Have you ever tried to see how long that you could hold your breath under water? When I was a kid, whether on family vacations in Picton, Ontario or at a friend’s pool, I would challenge others to see who could hold their breath the longest underwater. The first few seconds underwater you felt good, as if you could do this all day. However at half a minute it became a struggle and at about 45 seconds I could feel my head exploding. Those times that I was too far under water, panic would set in as I rushed to the surface, greatly relieved as I burst out of the water, gasping for sweet air.
With another recent high for the stock market, I feel like many of us are holding our breaths on the direction of the stock market and what it means for our financial goals, including retirement. When I hear '“If the stock market can continue like this for just a few more years, I will be okay”, I get the feeling that we are setting ourselves up for disappointment, especially by ceding control of our financial plans to the whims of the stock market for financial success. It feels like we are underwater, holding our breath the longest, hoping that when we pop out of the water for that sweet air, all will be okay. When you think about it, this cannot have a good ending. Who are we fooling but ourselves if we believe we will not struggle mightily with the next stock market downturn. Yes, there will be another downturn, we just don't know when.