A client recently remarked that “every column on investing inevitably makes me feel bad, that I’m missing something. Why is that? The writer shares some knowledge and wisdom that I’m advised to remember and put to use. Buy low and sell high. Ignore my emotions. Rearrange my asset allocation. Calculate for retirement. Stay invested. Buy global. Keep a percentage in gold.

“Inevitably the column hits on something so at that point, I’m thinking I’ve done something wrong.”

He’s tired of it. Rightly so. We’re all getting tired of the world of a media that wants our attention by pointing out only the bad stuff.

This column instead celebrates ordinary people of extraordinary wealth, and if you’re thinking you’re not included, read on.

Invested when the markets dropped

Claude came in with a big cheque the morning after a 800-point down day last September. “It’s time to invest. This market is crazy.” Hindsight tells us his enthusiastic contrarian thinking was much too early, however, it’s remarkable for its courage, a quality not to be confused with bravery. Heroics are for the battlefield. In the markets, it often takes more courage to live than to die.

In other words, it’s easier to sell than to buy when the sky is falling. Claude was extraordinary.

Took responsibility

Linda wasn’t at all pleased with her January statement. Nor with February’s. Despite a massive discomfort with how her nestegg had shrunk, she insisted that ultimately, the final decision to stay in the markets was hers. She’s right. While money managers, advisors and brokers are hired to manage the funds according to their clients’ objectives and ability to take risk, being in or out of the market completely is a client decision.

Taking responsibility for decisions and actions is a sign of maturity. Linda is extraordinary.

Looks at investing as an ongoing learning experience

Monique blurted flat out that one of her accounts wasn’t doing nearly as well as the other. She wasn’t happy, adding that neither was going up as quickly as they went down. She took a minute or two to vent, then asked for how that could be, considering both were invested in stocks. The answer turned up in the difference of her objectives: one account was meant to be more aggressive than the other. Moreover, having avoided smaller companies and certain market sectors meant that her portfolio lagged market returns when the risky stuff came back.

Asking for information and learning from it, especially when it comes to money, is more difficult than assigning blame, and ultimately more rewarding. Monique is extraordinary.

Every day in many ways, people are extraordinary, especially readers of The Montrealer.

We’d love to hear your story about the markets and about how extraordinary you’ve been. Please send your e-mail to ptria@3macs.com, or write us at MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc., 1010 de la Gauchetiere Ouest, Montreal, H3B 4J1.

Adena Franz is a Vice President and Portfolio Manager at MacDougall MacDougall & MacTier Inc. She can be reached at 514-394-3771. The information contained in this article is for general information purposes only. It does not account for specific investment objectives or the financial situation of any person reading it. Opinions expressed are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions of MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc. Investors should seek professional advice regarding the appropriateness of investing in any securities discussed or recommended here and should recognize that statements regarding future prospects may not be realized.

MacDougall, MacDougall & MacTier Inc.
The Franz Group
1010 de la Gauchetiere Ouest, Suite 2000
Montreal, Quebec H3B 4J1
www.3macs.com

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