My friend David Nuxol makes the finest grilled steaks I’ve ever tasted.
You might imagine there is only so much you can do with a piece of raw meat over an open flame, but that’s because you’ve never tasted one of his filets hot off the grill.
Before a cookout at my place last month, however, he finally revealed his secret…
It’s all in the marinade.
David recommends that you place a 5-pound beef tenderloin into a zip-lock bag, along with 6 tablespoons of olive oil, 8 large minced garlic cloves, 2 tablespoons of minced fresh rosemary, 1 tablespoon of dried thyme leaves, 2 tablespoons of coarsely ground black pepper and 1 tablespoon of salt.
Shake well. Refrigerate for 48 hours. Then bring the filets to room temperature before putting them on the grill.
The results – trust me – will bring tears to your eyes.
The same approach will also work wonders on your investment portfolio.
Last week, for instance, the nation’s political class was convulsed about the January 19 deadline to pass a spending bill and avoid a government shutdown – which they didn’t.
So the shutdown went into effect, just as it did in October 2013.
The media warned that it would force many federal agencies to close – and that some government employees would be unable to work.
(Forget for a moment that those in security and law enforcement would be unaffected. There was a genuine risk that forest rangers, museum curators and monument tour guides might be forced to take a couple days off.)
Market pundits openly fretted about the likely reaction in world financial markets.
Some said stocks would start to correct. Others called for a full-blown crash – especially the folks who’ve called for a crash every month since the Great Recession.
(Yes, they’re still out there. And some investors are still listening to them.)
When markets opened Monday, Republicans and Democrats remained at an impasse.
And the impact in world stock and bond markets?
It was much ado about nothing. Again.
Just as it has been with virtually every doomish forecast of a coming – take your pick – currency crash, market meltdown, impeachment crisis, government shutdown, fiscal cliff, cyber Armageddon, population explosion, bird flu epidemic, rare-earth minerals shortage, peak oil problem, Ebola pandemic, environmental catastrophe or ancient Mayan prophecy of impending doom.
(Nor should we forget the worldwide calamity of Y2K.)
Peter Lynch, the greatest stock fund manager of all time, famously said, “Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections, or trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves.”
Sounds sensible enough. Yet cable news, social media and the mainstream press undo our best efforts by bombarding us daily with a fresh litany of bad news.
Counter it with some perspective. History shows that today’s dramatic front-page headlines are soon lining the birdcage.
The smart investor doesn’t react to daily trivia. He or she understands that television news networks and social media sites exaggerate or hype bad news to boost ratings or clicks.
The economic history of the modern world is one of long-term incremental progress. Unfortunately, “Long-Term Incremental Progress” doesn’t make a good headline.
So the next time you hear a scary news report accompanied by predictions of market chaos, treat it like you would a 5-pound tenderloin.
Give it at least 48 hours to marinate.
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