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When investing is boring

An image of two hands tattooed with the words Hold Fast as a reminder to stick with it when investing is boring

The trouble with bull markets is making money can seem too much like fun. Meanwhile plunges in a bear market at least get the pulse racing. But investing is boring when markets do nothing, month after month.

Welcome to the investing doldrums.

There’s a section in the Russell Crowe nautical adventure Master and Commander which finds Captain Crowe, ship, and crew literally going nowhere.

Listless on the ocean, day after day, the drama of a sailboat clipping across the seas has been forgotten. A storm would be a relief. Fatalism descends. Dying of thirst on a floating island in the middle of nowhere is not what anyone signed up for (or was press ganged into.)

If the ship doesn’t get going again, they will all go mad or cannibalistic.

Wait, was that a breath of wind? No, just another sighing sailor.

Eventually one of the younger officers is branded a ‘Jonah’ by his superstitious shipmates. The unlucky fellow is harried into jumping overboard, clutching a cannonball.

Grim, but just like that the sails bloom and the ship gets going.

Correlation is not causation? Tell that to a parched seaman when the wind is at his back again.

There be dragons

Of course we’ve all read – or even written – about how good investing should be boring. Get your excitement from your PlayStation or a skiing holiday.

Right, right.

Except you’re reading a blog all about investing. I think it’s fair to say we’re all a little bit more… invested about investing here.

Also, as enlightened 21st Century folk conversant with behaviourial economics, incentives, and ‘nudge theory’, we know the most important thing is to avoid the inner urge to throw anything – or anyone – overboard, just to relieve the tedium.

But just because we know what we should do – stick to our best plan until the breeze picks up again – that doesn’t mean we will.

Some of you are still shrugging. So much, so obvious.

Good for you! Read on for reinforcement, or head out with the other swots for an early break.

However my emails, comments on Monevator, and our Google Analytics dashboard tells me people are getting a bit fed up.

Newer investors ask if it’s fatal they missed the gains from the low interest rate era. Older hands wonder if an unpleasant sequence of returns is derailing their early retirement schedule.

Savings accounts look juicy. And cash doesn’t put the willies up you by lurching into the red. Should we prefer that to all this investing malarkey?

Or what about Bitcoin? The crypto-cockroach is up 75% since New Year’s Eve.

That’s more like it! Maybe this index tracking thing has finally run out of road?

Bonds? Don’t talk to me about bonds. Sixty-farty portfolio more like.

Batten down the hatches

I understand the discontentment. Depending on what you invest in and how, your portfolio may have gone nowhere – or worse, down – for a year or more.

Not much in the grand scheme of things. But also not nothing in a 30-year investing window.

My own portfolio got within a couple of a percent of its (short-lived) all-time high as far back as March 2021. More than two years ago. Despite a bounce in the past six months, I can well imagine looking back at returns that tread water for four or five years from that giddy 2021 spring.

I don’t expect it, but it’s possible. Especially given the regime change to higher rates and inflation.

So don’t be dismayed by macho commentators saying they’re not bothered. Their stance is 100% correct – but there’s no need to be pig-headed about it.

Nobody gets into investing without wanting to make money. It’s better to admit that it sucks when investing is boring or worse. Feel the frustration. Then take counter-measures that keep you going, rather than chucking in the towel.

No doubt we all have a famous investor, money blogger, or economic pundit who we’d have walk the (metaphorical) plank to get our portfolios advancing.

But enough about Nouriel Roubini. What are some practical approaches you can take when you’re mired in a similar going-nowhere market?

Let’s consider a few things that might help, depending on whether you’re a passive investor or a naughty active sort. Followed by some general pointers for all of us.

Passive investing isn’t meant to be exciting…

…but it can be even more challenging when it’s dull as dishwater.

If you have a simple portfolio – a LifeStrategy fund, say, or a two-fund equity/bond split – then checking in when markets are drifting for years can make you feel like a hamster on a wheel.

You’re working hard. You’re stashing away your savings. You see very little to show for it.

You can’t force the market higher. But here are some things you could do.

