Monday, August 24, 2015
Financial advice: listen to your wife
My column is not bristling with investment tips, because I'm a buy-and-hold type of guy. There are better things to worry about, and I'm not financially savvy and don't have many insights to pass along, other than, "Save for retirement."
But after posting something like 25 percent gains in 2013, I figured the prudent card sharp knows when to take his winnings and go home, and so began slowly pulling out of the market, some, because it can't go up 25 percent every year. Still, 2014 was a solid year, and I missed out on some of that. You can't get very far on the 1.4 percent paid in bond funds, so began slowly trying to creep back. Every time the market fell a substantial amount, I'd toss a few handful of cash back in.
With the Dow tanking last week, I figured time to deploy even more of the sidelined resources, such as they are.
Even as I made the transaction Sunday, I felt a little squeamish. What if stocks weren't done plummeting yet?
Bingo. Monday morning the clock radio clicked on with news of continuing free fall in China, certain to infect here.
"I just put a bunch of money back in the market," I said, feeling slightly queasy.
"How much?" my wife ventured, hopefully. "A couple thousand?"
"No," I said. "More." I told her how much.
"Maybe you can cancel it. The markets haven't opened yet."
"I don't think it works that way," I said.
But I got out of bed. Because the truth was, I really didn't know. I padded upstairs, logged onto our 401K, leaned forward. Squinted.
One click. "Transaction cancelled."
I skipped downstairs, gave her a kiss.
"Honey," I said. "You just saved us thousands of dollars."
I don't know if this counts as financial advice. But with the Dow Jones cratering, you need some kind of guiding investment philosophy, and mine is, at least for today: it pays to listen to your wife.