Managing your emotions is essential to making sound investing and financial planning decisions. Political shifts are an unavoidable part of the long-term investment process. There are powerful, healthy, mindful actions you can take during periods of high emotions, but changing a well-structured investment strategy typically isn’t one of them. Here are five things you can do to take some action, maintain your focus and stay on course.
1. Turn It Off
If you’re tempted to make immediate or even drastic investing decisions, take a break. Turn off the TV. Put down your phone. Get outside and take a hike (that’s what I’m doing when I’m done writing this). Maybe even meditate. Reacting to your emotions has been shown to significantly hurt investment performance over time.
2. Revisit Your Goals
Take a look at your list of objectives and consider what, if anything, has changed. Do you need to add anything? Have you achieved any milestones that can be put on your list of accomplishments? Consider what’s truly important to you and ensure it’s memorialized as a concise list of goals for you to focus on and revisit periodically.
3. Review Your Spending
Consider if your spending is aligned with what you say your priorities are. If not, create a list of action items and a plan to make positive changes. The better we align our spending with a concise list of goals, the simpler our financial life becomes and the faster we can reach them.
4. Revisit Your Financial Plan
Revisit your financial plan and items to accomplish in the coming quarters. If you don’t have a financial plan, consider working with a fiduciary advisor to create one.
5. Stay the Course
Acting impulsively on the noise, even events as seemingly monumental as a presidential election is not the best path forward.
This may seem simple, but it’s not easy. Even the most seasoned investment professionals can fall prey to acting impulsively, and from a place of emotion instead of research. Please don't.