ARBOR WEALTH: Andy, Barney and Mayberry Investment Patience
“I was born in a small town.
And I can breathe in a small town.” — from “Small Town” as performed by John Cougar Mellencamp
“The Andy Griffith Show,” which debuted in 1960, is still one of my favorite television programs. In these days of Ebola and ISIS, this kind of serene and gentle comic relief is indeed therapeutic.
One wonderful episode is called “Man in a Hurry.” The luxury automobile of impatient businessman Malcolm Tucker breaks down in Mayberry on a Sunday morning. Everyone’s in church, and Wally refuses to open his service station to fix the car until Monday. The party line phone at Andy’s house is tied up for hours because two sisters visit incessantly. Mr. Tucker fumes at Mayberry’s slow Sunday lifestyle.
Goober and Gomer eventually correct the car’s engine issue, and deliver the repaired auto in time for the important businessman to keep his appointment in Charlotte. But after a day with Andy’s family, Mr. Tucker comes to embrace Mayberry’s relaxed atmosphere, and he pretends that his car needs further attention so he can stay over another day.
Mayberry offers a pace of life we all once knew and took for granted, until it was snatched from us by computers, cable television, texting and mobile apps. When Andy and Barney, Aunt Bee and Opie retire to the porch “after preachin’” and spend the shank of a Sunday afternoon in rocking chairs, making homemade ice cream with strawberries, we wish we could join them. Who doesn’t want a friend (like Gomer) who will fix a car for free (“Ah, it weren’t no trouble”) and then depart with, “Lots of luck to you and yours.”
Your relationship with your investments should be just as unhurried. Investors like Malcolm Tucker who demand immediate results often discover that “Mayberry” type patience works well in capital markets. Whether you handle your assets yourself or hire professional management, you are usually well served to invest with a three- to five-year time horizon. That takes patience.
One of the most common mistakes investors make is becoming frustrated after a down statement and selling securities that are temporarily priced low. Seasoned investors understand that market downturns can frequently represent an excellent buying opportunity. Buying low and selling high still works. Equally important, buying quality companies and securities usually makes for a solid portfolio.
Examine your risk tolerance, your financial goals, and your age, and determine how long you have to make your investments pay off for you. Sometimes it is helpful to limit yourself to one monthly look at your investment accounts, rather than fret over them daily. Relax and consider some homemade ice cream while you wait. And oh, lots of luck to you and yours.
Margaret R. McDowell, ChFC, AIF, a syndicated economic columnist, is the founder of Arbor Wealth Management, LLC, (850-608-6121 — www.arborwealth.net), a “fee-only” registered investment advisory firm located near Sandestin. This column should not be considered personalized investment advice and provides no assurance that any specific strategy or investment will be suitable or profitable for an investor