It’s often the strangest places where one observes the similarities across parts of our lives. Perhaps the strangeness is what makes these observations memorable. This morning, in the pre-dawn hours at the gym, I had one of these instances. At the risk of oversharing personal information, I’ve worked with this personal trainer for the last seven years. Same days, same hours, like clockwork. We’ve worked through good times and bad, injuries and personal triumphs, during COVID on Zoom and, thankfully, back in person.
In today’s session, my trainer asked me, “how do you feel?” after a particularly strenuous exercise that exerted some audible groans. Never one to sugarcoat much of anything, I replied something to the effect of, “terrible” (edited for broad consumption, of course). Her response sparked an epiphany for me when she said, “it never feels good when you’re doing an exercise, but it’ll feel great in five years.” My trainer didn’t know it in the moment, but she’d just explained investing in a bear market.
Recognizing that there are far more important challenges and obstacles in the world than simply completing some voluntary exercises, I went with it anyway. I’m sure that my face and demeanor were dead give aways as to the impact of her words; I simply sat there and pondered the parallels that exist between getting both our bodies and financial situations “in shape.” The work never feels great, but the rewards accrue over the long-term. The recent bout of market weakness and elevated volatility certainly have not felt great. But the rewards of maintaining strategic asset allocations and capitalizing on opportunities that present themselves will be revealed over time.
As I considered the relativity of the situation more, I was reminded of the importance of seeking professional guidance and support in the pursuits of physical and financial wellbeing. Specifically, the real value added by professional help is not on the best days but instead on the worst. Most of us do not need trainers when we’re feeling energized and motivated. But when we’re feeling tired, weak, or particularly susceptible to excuses, the accountability of an appointment with a person whose job is to help you achieve your goals is often more than enough to break through. The same goes for financial planning, asset allocation decisions and portfolio implementation.
2022 has so far been a difficult period in financial markets. Investors are rapidly repricing assets based on now more restrictive Federal Reserve policy and there are some signs of economic softening. Our job as your advisor is to navigate these periods as well as possible and, more importantly, to improve positioning for the other side of the valley. It is difficult, if not downright impossible, to predict the precise timing of these events, but we can continue to uncover opportunities that reveal themselves. And while we are all exerting some forms of audible groans right now, we think it’s very important to maintain focus on long-term goals.