Boring is Better

I really enjoy listening to the Podcast HerMoney with Jean Chatzkyat the end of each episode, Jean answers a few listener questions about debt, investing, college savings, retirement savings, etc. She often gives the same guidance to her listeners when it comes to their investments and what they’re doing with their money: boring is better.

Her logic is pretty sound. First, if you’re able to live within your means, you don’t actually need a magic trick to be financially secure. Second, most of us don’t have the time to spend or money to lose to make more risky investments, attempt to time the market, or invest in “the next big thing.” Even among people who do have that kind of time, energy and money – most of them don’t out perform the market.  

So, for those of us who would like to spend as little time fretting about our finances as possible, boring is probably better.

On the topic of boredom, I’ve seen a few parenting articles floating around the internet about the importance of letting your children experience boredom. Boredom, it turns out, is an essential breeding ground for creativity and reflection. Boredom lets us dream and imagine possibilities. Boredom is important.

I think about these two very different instances of boredom. Whether your finances are “boring” or your child is complaining about being “bored” – boring is not the same as being disengaged, uninvolved, or uncaring.

Having a boring financial portfolio is not the same as having a portfolio that you hand over to someone and don’t think about for 40 years (okay, it could be that, but I’m a big fan of monitoring what’s going on without meddling). My daughter having a boring afternoon is not the same as her having a bad afternoon.

I think it’s easy to think of boredom as something we have to fix or fill up (especially when immediate stimulation is only an app or a website away). Perhaps I can say this because I’ve had a very busy month (and I would appreciate if everything would all slow down thank you very much) but I think expecting and embracing boredom is definitely something to consider and cultivate.

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