What I need during a scary market


If you’re worried about the stock market, find someone to give you a hug.
Let me explain. Humans are wired to want more of what gives us security and pleasure and to run away from things that cause us pain. This behavior has likely kept us alive as a species, but it creates havoc when we invest.

When the markets go down, and the financial networks start yelling that you should save yourself before you end up living under a bridge, it feels like a wild animal is chasing you. The only thing to do is run! Feeling scared is normal at that moment, and the last thing you need is a lecture on the history of long-term stock market returns. You don’t need facts and figures; you need a hug! You need someone to listen to you. You need empathy, kind murmurings, physical affection. An embrace.

After the hugging is over and everyone is feeling reasonable again, we can review the careful analytical work that went into designing your portfolio. We can revisit the goals and values we baked into that analysis. We can even consider the weighty evidence of history and talk about how the best thing we can do is stay invested. All of that is important.

But first, a big bear hug. Feel better now?