Quarterly Client Letter – 2023 Q1
The “I’s” had it across the first quarter, as inflation and interest rates continued to dominate popular financial headlines. That is, at least, until the Silicon Valley Bank meltdown took over, followed by the government’s swift reaction to the same.
What should you make of the quarterly news? If you’d missed these events in real-time, you may not even have known they’d happened. At quarter-end, inflation continued to simmer on the back burner, as it has for some time. For the ninth time in a row, the Fed raised interest rates, most recently by a quarter point. Once again, many markets ended the quarter up, with big tech stocks leading the way. And to date, widespread bank runs have not materialized.
This suggests, as usual, your best bet is to lead with two different kinds of “I’s.”
A third “I” is our investment strategy, clearly focused on the market’s distant event horizon. A recent Vanguard Expert Perspective described how breaking news otherwise tempts us to react as if we’re being chased by a grizzly bear:
“[Y]our body and attention is 100% focused on the next second or maybe 30 seconds, but certainly not your plans for 10 years from now! Understanding that anxiety, fear, and pain shorten decision horizons not only increases the motivation to better curate your news feeds and turn off ‘junk news,’ but it also increases your awareness to hit pause when considering significant decisions.”
Put another way, across bear and bull markets alike, having a long-term investment outlook as our front-and-center guide better positions us to make thoughtful decisions amidst shifting news.
When should you buy, sell, or hold particular positions? When is it time to reduce your exposure to market risks, or increase your ability to seize hoped-for rewards? Why are you investing to begin with?
In large part, the answers are found in your fourth “I,” your individual goals.
Speaking of first-quarter news, for more than a half-century, Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffett has been dispensing words of wisdom each first quarter in his annual Shareholder Letter. Here’s a gem from his most recent release:
“The disposition of money unmasks humans.”
Isn’t that so true? How we choose to accumulate, invest, spend, and share our personal wealth says a lot about us.
What does your investment portfolio say about you? As long as it’s already structured and managed to mirror your goals, your values, and your personality, we suggest staying true to yourself and your investment plans. Buffett offers some fresh advice on that as well:
“The lesson for investors: The weeds wither away in significance as the flowers bloom. Over time, it takes just a few winners to work wonders.”
As always, please let us know if we can help you look past the distracting weeds of the daily fray. In the meantime, we wish you and yours a bountiful spring.
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