Perspective Matters

Perspective is important in all of life. There are several different potential definitions of perspective, but they all have to do with how you carefully look at or evaluate something. Perspective is important in art, geometry, how I view problems, opportunities and investing. One definition of perspective is “a particular attitude toward or way of regarding something; a point of view.” Another good definition is “true understanding of the relative importance of things; a sense of proportion.”

For many investors, the last several weeks have been nothing short of a disaster. Most company executives are probably having long meetings talking about how to respond to and adapt to the impacts of the coronavirus. Many businesses are closed, and it is highly likely that many small businesses may fail. The newly retired might be worried and regretting their decision to retire.

As you can see from the graph I grabbed from Fidelity this morning, the combined value of my traditional Rollover IRA and ROTH IRA has plummeted. If I told you the total dollar value of the loss, you would probably gasp. It is a very BIG number. But I am not worried, nor am I disappointed, dismayed or fearful. Much of my perspective is centered on the elements of life and living that have nothing to do with the relative value of retirement assets. My perspective includes the following five elements, from most important to least important.

  1. God loves me. He sent his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ to rescue me from my sins. Because He did that, I have not doubt about the lesser things of life and his care for me. He takes care of sparrows and Jesus said I am worth more than a whole flock of little birds. He sought me, bought me, redeemed me, forgave me, keeps me and does everything well for his glory and my good.
  2. Family is more important than things or money. I have a wonderful family. That is a gift from God.
  3. God has given me custody of many material blessings. But I don’t really own them (Psalm 24:1-2). It looks like I do, because my name is on a bunch of papers identifying me as the owner. However, the rightful owner is the one who entrusted the material blessings into my stewardship. I need to make wise decisions about God’s belongings.
  4. Most of the people of this world live on far less per day than we do. My primary goal with our wealth is not to buy stuff, but to meet the needs of others. God can do wonderful things with $1, $100 or $1,000. If he can feed 5,000 with a little boy’s lunch, he can certainly take care of me regardless of my assets.
  5. Finally, as an investor I think like an owner. Therefore, I do not rush in a panic to sell our investments. The fundamental reasons for our investments have not changed. Our written investment plan has no place for panic. The reason for this is simple. Look at my first point above.

Psalm 24:1-2 “The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof, the world and those who dwell therein, for he has founded it upon the seas and established it upon the rivers.”

Romans 12: 2 “And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

Colossians 3:2 “Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.”

John 14:3 “If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you to Myself, that where I am, there you may be also.”