Obsessing about money and investing

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Schlabba
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Obsessing about money and investing

Post by Schlabba » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:45 am

Hi fellow Bogleheads,

I make a decent amount of money and it seems like I will reach financial independence soon, but somehow I keep obsessing about all the what-if's. What if we are entering a decade of low returns, what if I don't find a new project (I work as a freelancer), what if the market tanks, and so on.

I check what the indices are doing probably once an hour when the markets are open. I have a quite elaborate excel sheet that estimates my wealth in a few years from now and I open it at least every other day. I check this forum (mostly the non-US section) multiple times a day. Yesterday I found out my government is raising taxes again and I immediately went to my excel sheet to update it.

The longest I went without checking what the market was doing was a week and that really took some discipline. It seems like back in the day before I invested I lived a carefree life in comparison. Before investing I actually though it would be the other way around: Why worry about anything if you have a lot?

I am not worried about making a wrong decision. I made some mistakes at the start of my investing career and I learned the lessons.
Does anyone of you also have this obsession or share these feelings? Is there any thought or trick you use to calm yourself? Or are you also checking the indices every day?
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theplayer11
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by theplayer11 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:52 am

I check too often myself. I'm 54 and plan on retiring in 3-4 years and realize it will be a little tight drawing 4% until SS kicks in. So naturally what the market will do in the short term is a concern for me.

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Brianmcg321
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by Brianmcg321 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:58 am

Well, I can guarantee you a few things.

There will be decades of low returns, but that's better than no return.
The market IS going to tank. I just don't know when, sorry.

You need to set your AA where you feel comfortable when those events happen. If you don't think you can handle the market tanking, you'll end up selling low when the market is bottoming out. Then you'll be to afraid to get back in.

If you're still working when the market tanks, you should be happy, as now everything is on sale!
Last edited by Brianmcg321 on Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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RobLyons
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by RobLyons » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:00 am

Have you thought about seeking professional help? Isn't part of the idea of this site, and the lazy portfolios, to minimize worries and to not have to check every hour on our investments?
Not being rude or offensive but your life seems to be overly consumed with worries about a subject you seem to have mastered, with all but guaranteed early retirement and success.

Personally, finances is my most important, non work and non family, past time. But for good reason. I'm 38, paying off debt, supporting a family of 4 on 1 income, while saving, investing, and paying off and improving the house. It's basically my 3rd job.

However, I don't check these things more than a few times a week. If there was anything in life causing me as much trouble/stress or became obsessive, I'd seek ways to resolve that. Good luck.
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mancich
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by mancich » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:02 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:00 am
Have you thought about seeking professional help? Isn't part of the idea of this site, and the lazy portfolios, to minimize worries and to not have to check every hour on our investments?
Not being rude or offensive but your life seems to be overly consumed with worries about a subject you seem to have mastered, with all but guaranteed early retirement and success.

Personally, finances is my most important, non work and non family, past time. But for good reason. I'm 38, paying off debt, supporting a family of 4 on 1 income, while saving, investing, and paying off and improving the house. It's basically my 3rd job.

However, I don't check these things more than a few times a week. If there was anything in life causing me as much trouble/stress or became obsessive, I'd seek ways to resolve that. Good luck.
+1.

RadAudit
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by RadAudit » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:08 am

Schlabba wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:45 am
I make a decent amount of money and it seems like I will reach financial independence soon, but somehow I keep obsessing about all the what-if's.
Unless you can figure out a way that obsessing over what-ifs you can't control will improve market returns, I'd point out that you are wasting a lot of time you'll never get back.
FI is the best revenge. LBYM. Invest the rest. Stay the course. - PS: The cavalry isn't coming, kids. You are on your own.

Rus In Urbe
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by Rus In Urbe » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:12 am

+2

Seek help. Try to grapple with what money actually means to you.

Money is a means to an end. Not the end itself.

Once you set up your finances, then pat yourself on the back.
Give yourself a reward.
Find some pleasure.

Or perhaps donate some of your time to help others----perhaps you need to get out of yourself a bit and be reminded what it's all about....

Cheers. :beer
Last edited by Rus In Urbe on Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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epictetus
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by epictetus » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:13 am

what is your AA?
how much are your yearly expenses?

sounds like your AA might be too heavy in stocks.

some options:
you might think about reducing your stock exposure.

you might think about putting X amount of money in something less volatile (bonds, cds, savings accounts, etc) and that might help reduce the stress.
if you knew you had 3,5, 7, 10, 20 years of expenses in something relatively safe that might help reduce your stress.

the idea is to set up an AA that you don't have to check frequently. and one you can stick with through thick and thin
Focus on what you can control

MikeG62
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by MikeG62 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:18 am

Schlabba wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:45 am
Hi fellow Bogleheads,

I make a decent amount of money and it seems like I will reach financial independence soon, but somehow I keep obsessing about all the what-if's. What if we are entering a decade of low returns, what if I don't find a new project (I work as a freelancer), what if the market tanks, and so on.