Look at long-term charts. Remind yourself indices can remain underwater for years. A long trough is not unusual. Doing this won’t help your lousy returns, but you’ll take them less personally.

Count your blessings units. Your portfolio value might be frozen in amber, but is there a more positive metric you could track? Maybe how many units you’ve bought of your tracker funds or how many shares you’ve racked up of your favourite ETF? Or even just the total amount you’ve saved to-date. It is all laying the groundwork for gains when prices surge again.

Remember you’re invested in companies. Now and then I edit my co-blogger The Accumulator’s copy because his talking about ‘Value’ doing better than ‘Small Cap’ gets too much for me. I understand why we talk about baskets of shares this way. But as an old-school stockpicker I think of my investments as companies first, even when in a fund. Why is this relevant? Well, you may struggle to see why an index should rise again. But you might find it easier to imagine that entrepreneurs will keep striving, scientists innovating, and economies growing. These1 are the reasons why markets go up over time. It’s not just numbers.

Recall the worst is probably past for bonds. I will repeat myself on bonds. Yes they had a terrible 2022. If you owned them then you’d probably rather you didn’t. But that is water under the bridge. The fall in bonds last year set the stage for higher returns going forward – or at least made more deeply negative periods less likely. Bonds should help your overall portfolio return from here.

Don’t forget about income. Talking of bonds, they now sport higher yields. Dividend yields are up too. The mainstream indices may go nowhere, but income will trickle in. Reinvest it. The FTSE 100 index was all-but-flat over an interminable 20 years from 1999. But with dividends you still more than doubled your money. Not amazing, but far better than nothing.

Consider complicating your portfolio. A last – heretical – idea. Most people will do best with an all-in-one fund precisely because such funds hide how the sausage is made. The investor won’t know what is doing well – or badly. So they won’t take wealth-damaging actions in response. However it’s possible you’re somebody who would actually do better seeing a circuit board rather than a black box. An advantage of our Slow & Steady model portfolio is we can monitor the workings. It’s not lifeless inside, even when on the surface nothing is happening. Maybe you could break out some of your equity allocation to a value and/or momentum ETF? Or follow an even more explicitly diversified approach? Or set aside 10% as a speculative sub-portfolio? Doing so may reduce your returns. But if it keeps you interested in investing, it could be a price worth paying.

Active investors can always do something

I stopped prevaricating with a foot in both camps and became a fully active investor early in the 2007-2009 financial crisis. I discovered ‘doing something’ best-suited my personality. It also gelled with my deep interest in economies, innovation, and the markets.

However the greatest strength of active investing is its biggest weakness. In theory you can trade your way around the worst and own the superior stocks in any market. But in practice most fail to do so. They make matters worse.

For instance last year has been dubbed an annus horriblis for UK fund managers. After moaning about ‘dumb’ money pushing prices higher in the long bull market, a majority of active funds failed to beat their index-tracking equivalents when the music stopped in 2022.

So most people will make things worse by stock picking or market timing. But we’re different, right? Or you’re having more fun investing actively. Fair enough, as long as your eyes are open.

Look below the surface. Indices don’t matter nearly as much when you invest actively. There’s always lots of commotion at the company and sector level, even when markets are flat. Last year was great for energy firms, for instance.

Monitor your watchlist. It’s surprising how much any company’s share price moves in a year, between its highs and lows. In confused and direction-less markets, you may find a favourite and typically expensive firm trading cheap for a bit. But you have to be looking all the time to spot these opportunities.

Rotate or recycle. Most of us have shares we know aren’t going to shoot out the lights, but we keep them for their steady qualities. Often they’re interchangeable for another. Procter & Gamble flying while Unilever languishes? There might be a good reason. Or it might be fickle fashion. Consider a swap. The same can hold true for whole sectors.

Look for anomalies. Things get normalized in bear markets that would seem odd when investors are confident. Massive discounts on riskier investment trusts, for example. Or housebuilders or gold miners trading contrarily to the goods they produce. Often there will be cyclical factors to take into account. But sometimes if you correctly judge which signal is superior you can find a bargain.

