When you mow a lawn, or paint a wall, or run a race, every bit of effort moves you closer to the end. There is only progress. You see tangible, visible results: grass clippings pile up, or the paint covers more of the wall, or the finish line gets closer.
Long-term investing is different. On nearly half of all days, the broad market averages go backward. This has also happened over whole years, about one out of four historically.
When we paint a wall, there are no forces moving with us and wiping away one stroke of paint for every four we make!
So in this respect, investing is more like creative work. An artist who paints might have to add layers over their earlier work to create the effect they want. They might even use a palette knife to—yep—remove paint and clear a space for something different.
Maybe investing and creating both require a long view, guided by a vision of what might be. Both pursuits require the patience to work at it even when results come only in fits and starts. No guarantees in either arena, but we don’t know which ideas will pan out without the pursuit.
I’m no artist, but that sure is what investing feels like.
A lap with the mower provides its own immediate feedback. When we make an investment, the early results could be positive or negative, and it may feel like a coin toss. Only as the months and years roll by do we see the fruits of our work. Some backward movement, sure, but we expect to see progress across the process.
We cannot do this work for just anyone. It takes people who have perspective, the ability to take that long view, to have faith that we are on the right track even when temporary setbacks engulf us.
Fortunately, here at 228 Main we have the best clients in the world. We are grateful for you.
If you would like to talk about progress toward your goals (or anything else), please email us or call.
All investing includes risk including loss of principal.
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