Here we are, on the last day of Q2 2013.
It is no exaggeration to say that this has been an unusual and exciting year. I suspect most investors would prefer their markets with a lot less excitement. Perhaps we can begin a movement to bring back boring banking.
Regardless, we don’t have to wait until New Years Eve to look back. The end of the 2nd quarter presents an opportunity to review what you have done this year, and consider what changes you may wish to make. And since its Friday, we will be sure to slip in a little philosophy when no one is looking.
I don’t claim to have all the answers, but I do have many of the questions:
Questions for investors at the midpoint of 2013
• What surprises should you have anticipated this year? What did you get right, and what did you miss?
• Where’s the inflation?
• Did you ever assume we would become Japan (at least pre-Abenomics Japan, where they tried to become us).
• On a scale of 1-10, how passively or actively managed are your portfolios?
• What genuinely surprised you in a way that could not have been foreseen as a risk factor in 2013?
• Did you consider the probability that rates would start to reverse sometime in 2013? If not, why didn’t you? If you did, what steps did you take to moderate the impact?
• What are you doing to improve your process?
• What did you buy this year because of a terrific story, a narrative that suckered you in?
• What did you not buy because your risk aversion was acting up?
• How much are you paying so far this year in fees, costs & commissions? What can you do to lower that?
• Have you constructed your portfolio so it can withstand the inevitable rate increases?
• How are your alternative investments — hedge funds, venture capital, private equity — doing so far this year? Net of fees?
• Do you have a plan? Are you sticking with it, or making tweaks to it?
• What regulations have interfered with your investments? What Regs have helped them?
• What emotional decisions have you made this year that you regret? What can you do to avoid these in the future?
• How much financial television have you watched in 1H ’13,? How many investment related books have you read over that same period?
• Gold: A terrible investment, or the worst investment of all time?
• What are you doing to make yourself into a better investor?
If you can answer these honestly, you will make yourself into a better investor. It is a painful, self-relfective process, one that is necessary if you want to grow as a capitalist . . .