Now and then, while I'm working late on the couch or making her watch the NFL or postseason Red Sox baseball with me, she's in the habit of scrolling through TikTok and giving me a play-by-play.
Recently, she showed me one that particularly piqued my interest. It's an ongoing series from a pug named Noodle and his owner Jonathan Graziano.
Noodle is old for a pug at 13. For those who don't know pugs, they're not exactly the most graceful of dogs, even on their best days. But at 13 years old, they become particularly slow and tired, burdened by deteriorating health and a challenging genetic makeup.
Each day, Graziano sets up his camera, sits behind Noodle, and tries to figure out if today is a "bones day" or a "no bones day."
He picks Noodle up and sits him up on his rear. If Noodle then chooses to get up and walk around by his own volition, it's a bones day! That means Noodle is feeling energetic and well, full of youthful intentions to do stuff and be productive.
On the other hand, if Noodle flops back down into his bed, then bad news... it's a no bones day.
I love reading through the comments, as some of Noodle's followers passionately root for every day to be a bones day. It would mean Noodle is in good spirits! Bones days are good! And on the flip side, no bones days are bad.
Personally, I think that completely misses the point.
Nowadays, with everyone being connected all the time, it sometimes feels like we always need to be "on."
For many of us, our homes have also become our offices, so there is more pressure than ever to always work and always look productive.
There are so many times I've heard from friends, clients, partners, and employees that the ease of just wandering back to the computer to get a little more work done after dinner, or responding to e-mails right before getting in bed, makes it feel like the workday never ends.
This is also true in the personal world. With texting, FaceTime, and the constant "keeping up with the Joneses" on apps like Facebook (FB) and Instagram, it's easy to think you always need to be online to keep responding and maintaining your digital presence.
Not every day can be a bones day. Noodle's owner doesn't judge him or get discouraged when he flops down. It would be ridiculous of him to expect his 13-year-old pug to act like an energetic, eyes-wide puppy every day.
And it would be ridiculous for you to expect yourself to be online, motivated, and feeling a "go, go, go" mood every day. You have the right to feel off from time to time.
We all need a "mental health time" day from time to time. Those no bones days help us feel recharged and ready for the bones days that matter.
The world of meme stocks on Robinhood (HOOD), crypto day trading on Coinbase (COIN), and easy online access to brokerage accounts at places like E-Trade and Schwab (SCHW) aren't always great for your emotional health.
While folks used to pay attention to the ups and downs of the market, for most people, their monthly or quarterly statements were as frequently as they checked in on their accounts.
Now, with constant updates, the number of people I know who tell me their portfolio's performance daily is troubling. Daily updates are noise if you're investing for the long term.
When you tie your feelings to how your portfolio is doing every day, it can end up making you an emotional investor just because the market had... a no bones day.
The last year and a half is a great example. We have had a bull market for the record books in stocks (and many other assets) since the market bottomed on March 23, 2020.
Since the market bottom, the S&P 500 Index is up 110%, more than a double in less than 20 months. The Nasdaq has performed even better, rising 135% in the same timeframe.
Since the March 2020 low, there have been 420 trading days. Among those 420 trading days, the S&P 500 had 170 no bones days where it closed lower than the day before. The Nasdaq was barely better, with 162 no bones days.
For context, that means that in 40% of the days you checked in on the S&P 500 and 39% of the days you checked in on the Nasdaq, if you tied your emotions to the market, you’d be having a no bones day.
If you only focused on the biggest up and down days, when the market rose or fell by at least 2%, you would have had more no bones days than bones days!
Just like it's OK and natural for you to have an off day, you shouldn't get too caught up in whether your portfolio has a no bones day because if you're investing right, you're investing for the long term.
Joel often talks about the importance of regularly getting eight hours of sleep and other things you can do to keep yourself healthy. Those sorts of initiatives keep your batteries charged, so when you need to give it your all, your body has the wherewithal to support you.
As many of us prepare for the final sprint through the holiday season, the same is true about embracing those no bones days. Every day isn't going to be a great day, including for your investments, and sometimes you need an off day. Never feel discouraged by taking your own no bones day or for your portfolio to do the same.
November 19, 2021