I check what the indices are doing probably once an hour when the markets are open. I have a quite elaborate excel sheet that estimates my wealth in a few years from now and I open it at least every other day. I check this forum (mostly the non-US section) multiple times a day. Yesterday I found out my government is raising taxes again and I immediately went to my excel sheet to update it.

The longest I went without checking what the market was doing was a week and that really took some discipline. It seems like back in the day before I invested I lived a carefree life in comparison. Before investing I actually though it would be the other way around: Why worry about anything if you have a lot?

I am not worried about making a wrong decision. I made some mistakes at the start of my investing career and I learned the lessons.
Does anyone of you also have this obsession or share these feelings? Is there any thought or trick you use to calm yourself? Or are you also checking the indices every day?
What is your asset allocation?

Wondering if you have too much in equities. You do need to choose an asset allocation that allows you to sleep at night (or sleep better anyway).

Jack Bogle used to say that checking your financial accounts once a year was more than enough. Yeah, well even I don't do that - don't know of many who who follow that advice (although it is good advice). I will tend to check more often when the market is hitting new highs. I almost never check on bad days or after a run of bad days. That's just me.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience

clip651
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by clip651 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:27 am

See OP's signature line, it seems to show their current AA.

Note that OP is not in the USA.

Topic Author
Schlabba
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by Schlabba » Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:40 am

I don't think its an AA problem. I would still think about investing a lot even with more bonds.
RadAudit wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:08 am
Schlabba wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:45 am
I make a decent amount of money and it seems like I will reach financial independence soon, but somehow I keep obsessing about all the what-if's.
Unless you can figure out a way that obsessing over what-ifs you can't control will improve market returns, I'd point out that you are wasting a lot of time you'll never get back.
Exactly, I feel like I am wasting my time overthinking this. On the other hand its like I cannot help it.
Rus In Urbe wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:12 am
Seek help. Try to grapple with what money actually means to you.
I'll think about this.
IWDA: MSCI World | EMIM: MSCI Emerging Markets | AGGH: Global Aggregate Bond Hedged to €

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ChowYunPhat
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by ChowYunPhat » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:02 am

I check financial accounts through Personal Capital once per day. This is good information and helps prevent fraud on credit cards as well as banking accounts. All told, I probably spend 8-10 hours per month on our family finances which includes some bill paying and monitoring. Is that too much? I couldn't tell you.

However, I identify with the following post from RobLyons earlier in the thread. This is an important role in any family. Not sure about checking market indices every hour? Schlabba, can you share more about what you have invested and what types of securities? This might shed more light on some of the anxiety you feel.
RobLyons wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:00 am
Personally, finances is my most important, non work and non family, past time. But for good reason. I'm 38, paying off debt, supporting a family of 4 on 1 income, while saving, investing, and paying off and improving the house. It's basically my 3rd job.
A wise man and his money are friends forever...

livesoft
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by livesoft » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:08 am

I don't think it matters that one checks often. How long does it take? Maybe 2 seconds or less? People are looking at their phones all the time, so I don't know if they are looking at snapchat, instagram, e-mail, or stock market indices. I don't care. There are only so many seconds in a day, so they gotta be filled with something ... even daydreaming.

How to get over it? That's not hard: When you exceed the goal for your portfolio by a factor of 2 or so, then I think you will stop worrying. Or maybe when your portfolio becomes so large that you know a crash will still leave you with more assets than you really need. That works, too.

It reads like you will get there soon.
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MikeG62
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by MikeG62 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:08 am

clip651 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:27 am
See OP's signature line, it seems to show their current AA.

Note that OP is not in the USA.
Thanks, missed that. Well at 80% equities (especially with likely a heavy concentration in Europe) in this market, I can understand why the OP is nervous.
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by abuss368 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:12 am

Brianmcg321 wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:58 am
Well, I can guarantee you a few things.

There will be decades of low returns, but that's better than no return.
The market IS going to tank. I just don't know when, sorry.

You need to set your AA where you feel comfortable when those events happen. If you don't think you can handle the market tanking, you'll end up selling low when the market is bottoming out. Then you'll be to afraid to get back in.

If you're still working when the market tanks, you should be happy, as now everything is on sale!
Very well said.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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Sandtrap
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by Sandtrap » Sat Sep 07, 2019 8:30 am

Schlabba wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 6:45 am
Hi fellow Bogleheads,

I make a decent amount of money and it seems like I will reach financial independence soon, but somehow I keep obsessing about all the what-if's. What if we are entering a decade of low returns, what if I don't find a new project (I work as a freelancer), what if the market tanks, and so on.

I check what the indices are doing probably once an hour when the markets are open. I have a quite elaborate excel sheet that estimates my wealth in a few years from now and I open it at least every other day. I check this forum (mostly the non-US section) multiple times a day. Yesterday I found out my government is raising taxes again and I immediately went to my excel sheet to update it.

The longest I went without checking what the market was doing was a week and that really took some discipline. It seems like back in the day before I invested I lived a carefree life in comparison. Before investing I actually though it would be the other way around: Why worry about anything if you have a lot?

