Hold on!

Let's start with one great truth: If you want to be a great investor, don't pay attention to the ups and downs of the market.

Last week the stock market was on a roller coaster ride. If you blinked, you missed the end of the world (again). Congratulations, you didn't panic! You stayed in your seats! You're likely a lot better off than the folks who worked so hard last week to sell low and buy high.

The Nasdaq market opened August 24 down more than 20%, as measured by the QQQ, an investment that follows the largest 100 technology companies. Within minutes it corrected 15% and ended the day down a few percentage points.

In the same day, Apple stock fell 11% at the open and more than 12 million shares traded hands at or near the bottom. I think a lot of these folks who sold low in Apple or another stock were using "computerized stops." After a 10% loss, the investor's computer program said "sell" (at any price) and some hedge fund's computer said "buy" and the money moved from the well-intentioned to the wealthy.

This week, a brief respite from the chaos is in order. The link to the following essay (e-mail margo@assetsandincome.com for a copy; we're not allowed to post it here) asks why the market crashed. The answer, of course, is obvious, and I won't ruin the surprise for you, except that I want to say thank you. Thank you for not panicking and for your trust in your wealth manager. Thank you for caring about the person you are becoming and making decisions with a focus on your future goals.

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