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Summer Storms

Published by: Lytle Rather, CFP®,AIF® Date: July 08, 2016

I was playing golf with my son when a typical East Tennessee storm came thundering towards the course. The blare of the safety horn was the call for us to seek shelter in the clubhouse due to the lightning in the area. We arrived to safety just in the nick of time as the heavens opened up with a torrential downpour; trees were blowing, leaves and branches flying, and lightning cracked all around us. However, as quickly as the ferocious storm blew in it was gone in a moment’s notice. Things returned nearly to where they were before the storm save for the debris and water on the now soggy course.

As I went back to the course to continue my game, it dawned on me that though the storm was temporary, I needed to adjust my expectations for the round. I was still going to go back out and execute my game plan. I was going to hit driver on certain holes, was going to try to navigate the ball to certain parts of the fairway or green, and I was going to try to avoid the bunkers, the water and the out of bounds stakes. However, I might make slight adjustments to my club selection, knowing the ball might not roll as far or fast due to the rain, but in no way was it going to change my entire plan of attack.

The same could be true for our investment strategy. Despite the world’s economic and political “storms” we should all have a game plan and develop a specific approach for making sure we stay the course. For a lot of us, our idea is to rely on common sense when it comes to investing. Many times though, the fear of the storm causes us to fall prey to our emotions when we make investing decisions. In executing this type of game plan, we usually sell out of the investment that scares us most and buy into the investment that seems to be the obvious favorite. The truth is, we are usually wrong and the consequences could cost us dearly.

Instead, each of us should build our specific plans around our unique values, goals, relationships, assets and interests. There is peace of mind in knowing that we have a well-thought out plan in place before the next big thing happens, Brexit, for example as I am writing this, and that we can trust our game plan for navigating through the inevitable storms that are always on the horizon.

Lytle Rather, CFP® is co-founder of Rather & Kittrell. He is available at