A Guided Meditation for When the Stock Market Is Dropping

The market is plunging. You’re starting to panic. You want to hit the “sell” button!
Tune into this relaxing meditation, and let the soothing voice of JL Collins help you embrace this wonderful market cycle.


A few weeks ago I was at Ettington Park, Stratford-upon-Avon enjoying Chautauqua.
One of our guests, Elisabeth, and I were talking and she said…
“The next time the market drops, it sure would be nice to hear your soothing voice telling me everything was going to be OK.”
Then, a moment later, she said…
“Why don’t you record a Guided Meditation?”
Elisabeth is a writer and editor in her own right (she wrote the guest post linked to above), so half kidding I said, “Why don’t you write a script for one.”
And she did.
It gave me a great framework to start with and so I rewrote and expanded it into about 11 minutes of slow tranquil reading time. She then stepped back in with her editor hat on and we refined it into something ready to record. 
And I did.
My daughter, Jessica, has her own YouTube channel and knows about video editing and production. So we sent her the script and recordings. We asked her to edit it for pacing and flow, and to add some soothing music and visuals.
And she did.
Conveniently, as we finished up the last couple of weeks working on this, Mr. Market went a little crazy. The timing for such a guided meditation seemed perfect, so I decided to write this post presenting it to you.
And here it is….

Concept and script editing…
Elisabeth Andrews
Video editing and production…
Jessica Collins
Voice and final script…
JL Collins
Hope you enjoy our effort and that it helps calm your nerves, and stay the course!


Guided meditations not your thing?

My soothing voice doesn’t do it for ya? No worries.

You can read about having no worries here:


It shouldn’t be surprising that Chautauqua led to this collaboration with Elisabeth and Jess. Guests routinely connect with speakers and other guests, become friends and often find fun projects to work on together.

This was certainly not the first for me. 

A few years back, Joan and Brian showed up. The result was this now famous (infamous?) 97 second video…

(not work or kid friendly)

Directed, filmed and edited by:

Joan @ Meister’s Balogna

Brian @ Inner Parakeet

Another year Rachel, who worked for Google at the time, and I sat next to each other one night and laughed our way though dinner. Before it was over, she invited me to give a Google Talk. Which I did the following February. Now, ~18 months later it has over 400,000 views. 

And you can watch it at work and with kids.

That’s her interviewing me…

Oh, and as for Rachel…

…after talking to me at Chautauqua and in Chicago at Google, she quit her job and retired to the Gulf Coast.


Wandering around Europe we stopped in Amsterdam and caught up with Mrs. Econowiser. She wrote a Stock Series guest post for me a while back:

Investing in Vanguard for Europeans

Not only is this post very popular with my European readers, the comments section has become a forum for readers helping readers from all over the world.

While in Amsterdam, she also arranged two reader meet-ups for me and recorded the Q&A sessions from each:

Amsterdam FIRE Meet-up with JL Collins #1



We also met and had lunch with Mr. FOB, who writes the Dutch blog: Financieel Onafhankelijk Blog
He asked me to write a guest post and then he titled it…
Hmmmm. Hard to argue that. 


The Art and Science of Living in Hotels
Writing this post in Bruges, Belgium, full-time travel and hotel living is our thing just now. If you think it might be yours, this is your book.

I wrote the foreword for this book. I like it that much. And that foreword tells you why.

Buy the audio version if you want to hear me read it.

