The connection between Tu Bishvat and your portfolio

The New Year of the trees teaches us how to focus on the future, try to be the best we can be - and let the past go.

‘BULLS MAKE MONEY, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.’ No investment goes up in a straight line forever. Appreciate how well your portfolio has done over the last few years, and don’t become a pig. (photo credit: BRENDAN MCDERMID/REUTERS)
‘BULLS MAKE MONEY, bears make money, pigs get slaughtered.’ No investment goes up in a straight line forever. Appreciate how well your portfolio has done over the last few years, and don’t become a pig.

A lot of people have their big dreams and get knocked down and don’t have things go their way. And you never give up hope, and you really just hold on to it. Hard work and perseverance. You just keep getting up and getting up, and then you get that breakthrough. – Robert Kraft

We had a month off to recover from eating way too many sufganiyot. Now it’s time to eat again. This time we stuff ourselves on all kinds of regular and dried fruit in celebration of Tu Bishvat

There is no better feeling than eating too many dried apricots or dates, and let’s not forget that sort of bizarre sugar high acquired after eating too many sugary dried pineapple and strawberry slices. 

But let’s not complain. We have it great in Israel. Remember the old country? Bokser (carob)? I will take some fresh, locally grown fruit anytime if the option is carob! 

But not all is lost. Next week is the Super Bowl, where we turn to stuffing ourselves on meat. In our home, that means thick beef hot dogs, kebabs and spicy chicken wings. Nothing like eating those delicacies at 1 a.m.!

 Mix of dried fruit and nuts (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY) Mix of dried fruit and nuts (illustrative). (credit: PIXABAY)

How can expats hold an IRA?

A few days ago I got a call from an American expat living in France. She had some questions about her IRA and how she can hold it now that she is living outside the US. After explaining how she can work with a licensed US adviser and keep her IRA, she told me how disappointed she was in her portfolio’s performance in 2022. 

She said she lost over 25%, and though she knew that the stock market dropped significantly, she was going on and on about how poorly she had done, worse than the broader market. I stopped her and started explaining about the upcoming Tu Bishvat holiday.

Speaking about the power of Tu Bishvat, Karen Wolfers Rapaport writes on “The earliest blooming trees in Israel are awakening from a long, deep, winter’s nap. The trees have spent many months in hibernation. Until now, our beloved nurturing sources of shade and breath have been absorbing water from deep beneath the ground. This God-given survival mechanism has sustained them up until now. But now begins a new cycle in their lives. In this moment, they will draw sustenance from their own sap in order to grow, bloom and prosper. The trees will regenerate utilizing their own resources. They will become the giving entity that they were meant to be.”

What’s the moral? A new start. What happened in the past is the past. We need to focus on being the best that we can be and trying to maximize our potential in the present and the future.

In about a week and a half we have another example of fresh starts. For all baseball fans out there, it’s the time that pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Jim Webb wrote, “I heard my favorite words of February this past weekend. Pitchers and catchers will be reporting for spring training. To me, that’s like seeing the first robin. A sure sign spring and the Boys of Summer are on their way. Hope truly springs eternal no matter who your favorite major league team is. They are all tied for first place – with a record of 0-0. ‘Maybe this will be the year,’ can be heard referring to every team.”

Fred Bowen writes in The Washington Post, “The poet Alexander Pope once wrote, ‘Hope springs eternal.’ I wonder if he was a sports fan. It’s that time of year again. The air is warmer. The days are getting longer. The winter cold seems safely tucked away.

“Sports reports are filled with the sights and sounds of Major League Baseball’s spring training. It’s the time, before any of the real games have been played, when every team can dream of a magical season and maybe a World Series championship.” 

Bowen writes about children’s hopes and dreams of winning an Olympic medal or becoming a superstar. He concludes, “Sometimes you have to adjust your hopes and dreams to something more realistic. A team may have to be satisfied with a winning season instead of a championship run. Kids may have to live with being part of a team instead of being the superstar. 

Hope for the future

“And everyone, whether young or old, may have to be happy with the personal satisfaction of knowing that they worked hard and got better, that they improved. But it all starts with hope. The feeling that makes kids start playing a sport to see where the game will take them. The hope that springs eternal.”

Investors as well, need to focus on the future. The past is the past. You can learn from your mistakes, but no point crying about missed opportunities or bad investment decisions because you can’t go back in history and call a “do-over.” 

Have you had lousy investment returns? Forget about the past and concentrate on positioning your investments to be in line with your current financial goals and needs; your chance of financial success will be much higher by doing this.

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.;