What’s meant by “controlling the controllables?”

Sports fans will be familiar with cliché-ridden post-match interviews with coaches. Alongside ‘a game of two halves’ are sayings such as ‘it is what it is’ and ‘taking the positives’. All are pretty meaningless.

One comment that does have some value, however, is the often used ‘controlling the controllables’. That also has implications away from the sporting environment, including money matters.
Whatever your situation, some aspects of investing carry greater risks than others. In those circumstances, it’s important to limit unnecessary risk. That’s true whether you’re looking at buying shares in New York or investment planning in Chester.

The factors that matter include the amount of money you want to invest, the length of time you want to tie it up for, and the levels of volatility you’re comfortable with. Some investors may be happy to risk losing it all in return for the possibility of returns that are multiples of the original amount. Others may want more limited fluctuations in values. That works both ways – if rises are smaller, so should falls be.

With these matters decided, you’re largely in control of the controllables. Now it is a case of accepting that there are some things you can do nothing about, but which will influence performance. This can include a pandemic, a major political event or an economic crash, for example.

Such events do and will happen, and will have a short-term impact. However, as long as you’ve controlled what you can, you shouldn’t be left feeling ‘sick as a parrot’.


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