A good habit lost

During our ski holiday at the end of 2015, a good habit started to form: ignore the markets. Now that we are back at home and I have been working 2 weeks, all of that is gone.I have this compelling need to see what is ongoing…

The way things were in the mountains was so much more relaxed. Apart rom getting the kids and myself ready for the morning lessons, there was no obligation. And especially no want or need to check what was ongoing on the markets. I did not seem to care. That was so great.

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During the day, and most of the evenings, I was focused on ski, the family, friends… Things that really matter. Only a few evening I checked out my play money and options. All went fine.

Then, back at home and work, I fell back in the old habit of seeing how The far east is going when waking up, checking the european oil stocks through the day, peeking when US opens and glancing at the close. Why? I have no idea. I can not impact the markets by watching, I can not alter it by placing an order or two.

Why would that be?

  • Stress free living in the hotel where there are no day-2-day hassles. Back at home, there are the chores and to do lists. For a reward, I check sometimes the market.
  • Easy access to the web at home. High out on the slopes while refreshing my ski skills, I had no easy access to the web to sneek peek at the markets. Besides that, the view of the mountains was far better than numbers that jump back and forth.
  • At home, I have more exposure to the news headlines: on the radio, in the news paper, as a quick break between 2 jobs. You see what is ongoing, and as a result you check out the markets.

The good thing is that looking a lot does not make be trade a lot. For my core portfolio, all activity is mechanical. For my play money, I have more freedom, but still manage to stay within my limits of risk I want to take on.

Do you have some tips on how to not check the markets?

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11 thoughts on “A good habit lost

  1. I think it is a problem many investors face. Although I tend to check the market numerous times a day, I feel happier when I don’t. I think this is due to a couple of factors: there’s always bad news somewhere, so everytime you’re faced with the risk. If markets go down, then you feel like “damn, I could have bought more shares for that amount now” so you feel bad about it.

    Many people would benefit if the price disappeared after they bought a stock for like, 10 years. Just check the companies results and think of a good price yourself. Due to the many short term investors, prices can fluctuate.

    My tip would be to look at your stocks like at your house. You plan to hold on your house for at least a couple of years or untill death even, I assume. You paid a price for your house a couple of years ago. Now, since the day you bought it, how many times have you called a real estate agent to ask for his bid price for your house?
    Same goes for stocks.

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    1. Looking at it as a house could help… I have no idea what our house is worth now.
      I general it works fine for my funds and trackers. With the last weeks downturn I was checking to see if I could already buy extra with my cash.
      These volatile markets might require a different mindset.

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  2. Taking a break from a daily routine, whether on vacation or just spending a day in the park, is always healthy for the mind. You tend to feel less stressed and as you stated, focus on what’s really important, spending time and focusing on family and friends. Like WDYR said, you don’t call a real estate agent every day to see how much your house went up or down in value. Same can be applied to stocks especially if you are a long term investor.

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  3. Its a problem all of us face, and I try hard not to watch all the time. Being in a job where I am in front of a computer all day – makes it that much more harder to not sneak a peak at the markets every now and then to find out whats going on. Its a habit that I have struggled to break – and usually tend to do better when I am focused on other tasks – either at or outside of work.

    R2R

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    1. Being behind a PC at work, working at a bank/broker makes it soo much harder for me… I try now to use it to celebrate an achievement – Finish this task, look at the market as reward.
      I do nothing after watching it… that makes it even more a bad habit.

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  4. I’m guilty of looking at the markets several times a day. For me, I know I won’t stop looking. So I try to not attach to what I see. Whether the markets are up or down in a single day, I don’t attach to it. I’m investing in companies that I want to hold for 10 to 50 years. Keeping that in mind helps me.

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      1. Not good, got hit hard by the flu this year. Hope to be able to start this weekend again, still a nasty cough that plays up when going outside or doing physical activity. Too bad, I’m already getting behind on schedule.

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  5. Yeah I also suffer from severe Fear of Missing Out (FOMO) in regards to the financial markets and the regular newsflow. The more companies end up in my portfolio the less closely I watch the individual components though, after a new buy I tend to watch it closely for a couple of weeks/months but most of my attention goes to the major market indexes, forex and commodities.

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