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Summiting the Markets

By Michele T. Sarna, AIF, AWMA
Financial planning is similar to climbing a summit with many peaks and valleys along the way.

A few years back I took on the challenge to hike and summit Mt. Whitney, the tallest peak in California at 14, 505 feet. For weeks I hiked, ran, and did whatever I thought was necessary to physically prepare for the event–not to mention practicing carrying a 35-pound backpack with all the necessities.

In reflecting on the many emotions that I experienced during the two-day excursion, I recalled the recent (and historical) market conditions we’ve had. The major swings of the market indices was a rocky road for all. Like the start of my hike, I set out strong with fresh legs, anticipation and excitement. It all came to a screeching halt a few hours into the adventure when the trail started to get challenging. As time went by, the aches and pains of the task increased. Some members of our group fell back while others forged ahead; I was in the middle of the pack, and at times I was on my own to remind myself to keep trekking on and envision the goal ahead.

Investing in the markets is no different. When the markets are up, we feel great, strong and able to endure the road ahead. We have all the necessary items in our pack and feel pretty good about our preparation. However, it can all change in a flash. Global news, current economic conditions, or pure speculation of the future will turn plush meadow surroundings into a grueling rocky uphill hike with no end in sight. Some may be ahead through careful planning, while others may be falling behind and need to reevaluate their path; those in the middle will speculate if they are making the right choices.

The Mt. Whitney trail was filled with many challenges. The peaks, valleys, and unstable ground dictated the speed at which we moved forward. The higher the elevation, the more weather conditions changed. At times we were faced with wet, icy conditions – and it was the middle of July!

The same holds true with investing. Your goals, time horizon, and risk tolerance will dictate your route. At times it will be an easy walk, while at other times it will be a slippery slope. You’ll need to rely on your hiking poles, have patience and take it slow. In addition, take periodic breaks; get used to the altitude, review what you have, and adjust.

The goal is reaching the summit. With careful planning you will make it to the top where you can take in the scenery and reflect on the road travelled to get you there. Your summit may be travelling the world in retirement or paying for the grandkid’s college education. Or, you may want to spend time with family and friends and enjoy gardening at the home you’ve paid off. Regardless of what your summit is, careful planning and proper investing will help you reach your goal.

Michele Sarna is a financial advisor at Beacon Pointe and can be reached at (760) 932.0930.

Opinions expressed herein are subject to change without notice. BPA & BPWA have exercised all reasonable professional care in preparing this information. The information has been obtained from sources we believe to be reliable; however, BPA & BPWA have not independently verified, or attested to, the accuracy or authenticity of the information. BPA & BPWA shall not be liable to customers or anyone else for the inaccuracy or non-authenticity of the information or for any errors of omission in content regardless of the cause of such inaccuracy, non-authenticity, error, or omission, except to the extent arising from the sole gross negligence of BPA or BPWA. In no event shall BPA or BPWA be liable for consequential damages.

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