One of the questions I get asked the most is, “what scares you right now?” Clients ask it every now and then, or some version of it, but I also get asked in various TV interviews that ever-so-compelling question, “what keeps you up at night?” There is one particular problem with the question I want to address in this week’s Dividend Cafe, and I want to provide a really thorough answer to it.
What is the problem with the question, “what is keeping you up at night?”
The problem is that the real question the person asking means to ask is, “do you think the market could go down?”
It’s a dishonest question, but probably not intentionally so. It’s a couched way of basically asking something reasonably worthless and unhelpful. Why is it worthless and unhelpful? Because the market can always go down, and anyone asking the question knows it, or anyone invested in the market ought to know it.
But, but, but you say – aren’t there times where it is extra super-duper extra likely to go down? And wouldn’t that have you worried? The answer to those two questions is, “of course not, other than in hindsight,” and “not at all.”
But, but, but, I say – if one ever just asked the question, “are there macroeconomic conditions that bother you, that you really dislike, that even though they don’t foolishly lead you into market timing or false prophesy or clickbait dis-ingenuity, you really are troubled by?”
Well, that question I can answer, and I will …