It’s always a bull market somewhere. I forget who said this, but it’s true. Obviously be mindful of flitting from fad to fad, and being the last buyer left holding the bag each time. But if you can alight on a durable bull market and you know your onions, it can be hugely helpful to have a big whack of your portfolio going up when everything else is doing nothing. Bleeding obvious I know, but you would be surprised how many active investors keep plugging away at the same crumbling coal face for years, rather than seeking a more promising seam to mine.

You probably want to keep thinking long-term. Most successful active investors seem to be long-term players, not frenetic traders. So while I think these trading strategies can be useful, I’d employ them within a framework of trying to tend towards my best portfolio of my best long-term ideas. Unless it’s your strategy and you’ve evidence you’re good at it, beware of ending up with a basket of crappy cheap companies that you have no faith if (/when) things go south. Remember, winners win. Most of the market’s return comes from a handful of great companies. You should be loathe not to own them.

How we can all keep the momentum going

However you invest, the big picture is as eternal as an avocado bathroom suite in Swansea.

Try to be happy. Expected are returns up. Yes you’d rather your portfolio’s prospects had risen for good reasons – higher company earnings or a booming economy – rather than because everything fell a lot last year. Nevertheless those falls blew away a lot of the valuation froth in shares and bonds. It’s reasonable to hope for better returns over the next ten years, compared to 2021.

Save more. You can’t make the market dance to your tune, but you can laugh in its face and throw money at it. Stagnant or even declining markets are a saver’s friend. They let you buy more assets for your money. If you’re under-40 you might even hope global markets drift sideways for 20 years.

Think long-term. The past 12-18 months doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things. Save and invest for another 20-30 years and you’ll struggle to see the wobble in your records. True, this is harder if your time horizon is shorter. All I can do is remind everyone that’s why your portfolio should be appropriate for your age (or perhaps your relationship with regular paid work).

Make money through cost reduction and tax mitigation. You can’t control the markets. But you can make sure you’re investing efficiently. Check out our broker comparison table for starters. If you own expensive funds, at least know why. Being optimally-efficient with your taxes, too, can move the dial. Defuse capital gains, for example, if you have unsheltered assets.

Check your portfolio less frequently. An easy way to feel better about a portfolio with a slow puncture is not to know what’s going on. Check in once a year and at worst you’ll get one shock a year. More often you’ll be pleasantly surprised. Most readers will want to look at their portfolios more often, but remember the more frequently you do, the greater the odds of being upset.

Check your portfolio more frequently. Do I contradict myself? Of course! Only recommended for investing nerds who feel out of control when losing money. Proceed with caution, but it’s possible seeing daily gyrations will help you grow a tougher shell, and also further stoke your resolve to put more fresh money to work. That’s what happened to me.

What’s the worst that can happen? It may help to run some numbers on how bad things can get. Look at the most rubbish markets of all-time and apply what happened to your situation. Could you live with it? You wouldn’t be happy – but it probably wouldn’t be the end of the world. Facing your fears can rob them of their power. Imagine if your portfolio was cut in half. How would you feel? The answer may prompt you to take action – but before you do, try the same exercise tomorrow. It may lose its sting, whilst also making run-of-the-mill gyrations of 5-10% feel piddling.

Hold fast

Getting through a miserable period in the stock market is not rocket science. Most of the pointers above may seem obvious to you.

However good investing is simple but not easy.

Very few of us will look back and see brilliant decisions or insights as the making of our investing fortunes. Rather it will be sticking to it through the good times and bad – adding new money, gradually compounding it over the decades – that will deliver our financial freedom.

Choppy markets can make you seasick. Frothy markets can blow you off-course.

When investing is boring, the biggest risk is it can all seem rather pointless.

Do what you can to remind yourself why you’re investing, why you read Monevator, and where you’re hoping to end up.

I’m confident that sooner or later we’ll be going that way again.

Whether you’re a passive or active investor, let’s hear how you’ve been facing the mediocre market of the past 18 months. Even if I suspect for most loyal readers it’s been business as usual. (Quite right too!)

