Over $60,000 Down and Still Buying

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Many years ago, decades even, my maternal grandfather used to take me out to lunch at his favorite area restaurant, the long-defunct Szechwan Pavilion at the Old Orchard shopping center in Skokie, Illinois.

Besides the simple fact that he loved me, and I loved him right back, he took a keen interest in me in regard to my growing young family, my education, financial well-being, and career aspirations.

He is the one who got me started investing in the first place, and, truth be told, besides doing that, along with my other grandfather, they unintentionally caused me to adopt the scarcity mindset that both of them had. Having grown up in very poor households, both of my grandfathers always valued safety and security over taking major risks.

I begin this story by remembering my grandfather because I can recall my shock when he told me that he only opened his annual statements from Vanguard to check on his investment portfolio once per year. He did not even open the statements during the first three quarters.

Being a rookie investor at the time, I followed my small portfolio of a few thousand dollars closely, feeling good when I “made” a hundred dollars in a day, but feeling far worse when I “lost” a hundred. Of course, I was not really “losing” money because I did not sell my shares at a loss.

So it made me feel old recently when a millennial colleague was complaining to me about how he “lost” over a hundred thousand dollars worth of crypto assets when I went to get my lunch from the break room this past week.

I said something similar to what my grandfather told me nearly thirty years ago when he set me on the path of becoming a long-term index fund investor.

“You did not lose anything unless you sold it at a loss,” is what I told him and urged him to HODL, as the crypto bros like to say.

Of course, if you follow crypto at all, I conceded that he may want to write off his Terra Luna holdings as a complete loss.

Being a bit of a skeptic, myself, and having greater problems in my life than having my investment portfolio drop in value, it was more than a bit shocking when I discovered that my own holdings have, indeed, dropped by more than sixty thousand dollars since this year began.

I am down about $37,000 so far this year on my largest investment. Snip from author’s account taken May 11th.

I am down about $37,000 in one of my accounts, around $25,000 on another, and something like $6,000 or $7,000 on my third one. I am closer to $70,000 than $60,000 down, actually, but as an aspiring retiree this decade, that is not surprising considering that I held somewhere around $350,000 in equities when the year began.

The only two investments of mine that did not decline in value are my boring-old money market account that serves as my family’s emergency fund and my fund rising investment.

Truth be told, I did think that things were riding pretty high and seemed perhaps a bit too easy when the year began and commented as much while reading through my annual statements about four months ago.

“If I sold every time people were saying there was going to be a recession, I would have sold my holdings fifty times over the past five years,” I told my wife.

In the back of my mind, I once again thought that this really could be the year when the markets take a nosedive.

However, as an aspiring personal finance writer whose mantra is to Always Pay Yourself First, what kind of advice-giver would I be if I ceased doing so because the market is down 10% or whatever?

Plus, I continue funding my own IRA in what I consider is the “easy way,” automatically investing $500 on the fifth and twentieth of the first seven months of the year no matter what the market is doing.

These spring months of 2022 are not the first time that I continued my investing strategy as the markets declined, and it most certainly will not be the last.

Whether you believe that the sky is falling, the end is near, and the markets are going to continue their nosedive for the foreseeable future, or you believe (like I do) that there are ups and downs every year and that things will rise once again at some point, I am here to urge anyone who happens across this story to stay the course.

As I told some colleagues and friends during April 0f 2020 when the markets plunged by thirty percent, remember what the wisest and most successful investor of all time said:

Be fearful when others are greedy and be greedy when others are fearful.

Unless you are currently supporting yourself via your investment portfolio or anticipate doing so within the next year or two, consider this something akin to shopping at a sale.

Like the thirty percent off coupons that my wife typically utilizes while shopping at Kohl’s, you can consider this a good time to shop for more of those investment items that you prefer.

Markets move in cycles. If you take a step back and consider the historical perspective on these things, you will find that the market experiences many ups and downs but, over time, typically rises more often than it falls.

I will not pretend to be happy about my hard-earned long-time investment portfolio decreasing in value by nearly seventy thousand dollars in little more than four months, but I truly believe that it will not be too long from now before we are reading and writing about new all-time highs.

I will link back to this story at that time for sure!

This article is for informational purposes only. It should not be considered Financial or Legal Advice. Not all information will be accurate. Consult a financial professional before making any major financial decisions.