Let’s Play ‘Ignore It or Deal With It’ With Your Money

Welcome to the financial game show, "Ignore it or Deal with it," where you decide whether the money issues you are facing truly matter or not. The prize for successfully navigating these situations is reduced anxiety and better decision making. There is no consolation prize; the Creamettes got hung up due to supply chain issues.

Here goes:

Your diversified investments have dropped from their previous high. Ignore it. Don't ignore things like rebalancing, but markets go both up and down, so if you are invested correctly for an appropriate time horizon, then quit paying so much attention to daily price movements.

You are getting older and are trying to decide what to do with the cabin where you have created so many family memories. Deal with it. It may not matter if you want the cabin to stay in the family if your kids don't want it. And trust me, if the kids would not buy a cabin together they probably don't want to own one together. Call a family meeting and allow everyone to openly express what they want and then act on it.

Your neighbors are driving their new car to the airport where they are heading to their newly purchased vacation home. Ignore it. How someone else spends their money doesn't need to affect how you spend yours. Define your own values. Don't let money define them for you.

You are uncomfortable with how much money you have or don't have. Deal with it. Discomfort is not something to be ignored. Clients with money often have irrational fears of losing it. This prevents them from doing meaningful things — either creating experiences or making charitable decisions. On the other hand, when people with little money come into a windfall, they can fall victim to an illusion of wealth and end up frittering it away. Understand the whys of your money choices before you act, not after.

The headline says the market fell because of a new COVID-19 variant. Ignore it. The only meaningful headlines are those depicting a long-term impact on corporate earnings. When we are feeling anxious, we often want to do something, but making trades is not the answer. In fact, research from Barber and Odean has shown that women are generally better investors than men partly because they trade less frequently.

For a winning strategy, distinguish between the money issues that are important and those that don't matter.

Related: ‘The Great Substitution’ Applies to Your Investments, Too