Need some pep talk

I started investing by the end of 2019 after reading books, watching a lot of YouTube videos etc. -> I basically spent 100 hours to get the knowledge before I started my journey to financial independence. In the meantime I spent even more time reading posts on this forum and Bogleheads. I watched even more videos (basically every video from Ben Felix) and started listening to the podcasts from him. It really formed my beliefs that nobody knows nothing, that I should buy and hold, stay the course and try to ignore all news.

So I lump sum invested my life savings in December 2019 (17k), part of my bonus on February 20th (8k) and my pension fund money (18k) this Monday when the SP500 hit 3232 (it wasn’t available before that). You can see it with the red dots:

I know, there is no premium without a risk and I can totally handle this. But can you really get that unlucky? Why did my investing career have to start like that? Were my decisions bad or even stupid? Was I naive in following the academic research about lump sum vs. DCA?

I could really use some pep talk right now :confused:

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The amount you invested is probably around 5-10% of your FIRE target, so nothing to get too worked up about. Imagine you keep investing and in some years you reach that goal and then the 30-40% crash happens. Would that feel any better?

I think what really helps to stay on course is to invest immediately and not wait on the sidelines accumulating bigger chunks (I’m guilty of that). Then you will not blame yourself for investing that lump sum just before the crash.

Have you already read this post? I like his beer and foam analogy.

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For every 2 guys that invest 10k each into something that cost 2200, there is 3 guys that invest 10k each to buy the same assets when it costs 3300…

Focus on generating more money from your activities (better paying job, create a service/product that sells) and keep on studying how to adjust your asset allocation based on how much risk you need to take. 30/40k is only the beginning if you want to cover your expenses and more with your investments.

Back in 2016 I also did a lump sum investment of all my savings (a bit less than 100k at that time) and it did stay in the -5…0 % returns range for few months, I was doubting like you but had no better plan. Now if I look back I wish I had more money to buy stocks at that price (same in March this year), you will probably feel the same in few months or years. If not well at least you have a higher probabilty to stay above the inflation with future returns than keeping cash.

If that annoys you a lot that the boss of your savings is the stock market, you are not alone.
Another plan is to generate enough money that you can invest much more safely but that requires to think differently than showing up at a 9-5 job.

Good luck !

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Maybe this will cheer you up. :slight_smile:

Tommorow is likely to be better.

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Let me start with some fanboying: following your adventures (and @glina’s) as you document them is a big part of what I find so interesting on these boards so, thank you for sharing your fortunes and misfortunes with us, it teaches us all.

Now, to the investing part. Investing is a tough game. We are battling with algorithms-backed-up sharks for our share of a growing pie. Nobody knows what the pie will do next. It may grow, it may shrink, some fat guy may eat it all. What we know is that the sharks get their share. They have gargantuan piles of money, political connections, friends in every CA and they hold our retirement assets. They’re in to make a profit and they’ll see that it gets done.

As small fishes, we have only two options: sit out and count the decreasing value of our money, or get our nerves in for a ride, jump in the shark tank and hold on for our life. Nobody knows the future. What we do know is a way that guarantees that we get the average market returns minus a small TER and we trust that, in the long run, the pie will grow. So we sit at the table, knowing that we are going to experience troubled waters but also that the alternative is a less than 0% return on whatever we have.

Lump sum or DCA is just a way to get in. Whenever we invest, the market can go up, or down, or sideways. Lump sum beats DCA when the market goes up. DCA wins when the market goes down. Historically, the market has gone up more often than down, so lump sum wins statistically though DCA may periodically be a better alternative.

In the grand scheme of your investing life, the difference isn’t really essential on the long run. You took a bet, you had good odds to win, but you lost. It doesn’t matter much. What matters is that you took the bet - you put your money in the market. The amounts your are putting in now are building your future wealth, so they matter, but they’ll appear very small when your wealth will have grown.

Despite what some would say, lump sum or DCA is just noise. Getting your money in the game makes the signal. You’ve gotten in without fear and are now caught in a storm. Don’t let the movements of the waves take your mind away from the tide. The storm will pass, the value of your shares will rise and you’ll look upon this happy you got in, however you happened to do it. You’ve got this.

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Dear @Cortana,
As long as you didn’t sell, you didn’t lose money. You read it 1000 times: Invest next month again, Stay the course. :beers:

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Hey, I believe you prepared really well, 100h is a lot of research for example, and that you did nothing wrong! Pure and utter un-luck. Corona is a b*tch.
A similar situation made me feel very demotivated at the time & it’s important to convince oneself that the statistics will even that out with all your other buys over the next 50 years.

