On a recent trip to Florence Italy Launa and I headed out for a walk to some landscaped arches we briefly passed by earlier. Soon it began to rain. We are always prepared for rain, but even an umbrella and good coat can’t keep you dry when the storm gets bad. Before long, our shoes were soaked from the puddles formed between the old Italian cobblestones. As the driving rain began saturating our pants, we walked on while most others headed indoors.
Rounding the final corner, we saw our destination on a hill up above us. There were several arches and this time we noticed the one in the middle had a beautiful waterfall flowing through it. We excitedly climbed the steps to the normally crowded site, which by now was abandoned. When we reached the top, we found that one of the other arches now had a waterfall flowing through it. It was then we realized that these flower covered ancient arches were actually part of the drainage system for the park up above it. So, there we stood, getting increasingly soaked in the rain, as the water from the same rain was making the arches in front of us increasingly more beautiful. Launa turned to me and said, “If we hadn’t braved the rain, we would have never enjoyed this beautiful sight.” I thought for a moment on her profound observation, and how it applies to so many things in life.
The last little while for investors has been a bit of a rainstorm. If you are invested in just about anything you might feel like you have been getting a little soaked. I feel the pain of investors when they are worried. Even if today’s rain comes after 14 years of mostly investor sunshine, it still doesn’t feel good. No one likes getting rained on.
Still, I invest because I believe in sunshine. Passing storms are inevitable and necessary for a healthy market. The difficulty with storms is that we know they will end, but we don’t know when. In today’s world I can see a handful of single events, any one of which I believe would have an immediate and strong positive effect on the world economy. As an example, imagine the effect if Russia announced an end to the war. We don’t know when that will happen, but it could be tomorrow. Experience has taught me that investing market conditions can improve very quickly. This is why long-term investors have learned to stay invested and wait for the storm to end, so they will be where they need to be when the sun shines again.
In a place that is normally crowded, Launa and I stood alone enjoying the beautiful Florentine waterfalls. The storm gave us a treat that those who fled to get out of the rain never saw. That cherished memory sums up my lifetime experience as a long-term investor. There are some things that can only be enjoyed by those willing to weather an occasional storm.
Dan Wyson, CFP® is author of “The Gold Egg," and “21 Financial Myths” and owner of Wyson Financial/Wealth Management 375 E. Riverside Dr. St. George, UT 84790 - 435-986-9525 – Securities and Advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor