Predictions, any given Sunday

October 13, 2017

I would argue that for a substantial amount of Americans, fall Sundays after 1 p.m. are earmarked for watching football. Last week, due to my wonderful dog, I was up at 6 a.m. and turned on the TV. Much to my surprise, there was already live coverage of the day's upcoming games. I like to think I am passionate about football, and I am very blessed to be a passionate Philadelphia Eagles fan, but I am not passionate enough to start soaking in NFL coverage at 6 a.m. As I watched the analysts and former players talk about matchups and eventually make predictions, I found myself thinking about similarities to investing and the stock market.

So much time and effort is devoted to pre-game analysis, and I can tell you from firsthand experience how much weight my friends put on their opinions, as I get text messages every Sunday about which channel predicted the Eagles losing. No matter what the experts predict, or how good the hall of famers were in their heyday, their predictions mean very little to the end result of 60 minutes played between two teams.

Now, think about how much analysis is done on investing. I can tell you coverage on the markets starts promptly at 5 a.m. on CNBC, since I am actually awake and watch it. There are many experts who give their best guesses as to what will happen during the days, weeks and months ahead. Like the analysts and players talking about football, some of them will be right and some will be wrong. However, watching your favorite football team win and lose pales in comparison to investing your nest egg based on the predictions of an expert you have never met.

Just like the outcome of any game on Sunday, investment returns and economic cycles can be unpredictable. However, as a retiree, focusing on what is important and in your control can help you be better prepared and increase your odds of success. For instance, before you decide to retire, knowing what you will spend each year in retirement is one of the most important, yet overlooked steps. While you can't control how the market will perform in retirement, partnering with a team that understands your situation and helps you with the right conversations and the right steps can help you improve your odds of success.

Fortunately, we frequently hold educational events around Sussex County where you can come learn about the challenges facing retirees. You will hear from two independent certified financial planners on how these challenges may affect you, and hear tips and strategies to help mitigate them. Feel free to attend any of our free events around Sussex County.

Eric Johnston, CFP, will lead our next retirement boot camp series from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m., Tuesday, Oct, 17; Monday, Oct. 23, and Tuesday, Oct. 31, at Georgetown Public Library. For more information and a schedule, go to

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