Pledge To Hedge: Staying Healthy in Today’s Whipsaw Markets

Editor’s Note: This is the fourth installment of an ongoing series. The Global Investing Roundups will return later this week.

By Keith Fitz-Gerald
Investment Director
Money Morning/The Money Map Report

Think about your money for a minute.

When it comes to success, “earning more” is only part of the picture. Studies show that what you save may actually be more important than what you earn.

And the best way to achieve those savings involves staying healthy.

Staying healthy? At this point you’re probably asking just what your health has to do with money and with the stock-and-bond markets. So let met clue you in.

Studies show that rough markets like those we’re experiencing now are stressful. And “bad” stress like this can be harmful to your health. Not only are there direct correlations between the ups and downs of whipsaw markets and such health problems as heart attacks, ulcers, and high blood pressure, there’s actually a growing body of evidence that suggests market-related stress may be the primary cause of such maladies.

Now, I’m not a medical professional, but I can certainly tell you that during my career as a professional trader I’ve seen the evidence of such correlations. I can’t tell you how many people I’ve seen over the years in the professional trading arena who literally dropped dead of heart attacks, or suffered seizures or some other catastrophic health event.

And a single health problem – if it’s serious enough – can literally wipe out a financial portfolio, eating away at all your money and negating a lifetime of saving. I’ve seen it happen more than once.

That means that “staying healthy” has lots to do with your money.

Let’s be honest: Everyone operates under the false belief that “it” can only happen to the “other guy” – and never to “me.” And while that may be true, why test the odds?

As for me, I’d rather hedge my bets. I’m not an “all-or-nothing” kind of guy. It’s not good for business, just as it’s not good for one’s health.

I’ll make some moves that will help me profit when the markets are bad, even if it means my upside is a little less than in a rampant bull market.

Just as I’d rather exercise a little bit each day – even if it means time away from my “black box” computer screens – in the belief that I’m heading off problems that still would’ve been years away.

Granted, as a competitive triathlete my definition of exercise is somewhat extreme. But it doesn’t even take that level of commitment to add years of pleasure to your life. Studies show that we can benefit physically and mentally from exercise until we are well into our late 80s or early 90s – even if we have never done it before. Which means it’s literally never too late to start.

I often joke with people that I’ve never been Spago or met Wolfgang Puck – but I know the guy who hoses down his sidewalks.

Here’s my personal five-point plan:

  • Exercise First: Just as the old investing adage says to “pay yourself first,” the healthy equivalent is to “exercise first.” During any given year, my global travels can exceed 100,000 miles. No matter where I am or how tired I feel, I make it a priority to exercise at the start of each day. Not only does this help me manage the stress of traveling, it releases endorphins which are the body’s natural “feel-good” chemicals.
  • Be Active Daily: Even if it’s just stretching and taking a quick walk, get into the habit of “being active” daily. For me, this commitment not only helps keep the fat off; it helps me maintain a crisp mental edge – critical on tight schedules and in complicated financial times.
  • Make the Time, Don’t Take the Time: This is partly a question of attitude or perspective; you need to look at this as a positive, and not as some odious chore. No matter how busy I am, there’s always an extra 20 minutes available. But I’ve got to make it a priority, which is why I’ll frequently slip away for a quick workout before attending lunch or meeting subscribers for cocktails.
  • Fly Into the Sun: No, this isn’t some ancient philosophical insight – it’s a modern travel trip. “Fly into the sun” – particularly on international trips where jet lag figures to be an issue. Doing so not only helps reset your body’s internal clock, but it can help you sleep well for the critical first few nights in a new time zone.
  • Limit the Libations: Not only can too much alcohol upset your digestion, it can interfere with your ability to get a good night’s sleep, and can blunt your immune response (not a great idea when you’re heading into a region of the world you’ve never been before). Indulging too much can also leave you less than sharp.

The bottom line: Taking good care of yourself is just good business.

[Editor’s Note: Money Morning Investment Director Keith Fitz-Gerald is on a mission to reduce his household energy consumption by 25% through conservation - without altering or compromising his family’s lifestyle. This is the fourth installment in this periodic series holds a special appeal for Fitz-Gerald: Despite a demanding travel schedule, he currently is training for April’s Ironman China competition – a grueling trek of 140.6 miles.]

News and Related Story Links:

About the Author

Keith is a seasoned market analyst and professional trader with more than 37 years of global experience. He is one of very few experts to correctly see both the dot.bomb crisis and the ongoing financial crisis coming ahead of time - and one of even fewer to help millions of investors around the world successfully navigate them both. Forbes hailed him as a "Market Visionary." He is a regular on FOX Business News and Yahoo! Finance, and his observations have been featured in Bloomberg, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and MarketWatch. Keith previously led The Money Map Report, Money Map's flagship newsletter, as Chief Investment Strategist, from 20007 to 2020. Keith holds a BS in management and finance from Skidmore College and an MS in international finance (with a focus on Japanese business science) from Chaminade University. He regularly travels the world in search of investment opportunities others don't yet see or understand.

Read full bio