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Starting your investment career in 12/2019 was random.
Getting that bonus and investing it in 02/2020 was unlucky.
As for investing that pension fund money on Monday, that was…

Not quite unlucky. That was a very conscious decision. But that’s just short-term noise. As he himself probably said best: The more time passes the less will it matter.

I am a firm believer in sturgeon’s law. Both actually. And I think it applies greatly to investment “news” and advice: 90% of it is probably best to be ignored. But then “nothing is always absolutely so”.

I’d say it’d screw you up way more - mentally and probably financially as well - if you were to reverse or give up this belief (of buying and staying the course) now. I have little doubt that over the mid- to long-term, it’s going to be one of the best convictions to have.

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100 hours of reading might be a lot for some people, but to put it into perspective: I devoted a whole 1,5 years of reading books about financial/stocks/stock psychology some years ago, and I did not invest.
Also, it doesn’t mean that your decisions will get better just because you read more!

When I check a lot of your posts, I’m not fully believing you. I mean speculating about leveraged short ETFs, writing posts daily etc. I know this whole stuff can be really tempting to check everyday, but you won’t benefit from it in the long run.

I know it is a lot of money for you, but you invested 43k so far. You are still at the start of your investment career. Plus, you are still young. You have enough time to raise your salary and save rate, which at the beginning of your journey will be more important than the ups and downs of the stock market.

Speaking of…

Think of this a a marathon, and not as a sprint. Did you set yourself a FI number? How soon do you want to reach FI? In the long run (15/20+ years), lump sum should always be better than DCA. Emphasis on should! We ALL hope that the stock market will continue what it has done for the last 50/100/200 years: it will go up. If this doesn’t hold true anymore, almost all of us would be screwed. But then we would also have a general problem world-wide.

If you want to reach FI in within 5 years, you are way more exploited to stock market changes.
You graph above is for 1 year! This is nothing in terms of investing in stock markets. Do yourself a favor and check 5/10/15 years graphs, and try to extrapolate that into the next 5/10/15 years.

You are somehow contradicting your arguments here. If you are in for the long run, and you have a realistic time horizon: you will be fine. Stop doing investment porn (watching stock news everyday), stop trying to sort everything out with your brain etc.
Just follow your investment plan (I hope you have one), invest the money you are able to afford (and which you don’t need in the next 10+ years), invest stoically monthly/quarterly.

Be proud of yourself! You read a bit, and then lump sum invested. In the long run, this will be the best decision. You are still young, you have so many ways to increase your salary/savings rate.
You did everything right (with the knowledge you have today)!

Just stop frying your brain. Go out and have fun! :slightly_smiling_face:

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may I add Bob, the worst market timer ever. In the end he still buy & holds and makes a lot of money:

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If you read German I can recommend “Finanzwesir”. Just keep up the optimism and at some point, accept the loose of control. You can’t predict short term variations. So just put the money in there, Forget about it until the next month, reinvest and put the next chunk.

How do they say, buy stocks and forget about them. Look back in 20y and you will see you are rich.

It was a conscious decision (as part of the plan) to lumpsum invest at the earliest time possible. The timing of the buy was not in anyone’s hands, it was simply when the money came through to VP, that is the way I understood it. If the money had come through this morning, we may be calling it lucky? At least the dots on that graph would look less forboding for future transactions (that feeling of having always bought at the worst moment). Statistically with that plan there will be different buying-in points in future.

Question is why the volatility / paper loss buggs you that much? Best thing is to not have a look at wins/losses too often and when you do, do take it easy. March and April, my YTD paper losses materially exceeded my 2020 income to date, even considering bonus and pension funds. Funny feeling to know you worked „for free“ and even lost money in the process, but these things happen.

If the losses still bug you, you are probably invested beyond your comfort zone. Meaning that you probably need to re-consider your investment strategy. What sounds like intellectually right may still be wrong emotionally.

If you decide that you would want less volatility in your life… I would then recommend to still invest the same amounts yet to shift your focus towards risk weighted return. You could likely optimize your Portfolio so that you generate nearly the same return; but your no longer exposed to such high volatility.

How to invest with lower Volatility? According to the Pictet time series, a balanced Portfolio matches total return from an MSCI World investment; whilst signifficantly reducing volatility.

