Ever since England’s infamous South Sea Bubble exactly three hundred years ago, a contagious ailment has periodically wreaked havoc on financial markets. This sickness isn’t a physical virus like COVID-19, but a behavioral affliction often referred to as FOMO: Fear of Missing Out. In investors, the primary symptom is the compulsion to “join the party”—that is, to share in whatever apparently limitless gains “everyone else” seems to be enjoying at the time. Invariably, the mirage of easy riches fades into financial catastrophe (as it did in 1720), largely because investors leave logic behind and just follow the herd. But FOMO’s damage isn’t limited to the financial world; it can also affect our emotional wellbeing. FOMO often instills in us feelings of frustration and worthlessness because we are convinced that we are missing out on the wonders others are reveling in, a conviction encouraged both by today’s ubiquitous social media and the confining nature of the pandemic. There’s never going to be a vaccine for FOMO; instead, we must cure ourselves. Rather than pine for what is outside our reach, we must find joy within our world, among our family and friends, in our interests and hobbies. An investor can fight FOMO by focusing on their financial plan. Similarly, for nonfinancial aspects of our lives, we should concentrate on the unique prerequisites for our happiness and satisfaction. Even within the constraints imposed by the pandemic, we can make the most of what today offers us by commemorating the past, anticipating the future, and embracing the present. Someone out there is “throwing a party” you are not invited to. That’s okay. Throw your own party (with proper social distancing, of course).
“Joy comes to us in moments—ordinary moments. We risk missing out on joy when we get too busy chasing down the extraordinary.” Brené Brown
Financial planning can help you recognize and control your behavioral biases, such as FOMO. For information on The Kelly Group’s financial services, and a calming voice on coping with the challenges of COVID-19, feel free to visit The Kelly Group’s website, www.kellygrouponline.com, and our Facebook Page. And if you have any questions or concerns, we are here to help. In fact, we welcome your call.
Stay Safe and Healthy, and May God Bless You and Our Community.
Bryan E. Kelly, CFP®
Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a Registered Broker/Dealer, Member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through investment advisor representatives of Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Advisor. The Kelly Group and Cambridge are not affiliated. 48 East Gordon Street, Bel Air, MD 20114