What Are You focusing On ?
Your perception of what is real and true is based upon the focus of your attention. So, ask yourself, what are you focusing on? Why? Why are you focusing this way? Your focus give substance to the concepts you perceive to be most important.
Job growth for November added 245,000 jobs – the slowest growth since the Spring 2020 (1); unemployed workers are at 10.6M (2); 11 to 13M renters are threatened with eviction. (3)
New daily Covid19 hospitalizations are 102,000 --- up three times since September; daily deaths are 1,347 – double from October; positive test ratios are one in four; the Thanksgiving bump of COVID case load yet to be seen. (4)
In spite of all this, the S&P 500 is up 9.6% since the Nov 3, 2020 election; up 65% since the market decline ending March 23; and finally, up 13.3% year-to-date. (4) Yes, I would encourage you to re-read the previous sentence….slowly. This assumes a portfolio 100% invested in the S&P500. However, don’t forget the S&P 500 dropped 34% from February 20 to March 23 --- lock down #1. (5 and the note)
“How can all this be happening at the same time” is a common question. This a perfect example of a paradox. “Paradox is not a conflict with reality. It is a conflict between reality and your feelings of what reality should be like.” --Richard Feynman, physicist.
Your perception may be: ‘with the growth of jobs slowing, so many people unemployed, and all these people being evicted, plus COVID cases and hospitalizations rising, how in the world can the stock market be at / near an all-time high?’
If your perception of reality is that the world is bad and the pandemic far from under control (in spite of one or more soon to be approved vaccines), how in the world can the stock market be trading at or near than an all-time high?
This is an example of how a thought, idea or concept is believed to have substance. It illustrates how your perception or focus on certain information gives validation to that information. Others may look at the same data with a different focus and have a totally different perception of reality. Perhaps the markets are focusing on a vaccine. This may be one reason the stock market has done so well in light all the gloomy COVID, jobs, and eviction data.
Where is your intention? Your focus may drive your consciousness toward some information while ignoring others.
What gets more attention in your consciousness?
- Declining job growth? Numbers of unemployed? Evictions? OR Vaccine?
- Positive test ratios? Hospitalizations? Intensive care beds available? OR Vaccine?
- Does the potential of a vaccine becoming available to all in by mid-2021 override the current impact the virus is having right now?
This all revolves back to your financial plan? What rate of return is necessary to accomplish your financial goals? Is your cash flow plan for the next three years fully funded? Or will you need to sell something later?
My financial planning process involves identifying financial priorities, predictable cash flow, and designing plans to fund the gap between the two. We assist clients to articulate their feelings about their “reality” and help them to understand the paradox between their perception and the impact it has on their financial plan.
What gives a thought or idea credibility? What gives a certain concept substance? Why do you think the way you do?
Is it because what your parents taught you? What your friends / relatives /co-worker are saying? What you read on the internet? In the newspapers? Radio or TV you listen / watch? The internet feeds or google searches you see? The feeling in your gut?
What are your independent thoughts? Do you question the “authorities?”
My mission is to help clients separate their perception and the narrative they are playing in their head with their reality.
In other words, what is really real? Versus what you think is real?
How do you know? Sometimes it is difficult to decide when wrapped in the emotions of the moment. Call if you want to talk or email if you want to schedule a ZOOM call.
Note: The S&P 500 is an index made up of 500 U.S. companies that are used as a representation of the performance of the overall U.S. stock market. You cannot invest directly in the index. Past performance is not an indication or guarantee of the future. Your portfolio may or may not perform similarly to the S&P500 index.
The views and opinions expressed are those of the author, and the information should not be construed as individual investment advice, or as the opinion(s) of Voya Financial Advisors. CN1440655_1221