Comfortable Shoes

What do you need to survive these markets?

Photo: Louis Melancon. Source: Metropolitan Opera

When Birgit Nilsson, a famous Wagnerian opera singer, was asked what was the secret to singing “Isolde”—a notoriously difficult soprano role—her answer was unequivocal: “comfortable shoes.” She had a point. The first act lasts well over an hour, and the lead has to be on her feet—singing—for most of that time. Wagner was tremendously demanding of his soloists.

When investors face demanding times like the ones we are in, they need to be sure they are comfortable. Media will fill the airwaves with stories of the Chinese slowdown and commodity price slide and bad bank loans and the potential for a breakup of the Euro zone. Falling stock prices evoke memories of 2008 or 2001. It’s easy to panic: we don’t want to go through that again.

That’s why it’s important to have a portfolio you’re comfortable with. If it’s something you don’t think about—if you contribute to a 401(k) and don’t even bother to open your statements—then you can afford to own volatile assets that jump around: like small cap or emerging market stocks. Those tend to have the best growth. If you’re worried the next downturn will give you heart failure, then maybe you mostly need short term government bonds. If you want both—growth and stability—then a mixture is best: large cap, small cap, global securities, corporates, etc.

Asset Mixture Returns. Source:

The key to performing a challenging vocal role is to stay relaxed and to wear good quality clothes. The key to persevering in challenging markets is to have a quality portfolio. Because—if you can get through them—the returns, if not the applause, will make you smile.

By | 2017-07-17T12:22:10+00:00 February 2nd, 2016|Global Market Update|0 Comments

About the Author:

Mr. Tengdin is the Chief Investment Officer at Charter Trust Company and author of “The Global Market Update”. The audio version of each post can be heard on radio stations throughout New England every weekday. Mr. Tengdin graduated from Dartmouth College, Magna Cum Laude. He received his Master of Arts from Trinity Divinity School, Magna Cum Laude and received his Chartered Financial Analyst (CFA) designation in 1992. Mr. Tengdin has been managing investment portfolios for over 30 years, working for Bank of Boston, State Street Global Advisors, Citibank – Tunisia, and Banknorth Group. Throughout his career, Mr. Tengdin has emphasized helping clients manage their financial risks in difficult environments where they can profit from investing in diverse assets in diverse settings. - Leave a comment if you have any questions—I read them all! - And Follow me on Twitter @GlobalMarketUpd

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