  1. And inflation. []
{ 29 comments… add one }
  • 1 Mousecatcher007 April 20, 2023, 4:26 pm

    I enjoyed that. Very timely. Thank you.

  • 2 Onion April 20, 2023, 4:31 pm

    I’m coming at this from a rather strange angle where 10 months ago around 90% of what we now have invested landed in cash from a sale of private company shares. I built a plan and researched for 6 months before the money landed, ready to go. Money went straight into the market as fast as transfer limits allowed. I handed in my notice a day later and was FIREd after 2 months.

    It’s been a bit crazy to go from the position where almost all of your net worth this worth £??? to being marked to market. And I’m very pleased that I avoided the worst of losses in late 21/early 22.
    The thing that keeps me confident is the research I’ve done on long term market trends (“unless something worse than the great depression happens, this will work”) and tracking progress of the portfolio as a whole monthly, giving confidence that if the withdrawal rate is unsustainable I’ll know about it early.

    I keep having to remind myself that although it feels like I missed the great returns post April 2020, in reality I got them from the private company shares. You just can’t see it on a graph when there’s only a valuation every 4 years or so.

    Anyway, I’d much prefer a sideways intro to sequence of returns risk than a falling one!

  • 3 xxd09 April 20, 2023, 10:45 pm

    A perennial problem which is often discussed on indexing forums
    For instance most amateur U.K. investors should probably choose a global equities index fund and leave it well alone
    Adding a global bond index fund hedged to the pound as their pot increases in value and more money is at risk
    That’s it but………….
    Boring -well maybe but I find finance and money endlessly fascinating as one more expression of the fallible human condition
    It is also exceedingly difficult for an ordinary investor to arrive at this “stable “ boring state and then more importantly maintain their chosen Asset Allocation through thick and thin-it gets very thick and very thin regularly !
    This happy but boring state requires constant reading to reinforce the choices that one has made
    Luckily there are a plethora of fine financial writers out there who can constantly produce new writing on these same investing principles -if it does seem like dancing on the head of a pin sometimes!
    Then for more fun one can dip into active investor forums and live vicariously on other investors successes and sadly mostly failures
    Currently I am reading the incredibly well written Edward Chancellor,s “Devil take the Hindmost-a history of financial speculation “ with a cup of hot coffee by my fireside with my index fund portfolio tucked up in bed and left well alone for another day!

  • 4 Learner April 21, 2023, 5:14 am

    Saw M&C for the first time a few weeks ago, nice. Wee typo in a heading: Expected are returns..

  • 5 Avidreader April 21, 2023, 7:58 am

    My first comment and thank you for all the articles. I love reading these and have found some great links as well. I started investing in 2003/2004 and ploughed a lot into RBS shares as it was falling. I then stopped investing during the 2008 crisis into my ISA share portfolio for a couple of years as I lost faith in the market. Then I slowly started dipping my toe by buying funds(mainly active via regular investing). Have kept going ever since and have also bought some individual company shares and funds.

    What I learnt during Covid though a renewed interest from friends who were doing what I did in 2003/2004. So, now I check in with them to see how they feel and the whatsapp group has gone quiet. So, I try and impart my lesson to tell them not to stop investing now as I did during 2008-2010. So, this thread reminds me that when it goes quiet and soon when it feels like the worst option(as Cash interest rate will remain higher than stocks in my guess for a while)…is probably the most important time to keep calm and carry on. Thank you

  • 6 JimJim April 21, 2023, 8:17 am

    The doldrums. A good analogy. Yes my portfolio has gone nowhere but up and down for a fair while now (sings sons of the sea to himself) and I am at the beginning of drawdown/FIRE/early retirement/funemployment… still can’t make my mind up which suits me best.
    The whole thing has not changed anything significantly yet about my plans. I have had some luck in being heavily in cash from the start of ’22 but now am buying assets again and thinking that, the worst may not be over but so what. the best might still be to come.
    I check the markets slightly less frequently but I find myself more interested in the news than at the height of the pre-21 froth where I could not see a “cheap” asset for looking.
    I know it could go horribly wrong but history would indicate my chances of the opposite of that are good – possibly better than they were two or three years ago.
    There is always plan B,C,D,E and F***
    If the world collapses, we are still all in it together, if it does not, the invested will profit.

