Live Your Life And Execute Your Plan
A few years ago, a young man came up to me at a conference and said he was really concerned about the direction the world was headed. He cited overpopulation, climate change and pollution. He wondered what kind of world we are leaving for future generations. Then the young man said that he had decided not to go to college and not to have a family because he was sure the world no longer offered much of a future.
I still remember clearly what I told him. I said “Nobody knows the future. There will be terrible events, and there will be wonderful events. There will be inventions that make life worth living, and those that make us more miserable. But ultimately, you can’t let uncertainty about the future prevent you from leading the life you want to live. Go to college if you want to go to college. Start a family if you want to start a family. Live your life.”
I had a strong reaction to this young man’s comments because of a story someone had told me early in my career. The Club of Rome published The Limits to Growth in 1973. This report focused on resource depletion and suggested that economic expansion couldn’t continue indefinitely. The report painted a grim picture of the future of humanity, influencing the decisions of many people. Around 30 years after the report was published, an older person told me that The Limits to Growth had convinced him not to have children and bring them into a horrible world.
Roll with the changes…
I thought “How sad. An overly pessimistic outlook of the future caused this person to miss out on parenthood.” Admittedly, having children is not for everyone. But missing out because someone convinced you that the future would be grim just struck me as really sad. This experience greatly influenced how I responded to grim predictions. I would tell people to live their lives and deal with challenges as they arise.
What does this have to do with investing? The same philosophy applies.
I see a lot of downside risk in the current market, as I saw a lot of downside risk in the market earlier in the year. But do you know what? I am not sitting on the sidelines, waiting for an improved outlook. I executed my plan through the stock market crash of 1987, through the dot-com bubble of 1999-2001, through the Great Recession of 2008-2009, and through the March Madness of 2020. Every era has its winners and losers. With confidence and by doing your homework, you can pinpoint the winners.
During the great bull market of 2009-2019, every year I heard that the market was overextended and due for a correction. Those projections sent many people to the sidelines, but the correction never came. The market doubled from the lows of the recession, and then doubled again. If you kept investing in the market and didn’t let the pessimistic forecasts send you to the sidelines, you probably have a lot more money today than you would have had.
So live your life without being influenced by an overly pessimistic view of the future. Execute your investment plan without being paralyzed by the fear of dire projections. Yes, there will be ups and downs. You will have to make adjustments as you grow older and your objectives shift. But sitting on the sidelines due to fear is a prescription for failure.
Editor’s Note: Robert Rapier has just provided you with invaluable investment advice. But the above article only scratches the surface of the expertise on our team. Consider our colleague Dr. Stephen Leeb, chief investment strategist of The Complete Investor.
America faces what Dr. Leeb calls a “reset” of the economy that will revolutionize the way we work, save and invest. Advanced technologies are coming to the fore that will usher in a world that you’ll barely recognize. To not only survive but also thrive during this reset, you need to pick the right investments.
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