It’s been said that investing is like running a marathon. There is a long-term goal that requires pacing yourself in such a way that you don’t exhaust all your energy mid-way. It requires focus and discipline, and not over-reacting even when there’s extreme discomfort. Whether you’re investing for a retirement that’s decades away, or to outpace inflation and avoid depleting your IRA too quickly – there’s likely a part of your plan that is long-term focused.
And as the world continues to be unpredictable, it can be helpful to always have a long-term focus – even if it requires short-term remedies and self-talk along the way.
This blog post comes off the heels of completing my first full marathon, along with my wife Erin, my brother Nate, and his wife, Emily. The Nationwide Children’s Hospital Columbus Marathon will raise an estimated $1 million this year to support children fighting life-altering illnesses, injuries, and diseases. Each year, on the 3rd Sunday in October, nearly 12,000 runners make their way to the intersection of Neal Ave. and Long St. in downtown Columbus to embark on their journey through Columbus’s historical neighborhoods, landmarks, and the OSU campus.
All the training and preparation has led to this moment to not only showcase one’s physical fitness, but also the mental toughness needed to push through and endure. Likewise, investing involves committing significant time and energy, as well as striving for steady and consistent progress rather than trying for one big spurt in performance.
When training for a marathon, you don’t actually practice the full 26.2 miles. Instead, your longest runs are typically between 18-22 miles. In our case, none of us could seem to put up more than 15-mile runs, which meant there was an even bigger segment of the race that was uncharted territory – where we could not predict how we’re going to think or feel (or where the body will ache) in those moments. All we could do is focus on getting through the next stretch of the race, knowing there would be relief from the pain at some point. This meant setting our eyes on the next mile marker or drink station. Or using a downhill stretch to ease up and slightly calm the heart rate. Some of us used self-talk mantra’s like “you get to do this” or “this too shall pass” – or even referenced scripture such as Philippians 4:13*.
In investing, a declining market can be unsettling, uncomfortable, and even painful. Just like an uphill segment of the marathon when you’re already exhausted from the several miles before that, and you don’t know what lies ahead. The key is maintaining perspective – markets cycle and we have a plan that puts us in position to get through the pain and discomfort. Keeping your emotions in check, no matter how your portfolio is performing at a given moment, is critical to staying on track and reaching your long-term goals.
Crossing the finish line for the Columbus Marathon was a very exciting moment. We were so grateful for the support of the crowd and our families. The cause behind this race was very uplifting. Every mile of the race had a child-patient of the hospital cheering us on along with their families. It made me think how important it is to have people to support and motivate you to push through the tough times. It’s also a reminder that you are capable of more than you think. I would challenge you to identify your “mile markers” and “mantras” to get you through those times. And when it comes to your financial plan, we are here to be that support.
*Philippians 4:13 – I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.