Despite Frigid Temperatures, Winter Season is Perfect Time to Form or Improve Your Investment Club
By Anthony Rhodes
To the average individual, our winters are broken up into two separate categories. There is of course, the period before the New Year, where we primarily focus on Thanksgiving shopping and Christmas gift giving, and then there’s the period after the New Year, where aside from a handful of great football games, is pretty much a time of proverbial clock watching and mundane repetition, as we agonizingly wait for the changing of the season. But before you concede to the familiar trappings of the Post Holiday Blues, allow me to propose an alternative to these purported bleak and uninteresting months of our lives. Dare I say a change of perception, which in an ironic twist to seasonal harvesting rules, provides an opportunity to plant the seeds of growth, during these barren and unproductive months of the winter season.
If you are a member of an investment club, listen up. And to those of you who have been pondering the formation of your own club, this information may be of particular importance to you, as well. This week, we’ll discuss some strategies to help get your club off to a rip roaring success in the first quarter, and believe it or not, these boring, final months of the winter season, may be the best time of the year in which to do so.
Diagnosis: Cabin Fever
As I mentioned earlier, after the New Year, most people essentially retire to the warmth and comfort of their homes, leaving only to perform the basic necessities of reporting to work and grocery shopping. This truth is due in large part to the fact that there’s usually nothing else social to do during this period; Midwestern winters are brutal, and most of us would rather wait until the springtime to begin the formation of any or all of our group activities. But you see, this is exactly why starting your investment club in this environment is a good idea! Human beings are social creatures, and even during the brutality of winter, are far more likely to attend a group gathering of likeminded individuals, than to acquiesce to the doldrums of cabin fever. Take this opportunity to lay the foundation for a monthly, fun filled get-together amongst friends, which happens to include the monitoring of your investment portfolio. This way, you’ll ensure that during the coming inevitabilities of a poor performing stock market and a warmer climate, the interest in your club will remain strong and steadfast, regardless of these or any other potential distractions.
Over the next few months, this sequence of events is going to become painfully familiar to most of you reading this post: wake up, go to work, come home, go to sleep, repeat, and for excitement, you may throw in an occasional trip to the gas station or supermarket…just to remind yourself that you’re still alive. Well, such is the life of a hardy Midwesterner during the monotony of winter, and most of us have come to expect this pattern as a rite of passage for choosing to live in such a distinguished part of the country. However, since you’re not the only one to share in this succession of repetitions, why not incorporate a cycle of activities to ward off this hobgoblin amongst your club members? Perhaps inviting an investment professional to your next meeting to discuss different allocation strategies, or an attorney to address potential estate planning ramifications. These monotonous final months of the winter season are enough to test the resolve of many a successful investment club, so preparing yours to cope with their tediousness could be the difference between long-term success or failure.
As we welcome in the New Year, we should do so with a preparedness that sets the tone for a period full of high expectations and endless possibilities. The most momentous successes of the year are often times determined by how well we plan for them during the first quarter. So let’s begin this year, and all subsequent New Years with a new purpose in mind: planning for success early on, implementing strategies to ensure their completion, and not yielding to the temptations of the Post Holiday Blues. Happy New Year, folks!
(Anthony Rhodes is a Registered Investment Advisor and owner of wealth management firm The Planning Perspective www.theplanningperspective.com)