Slow Ride: The Value of Doing Things Deliberately and Patiently

You’ve probably noticed, as I have, that much of business and technology is aimed toward making our lives simpler, faster, and more convenient. What I’d like to point out here is that there are areas where taking your time and being patient will yield benefits that will not usually come quickly and easily.

Stock market investing in individual companies, ETFs, and mutual funds for the long run is a good example. Let’s consider the technology sector. What are some of the companies that have a long-term record of growth and success? How about Alphabet Inc. (better known as Google with the ticker symbol GOOG), Microsoft (MSFT), Apple (AAPL), and Salesforce (CRM)? A couple of good mutual funds are the Fidelity Select Technology Portfolio (FSPTX) and the Columbia Global Technology Growth Fund Institutional Class (CMTFX), while a couple of solid ETFs are the Vanguard Information Technology Index Fund ETF Shares (VGT) and the Invesco S&P 500 Equal Weight Technology ETF (RYT).

These investments all have something in common. Right now, because of inflation, the Federal Reserve, and a few other factors, large and institutional investors who really control the direction of the market are rotating away from technology stocks and investing in other sectors in the stock market. What that means is that right now these are all stocks that are decreasing in value, and may continue to decrease in value for a bit.

Now, if you are a patient and determined long-term investor it’s time grit your teeth and recognize why you made the initial decisions to direct your money toward these companies and funds: excellent leadership, consistent returns, and a track record of success. You’re not in the game for the daily or weekly price fluctuations, you’re in it for the long run.

One easy way to overcome your doubts is to go to the Yahoo Finance web site and look up your fund or company inside the site. Find the chart and click on “5Y” just above the actual chart. What this does is give you the share price chart history of your fund for the past five years. What you need to do is make a note of the current share price and the share price five years ago (at the beginning of the chart). You can use those numbers, along with the calculator on your phone or computer, to find the average return of this stock for the last five years.

Here’s an example. I really like the company Vanguard, so let’s take a look at their information technology ETF, which has the ticker symbol VGT. The current share price is $434 (down about $25 in the last week) and the share price five years ago was $135. That means the price has increased about $300 in the last five years (434 – 135 = 299). To find the percentage increase for five years divide the increase in value by the beginning value and multiply by 100. In this case that means (300/135) x 100 = 222%. (The actual value is a little more than 222.)

You’re almost there. Now if you divide this number by five (for five years), you’ll get the average return for the past five years. For VGT we can see that 222/5 = 44 (actually, again, a little more), which tells us that over the past five years VGT has given us an average return of over 44%! That $25, per share, lost in the last week doesn’t look so bad now, does it?

The point is that, for most of us, looking to make consistent returns, we just need to make deliberate decisions to invest in excellent, established companies (or funds) with a history of strong (average) returns and (in the short run) be patient and trust in our initial decisions.

Another place where we’ll all need patience, at one time or another, is at the intersection of diet, exercise, and weight loss. You want to take an approach that leads to weight loss in a way that is permanent without compromising your health or lifestyle.

If you are patient and determined the journey is a simple one. Exercise more (aerobic, strength, and flexibility), and eat less and better (more fruits and vegetables, less processed food). Not only is it important to make the adjustment slowly, but you also need to get accustomed to losing weight slowly. It depends on where you start from and how hard you work, but it’s okay for many to lose just a few pounds a month.

Ideally, weight loss (or weight maintenance), is just one side benefit of a healthy lifestyle that incorporates working out and a thoughtful approach to eating. As things change (age, responsibilities, etc.) accommodations and adaptations will always be necessary. Always be mindful and patient with yourself.

Focus on Food: Red Sauce

Red sauce is also known as tomato sauce, pasta sauce, and a number of other names. It’s one of the “mother” sauces because it can be the base for many other sauces. Red sauce is the base for pizza sauce, lasagna sauce, etc. My favorite is the Perfect Easy Red Sauce recipe in J. Kenji Lopez-Alt’s book The Food Lab. Your local library should have a copy.

Focus on Exercise: Physical Therapy

One of the reasons you need to keep an open channel of communication with your primary care doctor is that they can refer you to specialists. A physical therapist is a specialist that can help when you have trouble moving around (or even standing) in your daily life. A physical therapist will customize a treatment plan to minimize, or eliminate, your pain.

Focus on Investing: Meta (ticker symbol FB)

One of the hottest areas in the technology sector of the finance world is the metaverse, with it’s potential to alter the way the people connect and interact. If you’re looking to invest in the metaverse the most established and consistent company is this area is Meta (formerly known as Facebook).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *