The Marathon of Investing: Diversification, Patience, and Consistency

Marissa Poissant, CFP® June 17th, 2024

I dedicate a lot of my free time to distance running. One of my favorite authors, Brad Stulberg, has a quote about running that also translates to investing. He says, “Any path towards progress includes peaks, valleys, and plateaus. If you are in it mainly for the excitement of outcomes, you won’t last long. You need to be dedicated to the process. The secret is there is no secret. Dedication to the process emerges from relentless consistency [and]…staying patient.”

Regardless of how the markets may perform, consider incorporating the following principles into your investment philosophy.

Diversification

The saying “don’t put all your eggs in one basket” has some application to investing. Over time, certain asset classes may perform better than others. If your assets are mostly held in one kind of investment, you could find yourself under a bit of pressure if that asset class experiences some volatility. Just like runners vary their workouts with easy days, hard days, and cross training.

Asset allocation strategies are also used in portfolio management. When financial professionals ask you questions about your goals, time horizon, and tolerance for risk, they are getting a better idea about what asset classes may be appropriate for your situation.

It’s important to keep in mind that diversification and asset allocation are approaches that can help manage investment risk, but they do not eliminate the risk of loss if an investment experiences a decline in price.

Patience

Impatient investors can get too focused on the day-to-day minutiae of the financial markets. They tend to look for short-term opportunities rather than long-term potential.

A patient investor understands that markets fluctuate and has built a portfolio based on their personal time horizon, risk tolerance, and goals. A short-term focus may add stress and anxiety to your life and could lead to increased frustration with the investing process.

Consistency

Most people invest a little at a time, within their budget, and with regularity. They invest 5%, 10%, or more per month into their retirement accounts or similar investments to help themselves attempt to build wealth over time. These individuals are effectively investing on autopilot — they are not trying to “time the market.”

Consistent investing, sometimes referred to as “dollar-cost averaging,” is the process of investing a fixed amount of money into an investment vehicle at regular intervals for an extended period of time, regardless of price. This approach does not protect against a loss in a declining market or guarantee a profit in a rising market, but still enables the average investor to contribute towards their future financial goals.

However, investors should evaluate their financial ability to continue making purchases through periods of declining and rising prices. The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change and shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost.

If you are concerned your financial strategy won’t get your through the long-run, let’s talk.

Read More By Marissa Poissant, CFP®

The content is developed from sources believed to be providing accurate information. The information in this material is not intended as tax or legal advice. Please consult legal or tax professionals for specific information regarding your individual situation. The opinions expressed and material provided are for general information and should not be considered a solicitation for the purchase or sale of any security. Investment advisory services are offered through Concord Wealth Partners, an SEC Registered Investment Advisor.

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