety
starts creeping in, turn it off. Stick to your plan.
Don’t have a plan? Make
one! You will be empowered by understanding where you are and what your options
are moving forward in creating a life of no regrets.
Talk to your advisor and revisit your distribution strategy as well as your portfolio. Recognize when you are tired, stressed, hungry, angry. Any of these emotions can trigger poor financial decisions.
We have choices
about what we put into our body and how we keep it engaged and active – doing
the best we can with what we have. We have choices with how we use our money so
spending plan. Be discerning about spending on a “soul need” and avoid
succumbing to an “ego desire.” Tell your money where to go instead of asking
where it went.
In your portfolios,
make sure you own companies that align with your principles and stay away from
investments that don’t. With this monetary mindfulness, you will more likely stay
It is always easier
to prepare than repair. I know that my constitution is changing. I know that
market cycles are a part of my comprehensive financial life.
The more I can
anticipate the changes I will experience and skillfully tap into the resources
available to me (physically, relationally, emotionally, spiritually,
financially), the better I can manage my expectations and weather the storms.
I will know what I
can control and do something. With what is outside of my control, I will hold
lightly so that it will not weigh my mind and spirit down.
How do the
market cycles affect you – financially, spiritually, emotionally and
relationally? What do you do to keep steady? Please share your thoughts with