Subscribe to JL’s Newsletter

Important Resources

  • Talent Stacker is a resource that I learned about through my work with Jonathan and Brad at ChooseFI, and first heard about Salesforce as a career option in an episode where they featured Bradley Rice on the Podcast. In that episode, Bradley shared how he reached FI quickly thanks to his huge paychecks and discipline in keeping his expenses low. Jonathan teamed up with Bradley to build Talent Stacker, and they have helped more than 1,000 students from all walks of life complete the program and land jobs like clockwork, earning double or even triple their old salaries using a Salesforce certification to break into a no-code tech career.
  • Credit Cards are like chain saws. Incredibly useful. Incredibly dangerous. Resolve to pay in full each month and never carry a balance. Do that and they can be great tools. Here are some of the very best for travel hacking, cash back and small business rewards.
  • Empower is a free tool to manage and evaluate your investments. With great visuals you can track your net worth, asset allocation, and portfolio performance, including costs. At a glance you'll see what's working and what you might want to change. Here's my full review.
  • Betterment is my recommendation for hands-off investors who prefer a DIFM (Do It For Me) approach. It is also a great tool for reaching short-term savings goals. Here is my Betterment Review
  • NewRetirement offers cool tools to help guide you in answering the question: Do I have enough money to retire? And getting started is free. Sign up and you will be offered two paths into their retirement planner. I was also on their podcast and you can check that out here:Video version, Podcast version.
  • Tuft & Needle (T&N) helps me sleep at night. They are a very cool company with a great product. Here’s my review of what we are currently sleeping on: Our Walnut Frame and Mint Mattress.
  • Vanguard.com


  1. vorlic says

    Love it.

    Still prefer it when you channel John Goodman 😉

    Difficult time for the family right now, so your dulcet “English Major’s tones are helping more than you might realise…


    • Steve (NWOutlier) says

      Agreed – Love it, laugh, relaxed, enjoyed, —- but the goodman? omg – THAT IS THE TICKET.. you get up 2 and 1/2 million dollars….. complete awesomeness….

  2. wendy says

    I thought this was a prank at first, but it’s August, so no April Fools…
    Seriously though, I do think some folks will indeed find it useful to be reminded (in your calming voice) to stay the course and ignore the noise.
    For whatever weird reason, I’ve never had the market drop fear, but it was nice ‘hearing’ you again Jim.
    Hope your travels and summer are going well!

    • Mark Kaminski says

      I also thought it was a bit of a joke, but there is too much truth in it all. There’s something for someone that actually needs meditation, and something for those that need reminding of the Bogle keep-it-simple mantra.

  3. www.ProjectRijkLeven.nl says

    Hi Jim,

    As you know, my sister and I are still building our portfolios. We look forward to buying stocks on sale!!

    Your meditation helps. It’s great! When in doubt listen to Jim!

    It was lovely meeting you and Jane in Amsterdam, give her our love.

    Kind regards,

    Sister A and Sister B

  4. Mr. Nervous says

    Great! Just Great! The stock market is such a stressful chaotic exhibition of mad rampant capitalism that a calming meditation video fits perfect. Much better than the Chaos theory people telling me that a butterfly flapping in Malsysia can lead to another great depression.

  5. Mark Kaminski says

    Love it. I was giggling at first, but of course it’s laden with truth (particularly with the gentle reminder to use the appropriate funds). LOL

  6. Lisa says

    I love this! A bit of a spoof perhaps, but entirely appropriate and a wonderful summation of what I learned from you as a late-comer to investing not very long ago. I’m green enough that I will listen to this when the time is appropriate, and it will calm me! Thanks for being my mentor, Jim!

  7. Medico investidor says

    Hey Jim, I simply didn’t knew the market went down till you posted this. I just open my account to reinvest my dividends four times a year. Checked it, and it is still fine. Market moves simply don’t bother me anymore. Thanks for everything you’ve reached us!

  8. Dave says

    Fantastic. I started listening to it with a grin and enjoying the spoof/humor of it all. Half way through I noticed that I was feeling better… even though I wasn’t worried about a market drop. You do have a great voice and pacing for guided meditations. Thanks 🙂

  9. Anders says

    Love it!
    First it appeared as a joke to me but it makes sense. I don’t need the exercise (trained on the school of JL Collins) but I have friends to share it with.
    Perfect timing for what we probably have ahead of us…

  10. Rachel McCarthy says

    Love everything about this! Bookmarking for the inevitable, dreaded, but natural time when it will be needed.

  11. David Crabill says

    Hilarious! But also actually helpful.

    Here’s a question that never gets old. But still, I’m not sure what to do.

    Let’s say you come into quite a bit of money and are looking to invest it. The market’s dropping, the talking heads are talking about a possible recession, it’s the longest bull market in history, and it does seem like there’s a decent chance of a market correction.

