FOMO or Oh, no! Ah, the competing forces in a crazy market. How many of you are watching some of the name-brand stocks take off, have a fear of missing out (FOMO) and are wondering why you don't own enough of them?
How many of you are looking at the market and saying, "Oh, no" this can't last and trying to figure out what to do? I have some ideas for you.
In Adam Grant's latest book, "Think Again," he writes: "Great thinkers don't harbor doubts because they're impostors. They maintain doubts because they know we're all partly blind and they're committed to improving their sight."
The first thing to realize if you have FOMO or Oh, no is that you are right. The second thing to realize is that you are also wrong.
The future is uncertain, no matter the strength of your convictions. In other words, the more confident you are in knowing what is going to happen next, the more likely you are experiencing the Dunning-Kruger effect of thinking you are smarter than you really are.
No offense, but if you think you know what cannot be known, then you don't know squat.
But what about your buddy who got in and out of GameStop, made a killing by throwing all his money into Bitcoin, got out of the market last February and got back in late March, and now has given you a scoop on the next Apple stock?
Well, while he may be a brilliant investor (I have my doubts), the fact that he took home run swings and was successful doesn't prove that.
Resulting is when you judge a decision by how it turned out rather than the process you used to make the decision.
A great result with a lousy process is not repeatable. The challenge is to objectively look at what part of your decisionmaking is sound and what part isn't, regardless of the results.
For example, a diversified portfolio will always result in you being invested in some areas you wish you weren't (Oh, no!) and some that did far better than others (FOMO).
If your objective is more consistent returns over time, then this is how you create them. So while you can sleep well, you give up bragging rights.
The next step is to settle down and try to remember the reason that you are invested is to either spend or give money away at some time in the future.
This is where compound interest comes into play.
If it takes 10 years for your money to double, then in 40 years, your one dollar invested is worth $16!
Think about that. Five years of $5,000 Roth contributions (a total of $25,000) from age 25 to age 30 would be worth over $400,000 of never-taxed money if it doubled every 10 years — a 7.2% annual return. That is powerful and somewhat predictable.
It is unwise to deal with FOMO or Oh, no by giving in to it. But one of the big problems that Grant points out is, "As journalist Kathryn Schulz observes, 'Although small amounts of evidence are sufficient to make us draw conclusions, they are seldom sufficient to make us revise them.' "
So if you have FOMO, you have come to the conclusion that others have something you don't have, and you really want it.
If you have Oh, no, you have decided that no matter the evidence that things are not as bad as you fear them to be, they most definitely will collapse.
The best way to nudge yourself into a more rational place is to try to understand how your thinking could be wrong.
Instead of burying yourself in reading things that confirm your thesis, spend time looking for ways to agree with an opposing one.
It doesn't mean that you suddenly go from all out to all in, it means that you become more measured in the choices you are making.
If you are ruled by FOMO, incorporate some Oh, no, by making sure you have set aside money in more conservative places in case you turn out to be wrong.
If you are praying at the altar of Oh, no, at a minimum put a percentage number on your chance of not correctly predicting things, and invest that.
Under both scenarios, you do this until you get to a place where you have created a process that is sustainable and repeatable.
Once you end up there, you get to sit back, rebalance your investments appropriately, and spend your time working on aligning your values and your spending.
Ross Levin is the chief executive and founder of Accredited Investors Wealth Management in Edina