By Melanie Hasty-Grant
TO HELL IN A HAND BASKET
The Stock Market has suffered twenty-four major downturns of greater than 3% since 2004. In 2008, it dropped by more than 50% in the worst recession the United States has ever experienced since the Great Depression. All the while, many Americans watched while their retirement savings disappeared before their very eyes. Not only has there been an emotional toll from the breach of confidence in the system but also major breaches of trust with several big banks collapsing, financial and corporate bail outs, and corruption of government.
All together this has caused a crisis of confidence manifesting itself in what I call Post Traumatic Market Disorder.
This (fictional but accurate) PTMD diagnosis is a specific anxiety disorder affecting individuals who have experienced profound stress and emotional trauma caused by the volatility in the markets. It is characterized by an overall mistrust of the markets and anyone involved with them, recurrent flashbacks, anxiety, fear, paralysis, and anger. To aggravate this disorder, we can also add the pending Presidential election….which emphasizes the negativity, divisiveness, and sets an overall cynical and pessimistic tone.
Hear me! If the world is going to hell in a hand basket…then my advice is to sell hand baskets! The key to being successful in investing is to find the opportunity, not the problem.
We are STILL America! We are still the most creative, innovative, productive country in the world. Millions of businesses all over our great country are still alive and kicking, making money, and paying salaries. We have had some tough years. Things have happened that aren’t right or fair. We have had some bad eggs in the mix. We are still the land of opportunity.
Opportunities come with set backs and disappointments. They do not present themselves on silver platters. We have to be creative, hardworking, and persevere. Necessity IS the Mother of Invention! Dealing with problems and challenges encourages creative efforts to meet the need and resolve it. The greatest American inventions (from light bulbs, to penicillin, to microwave ovens, to computers, cell phones, GPS, the internet, and facebook) have come from focusing on opportunities and finding solutions to problems and NEVER giving up!
One thing I know for sure, if you choose to focus on the negative, dwell on the problems, entrench yourself amongst the obstacles, then my friends you will stay stuck! You will stay miserable. And if you don’t watch it, you will be broke to boot. You have to focus on what’s in front of you, not what’s behind you. You must be committed to finding solutions and alternatives, not dwelling on the past.
If you focus on the pickle you’re in, you will continue to be in the pickle you’re in. If you focus on the wall you’re about to hit, that is certainly where you will end up. Focus on where you want to go and steer in that direction.
Here are some steps to get un-stuck:
- Decide WHAT you want. (Be specific!)
- Decide WHY you want it. (The emotion behind why you want what you want)
- Make a plan of action and take steps toward it every day. When it comes to financial goals, don’t be afraid to pay for help. It could be your best investment.
- Stay focused. When trouble and fear arise (and they will), stay focused on where you want to go and steer that way. Do not focus on the fear. Remember, the past doesn’t define you, it prepares you!
Who you trust matters. For more information go to www.waterstonewealth.com or call 918-272-1120.
Melanie Hasty-Grant, Experienced Licensed Professional Counselor and Managing Principal at Waterstone Private Wealth Management.
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