Parent teacher conferences and investment expectations

Investors need to have reasonable expectations. That is also why it’s so important to define your goals and your needs, because that helps with moderating expectations

 HE TOMB OF THE PATRIARCHS in January. Even though Jacob had a promise from the Lord that he would be with him and protect him, he made a practical plan. (photo credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)
HE TOMB OF THE PATRIARCHS in January. Even though Jacob had a promise from the Lord that he would be with him and protect him, he made a practical plan.
(photo credit: WISAM HASHLAMOUN/FLASH90)

Success is a lousy teacher. It seduces smart people into thinking they can’t lose – Bill Gates

So earlier this week we had the fortune of having 2 parent-teacher conferences on the same night. Thanks to the quick thinking of my wife, she managed to get us scheduled first in two different schools. 

I must admit that doing multiple parent-teacher meetings in one night is pure genius. Just get it over with quickly, and move forward. It’s like if you have a bad tooth. Just pull it and end the agony. 

You know it’s going to be a long night when the homeroom teacher starts out with, “Your son/daughter is such a nice child. Gets along with everyone.” Based on lots of experience that’s an introduction meaning that academically and grades-wise there may be room for improvement.  

There is nothing like learning new things about your children, like that they are given homework and choose not to do it. Then there is the issue that the non-homeroom teacher will give a report that seems to contradict what the homeroom teacher reported.

 CLASS IS in session for Arab students at the Beit Hanina neighborhood’s Noreen school.  (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90) CLASS IS in session for Arab students at the Beit Hanina neighborhood’s Noreen school. (credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

I guess when your kid is taught by a teacher who teaches 150 other kids, it’s hard for them to really know your child.  

I would like to thank certain teachers including a specific English teacher that reads this column, for actually making the kids read and do reports. In a world full of electronic gadgets and smartphones, it’s refreshing to actually have a teacher that encourages reading books!

As we walked out from one of the meetings a parent said to me that it must have been okay since we weren’t crying. 

I responded that I learned long ago to have zero expectations from these meetings so that I can only be pleasantly surprised. Ultimately it’s as one of my sisters tells me frequently in order to keep my spirits up. 

Just hope that child makes it through the educational system without having the system cause damage.

When it comes to investors’ return expectations much centers on recent market performance. 

Amit Trivedi of Karmyog Knowledge Academy writes, “It is not the risk, but very often one’s appetite for risk that one gets wrong. In bull markets, many turn aggressive and in bear markets they turn extra-cautious or ultra-conservative.

This is not the risk appetite, but their perception of the risk, based entirely on the past returns and current mood. 

Such a view of the market returns has nothing to do with the future. It is just the future projection of the current mood.”

The problem with this is that decisions and strategies are made by investors who are either giddy or shell-shocked by recent market moves. I see this regularly by investors who invest by themselves. 

Do it yourself investors are notorious for being too emotional in their investment decisions and end up buying high and selling low instead of doing the opposite.

At the beginning of the week I met with a couple that had a lot of cash and had lost most of their confidence about investing. 

They explained that after corona they saw all these hi-tech stocks surging so they bought some of the trendy ones only to end up losing over half of their money. They sold out in May. Then a few months ago they received an inheritance and the money is lying around because they are afraid to invest it. 

When is it a good time to invest?

I asked why and they both responded that markets are down and it’s a bad time to invest. 

I then asked, “Well when is a good time to invest?” And they said that they heard if the market goes up for a month, then it’s time!  I took a quick drink of my coffee in order to hide my facial expression.

We see the need for measured expectations in this week’s Torah portion. When Yaakov is planning for his encounter with his brother Eisav, he is worried about his family’s survival and he splits his camp into two groups. 

If one group is attacked, he reasons, the other group can escape. Even though he had a promise from the Lord that he would be with him and protect him, he made a practical plan.

Investors need to have reasonable expectations. That is also why it’s so important to define your goals and your needs, because that helps with moderating expectations, or at least makes the investor understand if what they are asking for is doable or not. 

It’s important to speak with a professional to set your expectations in tune with reality. Sometimes that means lowering expectations, but sometimes I see investors who don’t focus enough on the long-term and end up with way too conservative an approach.

The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.

Aaron Katsman is the author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing. www.gpsinvestor.com; [email protected]