Today, Wednesday, October 18th, is day number 450.
If you were stranded on an island or locked in a dungeon, imagine tallying the days as they go by. One singular vertical line every day the sun comes up. One slash every fifth day.
Knowing in advance that there was a chance you would encounter the very setbacks that resulted in your current circumstances, you smartly arranged in advance for a search crew to find you after activating your rescue button.
While they may not be the most timely or predictable search crew you could have hired, their online reviews indicated that they have a history of consistently showing up somewhere between 350 days and 2,000 days after they receive your call for help. And 95% of their customers have survived until rescue.
Those are really good odds. Now all you have to do is wait. One tally at a time.
As day 350 approaches your spirits begin to rise. The earliest date for reasonably expecting your rescue is approaching. You completely lose sight that it could potentially be 2,000 days and focus solely on the hope and excitement of Day 350.
Day 350 comes and goes as just another tally mark, but you know you are now in the window of time for rescue. This knowledge keeps you optimistic. Your expectations are high.
Another 100 tallies later and you arrive at today. Day 450.
At this point, perhaps your enthusiasm is waning. You are starting to question your rescue crew’s 95% success rate. You may even start to believe the online reviews may not have been by real customers.
Yet, you knew from the very moment you pushed your rescue button that it could possibly take 2,000 days before your fortune turns for the better. For some strange reason, waiting another 1,550 feels a lot longer at Day 450 than the prospect of waiting 2,000 days felt on day 1.
450 trading days ago, the S&P 500 Index reached a record high on January 2, 2022. For the past 450 trading days, traders have been searching for a way to take us back to those lofty heights to no avail.
My sense is that some people are starting to get tired of the wait. Some people are growing anxious about not knowing the timing of the next record high. The daily market gyrations are slowly grinding their long-term resolve into short-term frustration one tally mark at a time.
That is not unusual. It is human nature. It can also harm your financial well-being if you let it.
Every tally mark is simply one day closer to an eventual new record high for the stock market. Keep your chin up, maintain your long-term optimism, and know we planned for these temporarily challenging times from the very beginning of your financial plan.
Quote of the week: Dutch proverb: “In prosperity, caution; in adversity, patience.”