Clearly, they took a 24 years time series only. But there is comparable research that matches their findings on a longer time scale. Realistically, I wouldnt count on beating MSCI World with a balanced Portfolio; but the reduction in return is offset by an over-proportional reduction in risk. Meaning that if All-Shares Volatility is beyond your comfort zone, you instead of reducing the amount invested in shares rather keep investing everything but do invest balanced only…

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despite the discussion we’ve had (and therefore his question above whether he was naive) about lump sump investing vs. possible cost averaging.

But just assuming he might have decided on a cost averaging instead, it’s important to keep in mind that we haven’t even seen yet how that would’ve turned out over the next months.

His entry point on Monday might turn out to prove superior to cost averaging over the coming months.

Others have already made valuable points, so I’ll just leave two suggestions:

(1) Consider the psychological aspect of investing. You seem focused on getting the theory right, but truth be told, only very few of us can completely detach themselves emotionally. You choose lump sum over DCA because of its statistical superiority. If you end up doubting yourself and start correcting, you might end up much worse than if you had chosen DCA and stayed the course. Don’t chose the theoretically most superior strategy, chose the best one you feel comfortable with.

(2) Consider removing yourself form the market. You have prepared yourself in great detail, and you invested a lot of time getting the facts straight. But, don’t let your investments become your main focus point. In such a market environment, especially as an unexperienced investor, this can be detrimental to your mental health. Don’t check daily, don’t read up on all the news.

PS from my own experience: I lost what I believed was a hell of a lot of money when I began investing. Many years later, I both learned that it wasn’t a lot of money, and as a net buyer I began to appreciate market crashes.

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Thank you guys for all the replys.

@badad
Thanks for the video, will watch it tonight.

@Bojack
It’s even less. If I assume withdrawal rate of 4%, I’ll need 1.3 million CHF for my current lifestyle. My goal is 2 million CHF though, so this amount is 2.5% of my FIRE target and probably 5% of the amount I’ll need to invest to reach that goal. Totally agree with the statement that one should avoid accumulating bigger chunks. I was just unlucky because I wasn’t invested before, so I started close to the ATH. My bonus arrived at the ATH and being able to invest pension fund money is also very rare. A lot of coincidences playing here. But I’m still glad that I got it out of the way. It doesn’t feel great but at least I don’t have any other big chunks to invest, only my savings rate of 2k/month.

@T78a
I’m doing that. My base salary was 66k 1.5 years ago, now it’s 85k. I’ll start studying in September this year (Bsc Banking & Finance at Kalaidos in ZH). So I’ll probably be close to 120k in 4-5 years. My savings rate will keep increasing over the next years and probably make a big jump after I’m finished with my Bsc.

@Wolverine
My takeaways is that I learned a lot about my psychology and risk tolerance. Being invested in stocks can be painful, but I guess we get the stock premium for enduring this pain. I just need to accept it and try to detach myself from all the noise and the value of my portfolio.

@djbabasil
I’m always telling myself “Buy and hold, stay the course, ignore news, look at your longterm goals” to calm myself down when I feel bad about the markets. I hope the more time passes the more I’ll burn this dogma in.

@rolandinho
I think I won’t do anything different in the future. The odds are clearly better for my approach, so I’ll keep lump summing my bonus and other windfalls. Over the longterm, I should win more often than I lose.

@San_Francisco
It’s funny that we had a lot of discussions about the whole situation. Eventhough you were probably right, I’ll just believe that I still got the moral victory here :smiley: But we’ll have to see how it plays out over the next months and years. It might be too early to call it today, at least for my Monday investment.

@FIREstarter
I envy my clients that aren’t working for a bank. I know that I have nothing to worry about and that my investment horizon of 25 years is more than enough. But still I need to look at the markets on a daily basis because of my job. It was different when I didn’t have any own money in the market. Now I know how it feels!

@TeaCup
Won’t work anymore in the future. We had a 40 year bond bull market from 1980-2020. Bonds will decrease a lot in value when interest rates start rising again. So I’ve got no other choice than stocks. But that’s ok as I’m seeking the highest possible return without taking too much risk.

@1742
I wish I could make a standing order to IBKR like VIAC. Automatic investments without the need to login, that would be really great! I’m trying my best now to only look at my portfolio twice a month when I’m buying after payday and when I need to enter the end of month values in my Excel spreadsheet (I want to track it regularly).

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Talking about standing order (monthly) to viac with autoinvest: isn’t it more expensive than 1x/y (after a bonus for ex) bc of Fx fees?

Family plan?

Which is already great!

FX fees are 0.5-0.75% on the FX amount. So it doesn’t matter if it’s 500 or 5’000.

Right now I don’t have any desire to make kids and start a family. I’m 29 now, so that might change in the next 5-10 years. But as of now, not planning.

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