looking out a window

Content provided by J.J. Schenkelberg, CLS Senior Portfolio Manager

For some reason, I am most comfortable when I am doing a million things at once and there is some issue to contend with.  In high school I felt compelled to join quiz bowl teams, sing in madrigals and jazz choir, and have parts in the school plays. I also played golf, basketball, and softball.  As I’ve gotten older my quest for challenges has abated slightly, but is still prevalent.  I enjoy managing portfolios, being involved with my children’s lives through coaching and at school, as well as volunteering for various church and educational based boards. Not to mention challenging myself physically (currently P90x and running).

For some reason the last couple weeks things have slowed down a bit. I have fantastic help at work to free up my time to do a little more analysis and complete quarter-end tasks. The kids are more self-sufficient.  Interestingly, I find myself a little on edge about this.  Last weekend we actually spent most of it at home, watching football, cooking, and doing various projects around the house.  The kids come home happy from school and are all ready to go in the morning.  I find myself asking them repeatedly if everything is going well there, and they respond in kind.  All in all, “life is good”, as it says on the tire cover my husband gave me for Christmas.

So, why do I feel on edge?  I feel as if there is something I should be doing to prepare for the storm that is coming.  No need to send me something to do!  I am not lacking in things to do.  In fact, I’m a few weeks behind on submitting this blog. . . But, I find it difficult to just settle into the moment and enjoy.  Actually, just taking the time to write this helps and ten minutes of sitting in absolute quiet is amazing.

I find that many investors feel this way most of the time.  Despite the fact that investors with their money predominantly in equities have likely doubled their investments over the past 5 years, we are still inundated with calls from clients and advisors. They are concerned about rising interest rates, the U.S. debt ceiling, a government shut-down, and FOMC tapering or not tapering.  In investing there is always something to “worry” about.  Otherwise, there wouldn’t be several successful TV stations dedicated to investments.

Maybe taking a little time to reflect on the moment and the positive success the markets have brought us the past several years, without dwelling on the pain we felt before, would help.  There are a lot of good things happening in the market; ongoing global development in emerging market countries, continuous corporate sales and earnings growth with historically low debt, improving unemployment numbers and improving housing markets just to name a few.  All in all “life is good.” Maybe we could all take a few minutes of quiet, for whatever reason, and enjoy that thought for a moment.