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The Rollercoaster of Life... Here we go Again!  Thumbnail

The Rollercoaster of Life... Here we go Again!

Well folks, “CRAZY” might just be a word that sums up our collective experience over the past number of years. The emotional rollercoaster has been surreal. Literally.    

One question remains in all of this:  Are we learning anything? 

Most people on the planet have experienced numerous cycles of extreme fear and then moments of relief throughout the madness of COVID.     

Canadians have recently experienced some of the most dramatic increases in real estate prices that have ever happened, followed now by what appears to be the onset of a significant downturn.     

Investment portfolios have also experienced some of the best 3-year growth periods (1999 through 2021) we’ve witnessed in a generation (which included a massive covid stock market correction in the middle of this period) followed now by a broadscale correction in 2022. 

The price of a barrel of oil was NEGATIVE for a short while a few years back (i.e., they were paying to get rid of it!)  and now a short time later the price is back up to nearly $100 / barrel.    

The price of a 5yr mortgage was as low as approximately 1.7% not long ago and now it’s possible we might see that same rate potentially reach 6% or 7% by the end of this calendar year if inflation doesn’t come under control soon. 

      War and peace. 

      Fear and greed. 

      Fire and rain. 

      Do you see a pattern? 

I suppose that the message we’re delivering today is that life ebbs and flows and we don’t always like the direction it may be trending.  Conversely, sometimes we’re extremely pleased. The extremes we experience on our cyclical journey tend to be the times of most stress for us as human beings.  How are we managing this stress?  

It’s important to put things into perspective from time to time and we hope to help you on this journey. 

If we’re being honest about it, we know that we truly do not have any control over the macro issues which surround us (like prices, interest rates, and product availability).  That said, we do absolutely have control over most aspects of our own lives and our personal behaviours as we interact with the society around us. 

Recognizing that we may be entering (or already within) an “extreme” period in some aspects of our lives is something which takes time to learn and even more patience to develop mature responses when we realize that extremes are present.  Awareness is critical if we’re to confidently move past points of extreme and back into balance.  What prudent responses should we consider during times of extreme? 

You may find the following points to be ridiculously simple, but because a broad section of society doesn’t follow them, we continue to experience extremes as deeply as we do (both positive and negative).   As you read these, do they remind you of grandpa’s or grandma’s words of advice? 

Opportunities for Wisdom: 

  • When home prices have persistently been elevated by dozens of over-asking price offers with no subject clauses for a significant period of time, such that a broad section of the middle class can no longer afford a regular home, then one might consider this may be a reasonable time to step back and consider other options.  Do we have the patience to wait a while?   Does it make sense to pay more now?
  • When interest rates are becoming elevated for various reasons and are predicted to continue for a period of time, perhaps     one might consider eliminating the idea of adding new debt?  Perhaps one might defer the addition of financed purchases (if possible) and discover alternative solutions until things settle down?  Do we truly require the purchase? 
  • When recessionary pressures are mounting and it’s possible that job losses could happen to a reasonable degree, maybe one attempts to build up a rainy-day fund and consider reviewing alternative work possibilities as a solid back-up plan. What happens if there’s a prolonged recession?  Do we have the resources and resolve to adjust as needed?    
  • If the price of something dramatically rises due to short supply and high demand, do we consider holding off on the purchase decision?  Conversely, if our investments have fallen in value due to temporary market conditions, do we believe it’s a good time to sell what remains of that investment or are we committed while markets return to fair value over time? 

The more we ask ourselves and others some good questions during the extremes in life, the better off we’ll be in the long term.  

As we’ve stated on numerous occasions, in the financial world, the prudent and patient investor does far better than the one who is emotionally driven and reactionary.  

Although the majority of our client experience is with people who remain committed to their long-term plan, it is certainly worthwhile to remember all the wisdom behind the course we’re plotting together.  We sincerely appreciate the trust and confidence you have in our relationship. Our journey is one we take together, plotting our best path forward through the rollercoaster of life.    

Yours truly, 

Maurice Matte