The Dow Jones industrial average closed today at 13,089.89. This is a record high--the first time that the Dow has closed above 13,000--and it will undoubtedly spark pleasure this evening as people check their profits from the day's market activity.
Far be it for me to detract from any investor's enjoyment. I like a daily upswing as much as anyone. But understand that these types of short-term market changes should not drive your investment decisions. Markets fluctuate, as J.P. Morgan allegedly quipped, but a knowledgeable, systematic approach to investing will take you profitably and safely through Mr. Market's ups and downs.
So instead of dwelling on the latest closing number of the Dow, focus more on getting the investing fundamentals right: Build a balanced portfolio of multiple asset classes, diversify broadly within those asset classes, and minimize your investment costs. And don't become either too happy or too glum over the short-term market results. Believe me: They'll change.