Weekend Reading: The Power of Not Having a View

This article appears as part of Casey Weade's Weekend Reading for Retirees series. Every Friday, Casey highlights four hand-picked articles on trending retirement topics and delivers them straight to your email inbox. Get on the list here.
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Weekend Reading

A plethora of questions circulate the investment world daily; Has inflation peaked? What will the Fed do next? How will markets perform over the next six months? If you pose these inquiries to a financial professional, not receiving a definitive answer may seem as though knowledge is lacking, but in most instances, that’s not the true story.


No crystal ball: “I don’t know” is an unfulfilling response when you are searching for more certainty in an economy that is (most certainly) uncertain. However, making predictions in the investment environment today is either difficult or impossible. Not having an opinion or standing on the fence about varying economic topics does not make you – or your professional advisor – ignorant. In fact, this is often the best place to be.

The perils of forecasting: As author Joe Wiggins says, “...having wide-ranging and ever-changing views on markets is not harmless, it is damaging. Not only are investors constantly forecasting things when we cannot reasonably expect to have any skill in the task; it also means that we will be trading far more than is necessary – destroying value through transaction costs and the losses that stem from predicting the unpredictable.” Having an opinion on something might seem as though you have more control over it, but that isn’t the reality.

When to take a view: If many facets today are uncertain, how and when should you form an opinion? The time to take a position involves instances when there is a long-time horizon. Additionally, your stance should involve “robust evidence base that suggests the likelihood of [your] view coming to pass is strong.” This is most often when markets are priced at extremes. In any other case? The talk can be noise.

Just remember: Your humility will spur your curiosity, which in turn will lead to personal financial growth and opportunity.