A couple of years ago I heard the phrase “The days are long, but the years are short” with reference to my then new foray into fatherhood. Those who share the fortune of living with a smaller version of yourselves, will understand the assertiveness of the previous quote. And as far as I’ve been able to find out, veterans in fatherhood knowledgeably agree with that statement.
While I consider myself an actively involved parent, my most demanding interaction is referred to the weekends, when from very early hours the footsteps of a little person announce that the day has begun.
In short, the agenda is busy and fast-paced, it kicks off with a glass of milk, visit to the bathroom, and the first session of cartoons and puzzles.
Later, after a brief act of escapism, I manage to bathe, get ready, and finish waking up. In the distance I hear a sharp tone announcing the awakening of the second member of the clan, who requests milk, diaper change and doses of hugs. At this point the fatherly work is about to begin.
After arranging two rounds in the tub accompanied by children’s melodies, a father makes the titanic effort to comb his progeny (here I understand the relevance of the honorable mentions or prizes to the effort).
And after this merely maintenance focused work the real fatherhood challenge begins. The first meeting sets to communicate the agenda, where comments from the team are received. Negotiation skills are put to test and we can continue with the Saturday plan. The core activity will be accompanied by a contingent of: “Thank you, please, you’re welcome, share, one, two, three, cow, horse, chicken, be careful, blue, yellow, red, later, tomorrow, congratulations, I love you”.
These little everyday exercises, covering civics, arithmetic, zoology, ethics, English, dance, singing, and running, are the steps that eventually will capitalize in the formation of a person. And as these long-and blessed-days pass, we can turn around and see how in the blink of an eye, everything has changed, and the result will be supported by the constancy and relevance of those small actions.
What does this have to do with investing?
Whether someone is considered the most active trader, or the most patient investor, the result in the performance of their wealth will be nourished by decisions-action or omission-that they make in smaller time horizons.
The day trader usually starts his sessions from very early to check on global news, markets in other latitudes, as well as the behavior of futures, and even currencies and commodities. Check your watch list, as well as your model, to understand what events will trigger your trading activities. Opening bell, hikes, losses, economic data, order sent, partially filled, completed, corporate news, stop loss activated, order filled, target price reached, close position, controversial tweet, all time high, end of session.
Check your positions, winners and loosers, review model, update watch list, news, risk management and prepare for the next day.
This long and condensed day, is the one that in the long run will be raw material of the performance of our wealth.
I have consistently highlighted the power of compound interest, and we can summarize it in the following: If you earn 1% daily, for 255 business days, you can turn $100 into $1,265, whereas while losing 1% daily would turn $100 into a little less than $8 in a similar time span.
Likewise, the long-term investor also faces tests of will and character at shorter intervals. Stay in the market, periodically review your strategy, manage your budgets correctly, decide to increase contributions to your savings plan. Every extra dollar saved today is fuel for the formation of your net worth.
How long ago did you start investing? Were you disciplined and have you seen the results? What small decision would have significantly changed your results today? It seems like it was yesterday when you started, right?
A piece of advise that would apply in both disciplines is to seize the day to day, consciously striving in the process will allow us to be accountable for the results and, in the future, when looking back remember with a big smile.