Always trying to beat the train?

Just the other day I was running some errands when an approaching train brought my progress to a halt. As the line of cars came to a stop to wait for the train to pass, the driver in front of me was clearly growing restless as he looked both ways trying to discern whether the train was closer to the beginning or the end. In an instant he slammed his car in reverse as he attempted to turn his vehicle around in search of another route across the tracks.

Having been this impatient man before I watched curiously to see if what I suspected might happen would actually happen. Sure enough with the man’s car still in my rear view mirror the caboose appeared and the gates that had stopped traffic quickly opened to allow it to again flow.

Article after article has been written in an attempt to understand why it is that the retail investor continues to underperform the overall market averages when it comes to investing. You have heard me say time and time again that investor behavior determines investment results not the investments themselves. Earlier this month we saw the major averages decline over 4% as the market delivered another predictable pullback. Last week, however, the averages rose almost 2% in one day, regaining almost half of this month’s losses. Another way to think of it is that earlier this month a train was in our way albeit briefly. Last week the caboose arrived.

As we reflect on all of the things we have to be thankful for as the holiday season approaches consider this: the next time the trains in life delay the harvesting of your investments, instead of stressing yourself out over something beyond your control put the car in park, pick up the cell phone, and call someone you love to tell them you are thankful to have them in your life. I believe you will find that by the time the call ends the caboose will have arrived, and you will have made the day of two human beings better than it otherwise would have been.

Brad F Fortier, CFP®, CEP®
President, Fortier Financial