  • 7 Mr Optimistic April 21, 2023, 9:21 am

    For some reason I don’t feel like the numbers on the screen represent actual money and find the whole investing business a bit tedious. To generate a bit of interest I bought £10k of Lloyd’s shares when we already own far too many (long story which does me no credit) when they sank courtesy of SVB a couple of weeks back and sold them just before they went ex-div. Watched them every day…….
    Upshot is I made just under £800. So wagered £10k for a miserely £800 but it did spark a dying ember of interest for a while. Now back to the P55 to wrest my money from the grasping hands of HMRC.

  • 8 MonkeysOnARock April 21, 2023, 9:29 am

    Thanks for this – as others have said, a very timely article.

    One thing which has helped me (a bit) is to reflect on what psychological itch the upward trend of the portfolio is scratching during bull markets – for me it’s something like a feeling of making incremental progress towards long-term goals.

    When the market gods grow angry (or at least indifferent), I’ve been experimenting to see if I can find other ways to meet that same emotional need – trying to spend a bit more time reading books or doing exercise has worked pretty well so far, so I can say even if the investing side of things isn’t looking so rosy for the time being, others aspects of life are heading slowly in a better direction.

    The obvious counterpoint is that things like exercise should never have been on the back burner to begin with given how important they are, but there we go!

  • 9 Hospitaller April 21, 2023, 10:23 am

    It seems to me that the golden era of high equities returns is likely over and we will be grinding out returns from here on in. With that in mind, I am keeping the equities allocation where it is but with a heavy emphasis on equity income funds. I stayed away from putting more money into the recent equities rally because I did not believe it was real. Much more of my attention has been devoted to bonds, mostly gilts and hedged US Treasuries which I think may be be very important in the years to come in providing a reasonable portfolio return.

  • 10 Onedrew April 21, 2023, 10:58 am

    @ TI Thanks for a timely reminder. I am one of the daily updaters. I copy and paste the numbers from both investing.com and ft.com (and if they occasionally don’t match the London stock exchange itself) for 39 indices, funds and ETFS for bond, equity, hedged and unhedged. But I only invest in the same five ETFs on my main laser display spreadsheet. After a happy ten years of this I managed to control my itchy fingers pretty well. I found that pretending it was my mum’s money rather than mine was the most effective mind hack.
    Thanks to Monevator I found a more interesting and cost-free way to scratch the itch, moving £3k out of my ISA into another at InvestEngine. Trading costs are nil and fractions of a unit are the norm on IE, so I picked seven outrageous ( for me) ETFs. I was down £157 last month, up £9.16 this morning and it is a bit of fun. My choices were between the most bombed-out assets, a couple of high dividend payers and, finally, a little bit of gold. I probably put too much in, as I don’t think it would be less fun if it had been £700.

  • 11 weenie April 21, 2023, 12:02 pm

    A timely reminder thanks – despite continuing to contribute/invest, my portfolio ‘stood still’ between 2021-22 (and going nowhere fast in 2023!) so have had to convince myself that it could have been a lot worse, ie gone backwards!

    There’s a temptation to ‘do something, anything’ to get things moving and sadly, I’m one of those who checks my portfolio pretty much every day. However, the good thing is that I don’t do anything upon checking, except to rejoice (at increases) or stress a little (at decreases).

  • 12 PC April 21, 2023, 3:44 pm

    It should be boring! Unless you’re doing it for fun of course, but that’s something different.

    Disclaimer – in a previous life I was a speculative money market trader, especially in bond futures. Mostly holding positions for a day or two. The hardest thing to do was to do nothing when you felt like you needed to do something.

    Nowadays I have gone to the opposite extreme – most of my SIPP is VWRL ETF and I only trade when I have income to reinvest. I recommend this approach if you have other things to spend your time on other than trading and watching markets.

