Then she asked a simple question…

There it was, this morning, right in the middle of extreme volatility markets and a lot of doom stories in the press. “Why are you still invested in the stock market?” It had to happen once.busycityMy wife had heard on the news that all profit since early 2014 has been wiped out and that there is a lot worse to come. Thank you media!

For a few seconds, I was knocked out, but I recovered fast. I took a deep breath and explained to here my approach and thoughts.

I started by acknowledging that indeed it are rough times on the market and that the prices are lower than a few months ago. I also admitted that we have a paper loss. And it should not be a problem for us in the long run.

Then, I used my layered approach as a guideline to explain to my wife where we are investing wise. Here are the core elements

Emergency fund and mid term cash

I reminded her the agreed  amount of cash for our emergency fund and mid term saving. It covers between 10 and 11 months of living expenses we have. If I would add to that the cash part of our portfolio, we are above 1 year. Is it enough? What is enough? 100 years is probably enough.

The”sleep well” investments

I briefly reminded her what these were and how they actually play the role as a foundation under our investments. At this time, I had the feeling she started to be reassured

Our invested portfolio

This was a more challenging story to tell. As I read a lot of blogs and books on the topics, I managed to demonstrate to here 2 things

1- While in build up phase, it is actually a good thing to have corrections as we can buy stock at a lower price. In the long run, you buy the assets at an average price. The long term trend of the markets is up.

2- Another way to look at the stock market is the dividend you get. Dividend Artistocrats will do their best to pay you each year. When we come closer to our FIRE date, this is where I propose to take our portfolio.


With this story, I managed to reassure my wife that I am not risking our full assets and that I not jeopardize our future. We  discuss  occasionally our investment portfolio and the approach that I use. This clearly helps in cases like this when there is some doubt.

To me, the key to have a good financial marriage are

  • Make sure you have a financial life  plan that makes sense for both. We have such a high level plan. Not only with the financial aspects as mentioned above, but also with some life goals and values as a guidance for the finance part

For me it was actually quite fun to answer the question. It also reassured myself on our approach. Of course, the real proof is in eating the pudding. Let’s see what 2029 brings us. I am hopeful.

What answer would you give? Do you see arguments that do not make sense? Did you get the question lately?




18 thoughts on “Then she asked a simple question…

  1. Hello AT,
    Actually, it’s really good that you have the pros and cons in your head and are able to clearly explain your strategy and the associated risk and opportunities (the latter being the most important obviously). It’s very good to have these discussions in a household, such that your goals are aligned and you have an open dialogue about finances. Seems to be one of the most critical things for a marriage!

    Funny you mention the topic, my mother-in-law knows about our ideas, but doesn’t really get it. So she was wondering how our investments were doing, expecting an answer that we lost a lot of money and were in panic mode. But the answer she got that we were on a buying spree completely caught her off guard, priceless moment 😉
    How’s the running going? Did my second run last night, 3.9km at 5:40min/km. The muscle confusion and good diet are paying off amazingly at the moment. Not even muscle ache or tired legs today. Love it!


    1. Good that you also had an answer ready for the mother-in-law.

      My running is ok. I run about 6km at a pace of 5:55min/km. Distance wise I am ahead of schedule. Pace wise I can improve a lot.
      With the office, we actually might enroll for the Brussels 20km run end of May. I am training now mainly to get the distance.


      1. Good for you! Hardly recommend doing some cross training/Insanity/Plyometric type exercises, will quickly improve your pace. I’m not going to try the 20 km, not that much of an endurance type of person.


        1. For me, running the 20km is not my go to thing. I prefer a 1hour endurance as it is easy to do in the evening. The 20km would be nice to run in the year I get 40, and a lot of people at work will participate… I thought: why not!


  2. I think the answer you gave is very complete and sufficient. Whenever my parents are anxious about the stock market and my investments, they’re like “stocks are performing very badly!” My answer is rather short: “You have to buy when there’s blood on the streets”. I know headwind of the family isn’t supportive, but just stick to your plan.

    Market sentiment does not change the fundamentals of your companies. I buy and hold, no questions asked.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think it’s good to ask these kinds of questions, and to constantly re-assess both your goals and how you are going about achieving them. But your reasoning in answering the question is also very sound. Of course the markets will always fluctuate, and buying some shares at a discount is a good thing.


  4. The long term view definitely helps. Having points to back up your view will help you the calm down your wife. Great stuff.


  5. Excellent post…very true that being on the same page financially, and in all aspects for that matter, is key to a healthy marriage. While I am the math nerd who enjoys handling financial things, my wife and I are in sync with our short and long term goals. With money being the primary source of stress in most relationships, it is great to not be part of the statistic 🙂

    I just stumbled on you page and have started following you…very nice to meet you. Looking forward to reading more and learning from your viewpoints. Have an awesome day!


  6. A Warren Buffett quote is very apt here. ‘Be Fearful When Others Are Greedy and Greedy When Others Are Fearful’. If you could buy burgers from the supermarket 33% off or even half price, or you could buy the same burgers at full price which would you choose? Yet apply that logic to shares and people fun scared of the same companies.

    Shares supposedly return an average of 10% a year, but compare that to the ACTUAL returns each year, the returns have been much higher or lower than 10%. Now is the time to buy more not less. If it turns into another 2008/1930s crash, think of all the hundreds/thousands of companies that survived through those 2 periods and how much money they generated for people who were brave. It’s about picking the right companies (or in the case of index/managed funds, the right price/time) to maximize your return. Even if you don’t pick the best time, the 10% average a year should still apply.



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