I can’t speak for Austin or Mark, but I would answer those specific questions with no, no, no, and, you guessed it, no. I honestly don’t worry about the market.
To be sure, you don’t have to look far to find something that seems worthy of our worry. But the thing is, there’s always something to worry about—always has been, always will be.
Just take a look at the Wall of Worry chart put together by Bason Asset Management.
Clearly, there has been plenty to worry about over the past five years—while the market has moved ever higher. And there has been plenty to worry about for a lot longer than that. Each decade is marked by a distinct danger, or two or three—wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, inflation, and more.
Of course, the market doesn’t wear blinders and it doesn’t always go up. There are brutal downturns, periods of stagnant returns, and along the way plenty of crazy, confusing, contradictory financial headlines that make you wonder whether this time really is different. Still, I don’t worry.
I don’t worry because I’m an investor, not a trader.
I don’t worry because I don’t expect a smooth ride all the time.
I don’t worry because I still find comfort in (and even practice!) timeless investment principles that so many people seem intent on casting aside—you know, those quaint, outdated principles such as diversification.
I don’t worry because, at the risk of sounding highly biased, I happen to believe in the overall investment approach and specific investment strategies taught by the company I uprooted my family to join. I’m especially fond of the combined strategy approach introduced in the May 2014 cover article.
That’s not to say I enjoy a financially worry-free life. When it comes to my family’s well-being, I have what could be described as either an overactive worry gene or a heightened sense of responsibility. With three kids in elementary school, I do worry about what would happen to them if I were called home earlier than I’d prefer.
But I’ve also taken steps that have lessened those worries. We have adequate life insurance protection that will be in force until our youngest is in her mid 20s. Going through the Set Your House In Order study from Compass—Finances God’s Way earlier this year helped tremendously. It also helps that I’m blessed with a wife of great faith and many talents who I know would be able to make her way just fine without me.
The question at the beginning of this article was really about the market. Honestly, I don’t worry about it. I watch it, study it, think about it, and write about it—some of which I sometimes think of as job hazards!
But I have no worries or fears about it.
Instead, I ploddingly follow the counsel that we give here at Sound Mind Investing. And most importantly, I keep my faith firmly rooted in God, who promises to provide for those who put Him first in their lives.
How would you answer the question at the top of this article? What’s your greatest market fear?
“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes?
Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they?
Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life? And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.
If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith?
So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.
Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.” – Matthew 6:25-34