  • 13 FIREstarter April 21, 2023, 4:15 pm

    BORING, just how i like my investing… I’m 100% in VG passive index tracker, although I do occasionally have an urge to adopt a core and satellite approach and jump on the Fundsmith or SMT bandwagon, but then common sense kicks in after reading a timely post like this or seeing sage like wisdom from XXD09.

    Although everyone talks of hoovering up bargains post financial crash and making a mint from 2010 – 2020 but I can’t help but think those that did best were the folk that DCA their whole ISA allowance for the “Lost Decade for Stocks” from 1999 – 2009, buying a shedload of equities at a stagnant price, before they really ripped from 2015 – 2020… If that’s the case, I’ll happily take another few years of boring investing and look forward to some even juicier returns from 2030!

  • 14 Albermarle April 21, 2023, 4:15 pm

    At the start of this decade, there was some discussion on how it might work out for investment returns. Following a boom decade, the pragmatic consensus seemed to be average annual returns of one or two per cent above inflation, assuming one was lightweight in bonds, which were expected to be a problem.
    After a bad start/three years , we have some catching up to do, but if the predictions were right, (and they were not crazily optimistic) then we should see some better results on average over the next seven years, hopefully….

  • 15 random coder April 21, 2023, 6:40 pm

    I used to be 100% cash except for pensions, which were/are 100% equity world index. 100% cash was/is a terrible idea, so I started fixing that over the past few years and continue to do so, but the recent bond activities over the past years, as well as the upcoming mess with the US debt ceiling (which brings up the unlikely but not impossible event of a technical default in some sense) has disrupted my thinking. I can get almost 5% on 1 or 2 year fixed cash products with no real risk, and similar rates for longer periods, so the bond component of my ‘investing’ is currently behind where it was planned to be as I have put some of my planned allocatons into cash for now. Probably a mistake, but I still have time to go back to plan in due course if I wish.

    Also on the bond front, the last couple of years has made me think about the duration of the funds I use and I am predominantly now moving to a greater proportion of bonds to be shorter duration. My bond allocation is very simple, one short duration fund, and one longer duration fund, and a further gilt fund of longer duration. Nothing fancy and the split was fairly even, I couldn’t decide on a single bond fund when setting up my ISA, so split it 3 ways equally and never looked back as bonds were, until recently, quite uneventful investments to a passive investor. After the last couple of years I’ve realised I use bonds for their negative correlation with equities in most ‘normal times’, and for the disaster proofing in the event of a theoretical equity market near wipe out which assumes bonds survive and have value. The last couple of years have made me realise my main reason for bonds necessitates a greater proportion being shorter term quality bonds (mostly government type).

    I don’t know if I am becoming less interested due to recent market performance or if it’s just the nature of index investing – as you have hinted at in your article, when the entire strategy of a passive investor is to invest in the market by some index and trust the long term chances, it seems inevitable over time you can only become less and less interested, at least until retirement or drawdown etc becomes very relevant in the near future.

    As indicated above, the main action on my side is contemplating what I will do in the future with my bond allocations, and also thinking about what the possible mess in the US with their debt ceiling brinksmanship that will inevitably happen over the next year or so, and what that may do to markets and funds. It is interesting to me in retrospect that I barely think about the equities bit and have stuck to the same plan, but with bonds and such, I still am unsure what my plan is, especially with the current fixed rate cash market becoming attractive with semi-decent rates, even if they wont beat inflation.

  • 16 B. Lackdown April 21, 2023, 7:17 pm

    Surely we are within a gnat’s crochet of a bull market? FTSE100 up 13% since October…

  • 17 The Investor April 21, 2023, 8:44 pm

    @B.Lackdown – Ex-dividends the FTSE 100 is up about 6% over five years and 15% over 23 years. If this is your idea of a bull market, I’ll have what the other guy is having 😉

    With that said there are plausible reasons why the FTSE 100 could have a much better next 20 years. If it wasn’t for the Brexit-hamstrung UK domestic banks (shackled to the moribund UK economy) I’d be even more optimistic, but even with that something like 75% of FTSE 100 earners come from outside the UK, and should do a bit better in a higher yield, higher inflation regime, if that is indeed what we have durably moved into…

  • 18 The Investor April 21, 2023, 8:46 pm

    @Random Coder — Extremely ironically, if the US debt ceiling is breached and they do default (still very unlikely even in that bananas political environment) probably the best thing to own in the short-term would be US Treasuries. (Not a personal recommendation! Just a thought.)