I am not worried about making a wrong decision. I made some mistakes at the start of my investing career and I learned the lessons.
Does anyone of you also have this obsession or share these feelings? Is there any thought or trick you use to calm yourself? Or are you also checking the indices every day?
Solutions and Considerations:

1. What if you don't have enough money? . . . then earn more and save more.
2. My Excel Sheet shows I'm on the road to "having enough", maybe. . . . then you don't really have enough.
3. My income stream is not reliable. . . . then diversify that income stream. . and/or seek a more reliable income stream.
4. The government is always raising taxes, maybe in the future a wealth tax, higher income taxes, death taxes, etc.
. . . . . . see #1-4
5. I keep checking the market hoping that it will be on the rise as quickly as it has in the past, but it is not doing that. . so I worry?
. . . . see #1-4
6. I used to live a carefree life but now I'm focused on my future financial security and it does not feel carefree. . . . . because the prior carefree life was not reality aware, now there's the stress of a reality check of real life needs and concerns. . . . it feels like growing pains because it is.. . . . at all stages of life. Thus, . . . see #1-4

Possible actionable solutions:
1. Keep checking the markets and your portfolio.
But
2. Focus on being aggressive and proactive vs defensive (see above #1-4)
3. Adjust your allocation so that you will not panic if the market falls and your equities drop 50%.
4. Get to work on an IPS with this new awareness of behavioral tendencies in mind.
5. Get to work, a little every day, on #1-4. Make that your primary focus.
6. Consider relocating?

A lot of folks worry a bit and monitor thier assets, some by the hour all day long. The difference is what is being done about it to change the results.
What is an obsession or acute interest to some is healthy or unhealthy to others. Everyone is different.

j :happy
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tealeaves
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by tealeaves » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:35 am

I would not be so hard on yourself and not obsess over "obsessing." There are actually many things far worse that you could do with that time.

BogleBoogie
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by BogleBoogie » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:41 am

RobLyons wrote:
Sat Sep 07, 2019 7:00 am
Have you thought about seeking professional help? Isn't part of the idea of this site, and the lazy portfolios, to minimize worries and to not have to check every hour on our investments?
Not being rude or offensive but your life seems to be overly consumed with worries about a subject you seem to have mastered, with all but guaranteed early retirement and success.

Personally, finances is my most important, non work and non family, past time. But for good reason. I'm 38, paying off debt, supporting a family of 4 on 1 income, while saving, investing, and paying off and improving the house. It's basically my 3rd job.

However, I don't check these things more than a few times a week. If there was anything in life causing me as much trouble/stress or became obsessive, I'd seek ways to resolve that. Good luck.
I agree. What you are doing is abnormal and not healthy for your mental wellbeing. I'm not a doctor, but the first thought that comes to mind is some type of anxiety that is being focused on finances. There are a number of technical questions being asked of you (example: what is your AA?) but I believe your issue would still remain even if your net worth was doubled, or your AA is very conservative, etc. My first stop would be a primary physician and describe your actions and fears/concerns that are becoming very time consuming. Best of luck.

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Kenkat
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by Kenkat » Sat Sep 07, 2019 9:57 am

Control that which is in your control and release yourself from worrying about that which you cannot control.

You can control how much you save. You can control when you retire. You cannot control what the market will do today, tomorrow, next week, next year, etc.

I check my portfolio value daily. If it goes up the prior day, I think, oh, that’s interesting. If it goes down the prior day, I think, oh, that’s interesting. I check my portfolio against my longer term goals once a year. I’ve been doing this for over 20 years. I’m a little behind overall but not seriously so (2018 set me back a bit) and again, I can’t control the 2018’s or 2008’s beyond saving more, working a little longer, etc. So that’s what I will do - there are so many other variables that come into play long term that plans only take you so far. Your life in 20 years will likely be at least somewhat if not very different from what you think it will be now.

lostdog
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by lostdog » Sat Sep 07, 2019 10:57 am

Just as long as it's not creating anxiety, affecting your health and you're not messing with your plan. Look at it as a hobby that you can't control. The only thing you can control is your savings rate.

Have some fun with your family. You're doing well.
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steveyg50
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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by steveyg50 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 1:16 pm

Do you check the front door 3 times before going to bed? Check taps, lights, cooker? Have to touch each knob of cooker in a sequence etc etc?

Any other obsessive behaviour?

Maybe you have a touch of OCD and it's focusing itself on this investment issue?

I am doing all the above weird rituals before I can get to bed. I seem to be developing OCD. Also started obsessing about finances and making lists etc etc. Not quite as bad as you yet.

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Re: Obsessing about money and investing

Post by abuss368 » Sat Sep 07, 2019 2:27 pm

I enjoy reading The Wall Street Journal, watching American Greed and other financial movies and shows. How does this impact our portfolio strategy? None at all.

We can not control investment results. We can make them worse by always acting and trading by paying fees, losses, and taxes.

Focus on what you can control: low fees, diversification, keeping taxes low, and looking for ways to increase savings and investing.
John C. Bogle - Two Fund Portfolio: Total Stock & Total Bond. "Simplicity is the master key to financial success."

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