The Art of Disappointment

Let’s face it, life is hard. Someone once famously said that life is the time between catastrophes. Life and investing are similar in this regard. Most investors are constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Their happiness with a return, a statement, or a news report is immediately followed by a suspicious eye on the monster lurking around the corner. In my experience, the monster is always there, just NEVER the monster you were expecting. One thing these monsters both expected and did not have in common is the disappointment that comes from having encountered one. Let’s be honest, life is a series of disappointments occasionally interrupted by blissful ignorance. In the end as many have said, “nobody gets out alive “and damn, once you realize that it’s a bit disappointing.

For my part, I’m in the disappointment business.  My entire job day in and day out is dealing with people’s disappointment and the frustration that it brings.  All clients….and I do mean all, are disappointed at one point or another.  If a client has a good month, just give it a minute. Interest rates, Geopolitics, and the politicians on the other team are just a few of the perpetrators of disappointment.  If you want to be disappointed it’s an easy task. Had a good quarter, well what about the last 12 months?  Have a good portfolio of a dozen stocks, what about that one in the red? Your bond allocation is paying a nice income stream, what about the stock portion that has had a bad run?

Why in the world in this most wonderful of seasons am I bumming you out with these not-so-fun realities. Well, because it’s coming. It?  Yes, it.  It is the disappointment monster.  I don’t know what the monster will be (otherwise I’d hide from it) but I do know it’s coming.  I know because it’s always coming.  Lean forward, listen carefully….YOU WILL BE DISAPPOINTED AT SOME POINT! In fact, if you invest for a lifetime, you will be disappointed many times in your investments and clearly in your life.  I personally am disappointed daily. Disappointed in life, myself, a friend, a family member, the weather, my sports teams (don’t get me started), my country, and my choice of shirts occasionally. (notice I did not mention the wife, I’m often disappointed but not suicidal😊).

Okay, silver lining time. Like life how you deal with it and how quickly you get over your disappointment with an investment is the key to success in my experience.  Investments are going to, well, to put it bluntly, suck sometimes. If you overreact to your disappointment then you never get to live the part in between.  The tasty chewy center of disappointment is where the growth and satisfaction come from.  Those who try to avoid at all costs disappointment never live or for our purposes never find investment success. If you’re walking around worried that you’re gonna step in a puddle, you’ll never get to see the rainbow.  Folks it’s gonna rain and frankly, it’s probably gonna rain soon and hard. Put on your raincoat and go stomp in some puddles, the rainbow will follow shortly.



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