  • 19 Peter April 21, 2023, 8:55 pm

    As an accumulator, I love this market. As I DCA, I’m buying cheaper than if market would continue to go up. You have asked how would I feel f my portfolio would be slashed in half. I would be over the moon and throw more money at it (assuming I would still have a job).

  • 20 xxd09 April 21, 2023, 10:51 pm

    Just some more random thoughts
    Even though ideally your investment plan should be written down and after the Asset Allocation is set via index funds (as few as possible!) you as an investor will still have to remain on reasonably high alert though doing nothing !
    That sort of position is very hard for a human/investor to maintain for any length of time never mind a lifetime!
    (Rather like milking cows -very boring but make a mistake or lose concentration the consequences are very serious )
    Financial circumstances will inevitably change -at the very least you are getting older-there is more money at risk etc
    The aid to getting round this need investment wise to justify doing as little as possible financially is to keep reading and learning about money
    If life does not give you a straight financial run (few of us will get that happy outcome) you need to be up to speed to at the very least justify doing nothing-staying the course etc or/and then having to deal with a problem like a partner getting ill plus inevitably in due course retirement/de accumulation -is this a Monevator blog post about to gestate?
    That’s enough from me!

  • 21 Keith April 22, 2023, 8:34 am

    ‘It’s always a bull market somewhere.’ That would be the egregious Jim Cramer, who nowadays thankfully is mostly behind a paywall at CNBC, thus protecting thrifty FIRE folk from the seductions of his ravings.

  • 22 FIREstarter April 22, 2023, 8:53 am

    AMEN xxd09!

    It takes a lot of reading, investigating and thinking to choose to do nothing!

  • 23 Slg April 22, 2023, 9:02 am

    Boredom is a risk to my plan. Luckily I plan to mitigate risks to my plan.
    That mitigation includes reading Monevator articles like this for positive reinforcement.
    Active bargains have to really jump out and slap me in the face sending my contrarian anti sheep magical senses into overdrive….

  • 24 oldie April 22, 2023, 9:23 am

    Today being bit of a party pooper watching world equity indices up a few % in last year and (spending power?) inflation at +10% (and what about pasta and crumpets!), makes me wonder if a review of spending strategy needs looking at at some point.? Hopefully not.

  • 25 Barney April 22, 2023, 10:09 am

    @Peter, Well done, “fill yer boots”. But it also depends how big your portfolio is at the time, especially if you take a hit after 25 years of squirrelling. Things look different.

    The first quarter 2023 results in the High, Medium, and Low risk category of “Robo Funds” as shown in the aptly named Boring Money is reassuring. Long may it continue.


  • 26 Sarah April 22, 2023, 11:13 am

    It’s pretty incredible that so many people are feeling market-itchy, considering that just a couple of months ago we were all glued to the US banking drama and poised for a potential crash. And it will still seem incredible in another couple of month’s time when we’re all glued to the next financial saga, whether it turns out to be boom or bust.

    (Nitpicky spelling error alert: “Wait, was that a breathe of wind?” Breath/breathe is one of the things that makes my eye twitch, along with there/their and definitely/defiantly. Should have spent my childhood watching TV instead of reading books..)

  • 27 spacebadger99 April 22, 2023, 11:13 am

    Great article… really good read, sums up my thoughts but more eloquently .. I feel like I’m walking through porridge/quicksand/custard with you.

  • 28 The Investor April 22, 2023, 11:35 am

    @Sarah — Thanks, fixed now. (Also, cough, you’re missing a dot from your ellipsis… 😉 )

  • 29 faithlessworld April 22, 2023, 8:01 pm

    Thanks, a useful article.
    I am one of the shruggers, I haven’t logged in yet in 2023 to see how my Vanguard LS 80:20 is doing. Probably similar to when I looked last year. I get the monthly purchase confirmation emails so I know it’s still there.

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