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Good post.

I think one's ability to withstand turmoil (and sustained weakness) in markets has something to do with personality - but it also has to do with one's level of confidence in their investment plan, asset allocation, etc.

You may not be able to alter your personality, but you can certainly read (or re-read) those texts which reinforce your plan and sustain your confidence.

You know that the market is a great place to be long-term, but of course there will be short- and intermediate-term drops. I think watching these drops would be scarier once you have pulled the plug and entered FIRE. Most of us will not want to entertain the notion of un-FIRE-ing. So think of the downturn now as practice for maintaining your discipline once you are FIREd.

The benefits of adding to your portfolio during a market downturn will likely be realized in 2-5 years - once the market recovers and pulls ahead past, say, 10% above the average weighted price you paid during the downturn. I know that after the downturn of 2000-2002, the 2003-2007 period did great things for my portfolio. So I think of this as more of the same, paying off in the 2010-2012 timeframe. I am also rather far away from FIRE, so maybe that helps in maintaining my long-term viewpoint.

If you are getting close to FIRE, then I would think you would want to be adjusting your asset allocation closer to what it will look like during FIRE. If that means less stocks, then this could be a reminder of why that is - lower volatility when FIRED at the expense of lower expected long-term returns.

As always, I would say double check your asset allocation plan but, if the plan is sound, just stay the course. And certainly downturns are a GOOD THING for those of us in the accumulation phase.

Good luck,
-progmtl.
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