Looking at nature show signs of spring arriving with trees budding, crocuses spouting, birds chirping, calves arriving, new births and temperature fluctuating. What do we do to prepare? Trees and shrubs get pruned, ranchers watch and assist their cattle and livestock, farmers prepare their fields, car owners wash the inside of their muddy wet car, windows get washed and opened, decks get a fresh coat of stain and contractors transition from inside projects to outside projects. We pack away the winter clothing, tools and toys, but not too soon.

The stock market is similar to the transition of seasons. Watching for signs, preparing for your future, making unforeseen predictions and deciding whether to invest, hold steady or pull out is how we prepare for retirement, college funds, wedding funds or the unexpected events. Many decisions are based on common sense, professional advice, knowledge of stock market swings and emotions. If you plant too soon the frost kills your crops, but if you wait too long to plant, the hot summer sun burns some crops or your growing season is too short. This supports the strategy of variety, versatility and timing.

Wisdom says, “The more you make, the more you spend.” Wise people pay themselves first and budget the rest. This is called savings and managing your money, not letting your money manage you. If you don’t have it, don’t spend it; instead save for it and then make the decision to purchase or not. Build your savings by paying off debt. Don’t put all of your beans in the same pot. Stocks and real estate have levels of unpredictable risk, but you can be sure the market will swing up and down and stabilize for periods of time. When emotions drive your spending and investments, they are driving you. Be wise, learn, seek wise council, watch market trends and manage your money, don’t let it manage you.

When the American people panicked and “ran on the banks” withdrawing all their money because of fear, this contributed to the Great Depression. Panic also contributed widely to recessions in our country as stockholders hastily and emotionally sold their stocks. Banks almost went under again, when the media and emotions drove people to not keep money in the bank, but to store it under their mattress or personal safe (not making any interest and chancing theft). It is all a risk. Let’s not forget the international market finance options to purchase foreign coins because “one day they will be worth more than the America dollar.” In 2008, the Bitcoin was invented and started in 2009. A Bitcoin is a decentralized digital currency, cryptocurrency that can be sent from user to user on the peer-to-peer bitcoin network without the need for intermediaries. It too is affected by variable markets, another risk. If you want a “bottom line,” listen to wisdom not social media, don’t panic or let your emotions drive your decisions and spread your seeds so they don’t choke each other out — have a diversified portfolio. When the broccoli doesn’t produce, at least you have the kale and cabbage to eat.

Dorothy Nestlerode is a Grant County resident, mother

and local author.

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