“The message of Passover remains as powerful as ever. Freedom is won not on the battlefield but in the classroom and the home. Teach your children the history of freedom if you want them never to lose it.” Rabbi Jonathan Sacks
I can’t believe the Passover holiday is two weeks away. It’s almost like during the whole pandemic we have been in a fog, one day turning into the next, but no real concept of time. And then wham; it’s crunch time.
As my kids get older I am really hoping they take a sizable part of the cleaning, and that my wife and I can just sit back, put our feet up and enjoy a cold Diet Coke, as the house gets clean. I guess we are all entitled to dream!
As we count down to Seder night, many of us are making last-minute preparations to make sure there is no vestige of hametz left in our possession. If you think about it, we are obsessed with getting rid of hametz, yet after the week-long holiday, it’s once again permitted. Why the change in attitude?
As I have written previously, Rabbi Ezra Bick writes: “Without being overly symbolic, I think it is clear that the process of leavening represents the development of powers inherent in something. Matza is simply flour and water, baked. Bread has the same ingredients, but when you leave it around, unwatched and unbothered, it magically rises and grows, realizing a hidden potential and expressing it. Is this bad? Not at all!
“It would not be exaggerated to say that this is the goal of Torah life in general. But, the Torah is warning us about something on Pessah. This process of growth and development, when left to unfold itself, wildly, can be catastrophic. The raw powers of the human spirit, unguided, are anarchic precisely because they are powerful, precisely because they represent real growth and vitality. The first step, when granted freedom, is not to run and let all the repressed inclinations and urges fly out. Even then, especially then, one should eat matza and beware the hidden powers bursting to be free.”
Just a thought but maybe we should treat our newfound corona freedoms similarly?
An element of only eating matza is for us to get back to basics, and to create a proper structure for us to grow as human beings, without any of the extra trappings symbolized by bread.
Clean up your portfolio and get back to basics. Investors should use this time of the year to clean up messy portfolios. In fact it is probably more important than cleaning your windows – where there is no hametz!
Here is where I sound like a broken record, but it needs repeating. You need to create a financial plan, and start understanding what your short- and long-term needs and goals are. You can speak to a financial adviser to help you define those goals and needs.
When creating the long-term plan, it’s important to also take into account future expenses. For example, the purchase of a car in five years, marrying off children in eight ,10, and 12 years, is all relevant information necessary for the adviser to give you an accurate picture of what you need to do for you to be able to meet these future expenses.
Once you have defined your goals, it’s time to look at your portfolio. Have you skewed from your optimal asset allocation? Is your portfolio a hodgepodge of random stocks that were bought on a whim, but with no underlying strategy? Recently I have been seeing portfolios of potential clients that are literally a mishmash of stocks with the only common denominator being that they all have four letters in their symbol – which means they are trading on the NASDAQ exchange.
The world is always in a state of change. Investors should take the time to make sure their portfolios are well positioned for the current conditions. Be smart about your investments. Pick a strategy and stick with it. Owning random stocks with no strategy is a recipe for disaster, and even though you may have emotional reasons to hold onto certain positions, now is the time to put emotions aside and be more rational. Asset-allocation is the best way for most investors to grow wealth.
We are all in the cleaning mode. Take a 30-minute break and clean your oven later. Now is the time to clean up your portfolio.
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]