Become the Shark… or Be Its Prey
It’s time for a quarterly update on how badly people are doing saving for retirement. But I am shifting gears this quarter…
Rather than pointing out the shortcomings that we all know are part of our retirement situation, I’m going on the offensive and trying a different tactic… and having some fun while I’m at it.
Maybe you have seen the news stories about the increase in the number of great white sharks off Cape Cod. It seems an explosion in the seal population – the great white’s favorite meal – has been driving the number of big feeders and causing havoc on the beaches.
One small town on the Cape has closed its beaches 20 times for shark sightings since the beginning of July.
So what do sharks off some of our favorite beaches have to do with money? Good question!
The answer: Too few of us are sharks in the market. We’re the meal, and that has to change.
Too many of us are the seals and surfers of Cape Cod who the sharks on Wall Street have been feeding on forever. This has to change, and it starts here.
Change Your Strategy for Saving for Retirement
In a recent article in my Two-Minute Retirement Solution, I talked about how some of my bond readers are showing 20% and 30% gains in just over six months by looking for blood in the water and feeding on the unsuspecting. In short, they’re acting like sharks.
I know this sounds ominous (maybe carnivorous is a better word). But believe me, it’s a simple transition from seal food to shark, and that transition is one that has to be made.
I call it “waiting for the winners to come to us.” And getting there requires taking a step back, looking at our losing behaviors of the past and changing.
Now, I’m not kidding myself – I know how resistant to change most people are, especially at our age.
But it is our many years and the wisdom that we have earned that can be put to use to stem the incredible loss of blood the average investor is experiencing due to market volatility.
But to arrive at that point where you can walk away from the fear of losing money by buying high and selling low – which is the calling card of the average investor – and shift gears into becoming a coastal big feeder requires that you take a step back and look at who you really are.
We are the boomers whose earning years either have already ended or are approaching the visible horizon. Our time is running out.
Add our shrinking time horizon to the losses many are accumulating in the gut-wrenching ups and downs the stock market has delivered, and we’re in a real pickle.
Becoming a big feeder requires a complete change in our market thinking. We must accept that sell-offs, corrections and black swan events are the nature of the beast and are not the end of the world.
Once we make this adjustment in our thinking, we’ll view all sell-offs as an ocean full of seals, unsuspecting tourists and surfers.
We’ll pray for sell-offs because they are feeding and buying opportunities, not reasons to panic-sell. Let the swimmers panic.
We’ll wait for the person who has ignored all the warnings from the lifeguards and has ventured into the waters where we wait patiently.
The unsuspecting, inexperienced swimmer (investor) will be the victim – so that is who we can no longer be.
We must become the voracious, patient shark that shows no mercy. It must be a part of our being, or our losing behavior will go on indefinitely.
So the questions you must ask yourself are these: Am I tired of being some great white’s meal? Have I stuck my toe in the water too often just to have it bitten off?
The choice is clear. Change your approach to investing. Become a patient, voracious shark looking for blood in the water in the next round of volatility, or be a seal on Cape Cod.