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“Happiness Is a Warm Puppy”

Sigma Investment Counselors

January 20, 2021

Thank you Charles M. Schulz and Snoopy.  Anecdotally, it seems that a number of my neighbors have taken this advice as Covid-19 forces more of us to remain house-bound.

On a more serious note, while it is well established that older people tend to be happier than they were when they were younger, a recent study by Laura Carstensen and colleagues at Stanford University, suggests that older people, despite Covid-19, are still happier than when they were in their 20s and 30s.   That this is still true, despite Covid-19, may seem surprising.  But research seems to support the idea that people, regardless of income, class or culture are still happier in their 70s and 80s than when they were younger and healthier.  After all, Covid-19 is not the first catastrophic event older citizens have lived through.

There are a number of theories that attempt to explain why aging has a beneficial impact on happiness, but no clear conclusions.  I am neither a psychiatrist nor a psychologist, but I am a CFA Charterholder.  It is evident to me that both life and financial markets are prone to meaningful ups and downs.  More than 60 years as an investor and financial advisor have taught me that short-term financial events, that seemed overwhelming at the time, were actually not that material in the context of history.  Markets tend to be self-healing and sharp reversals have been followed by recoveries and new highs.

Perhaps a better understanding of the significance of market fluctuations is also applicable to life experiences, contributing to a greater sense of well-being?

All comments and suggestions are welcome.

Walter J. Kirchberger, CFA

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