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  • Writer's pictureCalvin

Crystal Ball

I’ve been watching a lot of online YouTube videos these days on how to best invest and plan for retirement. So that when I eventually retire, I have a sizeable nest egg and then live comfortably and happily ever after the age of 60 years old. That’s the plan. That’s the ideal. That’s my hope at least!

I hear that it is smart to invest in low-cost index funds that track the broad-based stock market and basically to just buy and hold these funds for the long-term over the course of maybe a few decades at least. Because the common saying is that the stock market always goes up in the long run despite the short-term volatilities that always dominate the news cycle day in and day out.

That’s the common saying right now. And quite frankly, I’m not a financial expert or guru, so I have to take these expert’s advice to some degree whether I like it or not. I do believe in the long-term upward trend of the USA stock market. And I do believe in the overall stability and optimism of the USA markets. I just also realize that nothing is ever guaranteed in the future.

No one can see everything 100% in advance. Even the most expert forecasts for the future year or the future decades are only forecasts at best. Who could’ve seen an Earth-shattering pandemic come in 2020? Or sky-high inflation rates rise up from the ashes in 2022? I’m not sure it’s something that we can technically plan.

There will be global turmoil as per normal in this world going forward. Whatever that turmoil may be is quite frankly a relative unknown right now. Climate change is one dominant thing that we probably need to address over the course of the next few decades. There are also macro-social and economic trends that we could possibly predict. Like the increasing diversity of the USA. The increased polarization of the two main political parties in the USA.

But again, these are just predictions. You shouldn’t bet your entire life savings on any of that. Even the information out in the media these days are meant to catch eyeballs and advertising revenue. Everyone’s got their own agenda unfortunately. So not every single advice out there should be just blindly followed to a tee.

Life is complicated sometimes. And the future is unknown. There is no crystal ball or psychic out there that can predict your life to 100% accuracy. And quite frankly, would you really want it to be that way? I’m not sure if that is a benefit or a drawback in essence.

Being able to look into the future is cool if you’re watching a sci-fi movie or a superhero flick. But in real life, it can be downright frightening at times. The unpredictability and vulnerability that comes with not knowing can provide actually a lot of clarity and presence in our lives. It can lead us to not take things for granted and cherish what we have in the here and now.

It can lead us to be grateful for what we have. Because you never know when your belongings and your material possessions will be taken from you. Not knowing can be a gift at times. It can provide a sense of freedom from burden and responsibility. It can provide levity. And it can provide a sense of acceptance as well.

There is nothing wrong with not knowing. To not have a crystal ball that can predict how your life will be like going forward. Because in reality, nobody really knows a thing. Even the so-called experts are still flawed human beings that have a lot to learn about this world.

There is so much to learn and not enough time to do so! As for my financial retirement plans, I will still listen to the experts. And I still believe in the long-term potential of simple low-cost index funds. So, I will invest to the best of my abilities and hopefully not become too emotionally affected when the next inevitable volatile downturn occurs. It’s a work in progress but sometimes you just need to set a plan and stand by it.

I also feel thankful that I actually have some funds that I can invest into my future. That in itself should be something to be thankful for. Again, I can’t predict with 100% uncertainty that my retirement nest egg will be secure once I ride off into the sunset and end my career. But I will still do my best to plan smartly and inform myself about the occurrences around the world.

I have to say that I am relatively confident as of now in my investment and retirement plan. But again, I’m not exactly Warren Buffett. I still consider myself a beginner in the financial world. And I hope to stay in a beginner’s mindset for the foreseeable future.

Everyone’s got their own beliefs on how the financial markets will turn out one year from now. One decade from now. A century from now. But honestly, I don’t think anyone can predict with absolute confidence or certainty. At the end of the day, it is simply a prediction. One that could change at the drop of hat. And that’s the beauty of not knowing.

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