Are You Suffering From Investor Fatigue?

  By Seth Jentner
Seth Jentner

Apparently, investors aren’t having fun anymore.

A recent survey found that the majority of investors say investing isn’t as fun as it was. Several years ago, more than two thirds of investors said they enjoyed investing.

Investor fatigue from recent volatile markets plus concerns about personal finances contribute to these bad feelings. People have become tired of the constant volatility. It appears that many just can’t seem to find strategies that they’re happy with.

It’s undeniable that markets have been volatile since the 2008 bear. Are investors missing the point?  Is investing supposed to be fun? Some of these investors are confusing investing with speculation. It can be fun to buy a hot stock and reap a quick, large profit, just as it is fun to hit a slot machine for a big payoff.

But that is not investing. It is short-term speculation, and, just as in Las Vegas, it is just as easy to lose money as it is to win it. Certainly, many speculators have lost money in recent years as they were whipsawed by up and down markets.

Investing, on the other hand, is a long-term process of continually adding to a portfolio and giving it adequate time to grow when markets move upward. It may take several years of both small and big losses before a portfolio even shows a profit.

But an investor who is patient, maintains diversified exposure to markets, and keeps adding to their portfolio usually comes out ahead. To quote Nobel-prize-winning economist Paul Samuelson, “Investing should be more like watching paint dry or watching grass grow. If you want excitement, take $800 and go to Las Vegas.”

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