Broker Check

Q3 2018 Perspective: Time off vs. OFF time

September 19, 2018

Summer… a time when many of us step away from our daily routine for some Time Off in order to reset and recharge our bodies and minds with a period of rest and relaxation. At least that was the idea, once upon a time! Now when a person returns from vacation, it’s not uncommon to hear “I’m so tired, I need a vacation from my vacation.”

Part of this may be due to us taking time off, but forgetting to create OFF time.  Thanks to our smartphones, the family vacation has turned into a hybrid working/news/social media/email connected experience. Our attention is ON 24/7 and divided between adventure, minding the kids, being on time for planes, trains, tours AND whatever is happening in our digital worlds. It can be exhausting!

If this sounds like you, here is one idea about how to manage it and create some OFF time for yourself and your family. Consider buying something like a Verizon Jetpack, which creates a mobile Wi-Fi network you can carry in your pocket. Then try following some simple rules:

  • Everyone in the family connects their devices ONLY to the Jetpack
  • Everyone puts their device in airplane mode, allowing only data from the Jetpack when it is on
  • Enable Wi-Fi calling if you want to make/receive calls
  • One person is responsible for the Jetpack and setting On and Off hours
  • On hours = the family can connect
  • Off hours = OFF time, your phone is not receiving any information

The Jetpack works great and can save money for international travel because you can easily swap your Verizon sim card for a pre-paid sim card from a local carrier. We did this in Italy this summer… the iPhones were in airplane mode the whole time and we had some great OFF time!

OFF time is important when we’re at home too. Constant connection with our devices and the news can have an impact on how we feel about our investment portfolios. The truth is, headlines about trade wars, interest rates, FANG stocks, etc. will continue to run whether you read them or not. Think about this, “do you feel better or worse after reading the financial news?  Do you feel more at peace or anxious? Is the way the news MAKES you feel the way you WANT to feel?”  Looking back, the S&P 500 was at 2,786 on March 9 2018, fast forward to July 30, 2018 and the S&P 500 is at 2,802. That’s about one half of one percent change over the last 5 months…. Is the emotional rollercoaster really worth it?

More and more people are deciding to get off the rollercoaster.  Ironically, the first step actually requires the use of your smartphone or computer. After that you will have a clear understanding of what’s normal, and more importantly, what’s not normal with your specific portfolio. Your expectations will be grounded in thoughtful analysis and your perspective may shift to where you see sensational headlines typically coincide with very normal returns. This important context may help you create financial media OFF time, or, enable you to treat the financial media as a source of intellectual entertainment rather than a source of news that you fear may impair your ability to reach your goals.

Contact us if you want to learn more.