    What do you personally do, Jim? Do you watch the market and wait a few months before throwing all your new money in, just to make sure it’s not actually a recession? Sure, by waiting you might miss some gradual gains, but by buying now you might miss a great sale.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi David,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Mr. Collins is currently traveling and unable to respond just now.

      We find for most questions, he has already covered the topic. Using the Search button might very well provide your answer.

      • David Crabill says

        No problem. I’m aware of his general answer… don’t try to time the market. Still, I’m wondering what he would do (or is doing) in this specific case. With new money, would he hold out for awhile, considering the length of this bull market?

    • Lindsay says

      I’m in a kind of similar boat right now. Have some money in a 401k in about 90% Vanguard total bond index fund (since well before this new bear market development, so I’ve lost relatively little). Also thinking about opening an IRA, then converting that immediately to a Roth.

      But I just don’t know when to jump in.

      Even though I’ve had the 401k for some time, I’m very new to actually paying attention and learning about investing. I just don’t trust any instincts I might have….I fear I might know just enough to be dangerous to myself in this unusual situation.

  12. Michael says

    Yep, tongue in cheek, but not only is my blood pressure 15 points lower, but I truly feel better about Mr Market.

    Funny, the market’s down and my wife and I don’t even bother to mention it to each other. Life is good. (Now 50%?).

    Thanks Jim, you’re the best.

  13. Financially Fit Mom says

    This is awesome! I enjoyed listening to the script. Though, I have to admit, I’m more like the obnoxious screaming fan when their team is one point away from a championship win as the market shows signs of a decrease. “GO GO GO!!!” and then when it rebounds the next day, my head falls into my hands and “NOOOOOOOooooooooooooooo” I look forward to the days I will just ignore it, but for now, I still need to dump money in to use for my future non-standard employement so I’m rooting for the underdog and a good drop for a huge sale. 🙂

  14. Tom Lilienthal says

    I love the way that you find different ways of presenting your winning building wealth methods to us, Jim. Definitely bookmarking this one!

    All the best to you and your wife,

  15. Elisabeth says

    I’m so incredibly psyched that JL took my nutty idea and ran with it. What a pleasure and honor it was to work with him, and Jess did a masterful job with the video production. Thanks everyone for sharing your reactions! And yes, it’s meant to be both funny and helpful, giving us double the stress relief through the one-two punch of laughter and reassurance.

  16. DrMM says

    Bless your heart, JL Collins. Let’s put this on auto-repeat and blast it from the rooftops.

    “We do nothing…” Could get plenty of people out of all kinds of trouble.

  17. Nice says

    Hi Jim I tried to listen to this two times but both the times I Slept before it was completed thank you so much for the great job. There is a Jogi hiding within you .

  18. Mr. Middle says

    Thanks for this! It’s just what I needed. I very recently took a look at the balance of my F-you money and told me employer just that (actually, I was very respectful and gave them a full month of notice, but in my head I said F-you…). A little stressing to watch my investment balances drop when I’m not actively adding to them.

    I’m currently being overly conservative in this new and unfamiliar phase of my life so I have about 18 months in cash. I know that’s way too much, but it certainly makes these crazy daily stock market fluctuations easy to ignore. Thanks for the entertaining reminder that everything will be ok!

  19. rdsgcc93 says

    A guided meditation on the importance and value of having FU Money would be cool, too. Hope you don’t have strenuous objections to that. Thanks.

  20. Roberto says

    thanks jlc, again quality stuff as expected. Pity it ‘s starting to climb back already, was hoping to get some more vtsax at a discount, will have to wait for the next opportunity…

  21. FIRECracker says

    Man, that voice of yours… No wonder my sound editor and producer waxed poetic about it. I don’t see how anyone can freak out when they can listen daily to something that hypnotic.

    Thanks for recommending Libby’s book! So cool that our lifestyles are similar. I can’t wait to read it!

    And finally, thanks for plugging our book! With the best foreword in the world, how can we possibly not do well 🙂

    You’re the best!

  22. Mathias says

    I fell asleep listening to your guided meditation, only to wake up after the market closed. So I didn’t sell my stock holdings, success!

  23. Juan says

    Haha this is fantastic! Thank you for putting it together and sharing with the world.
    I have bookmarked just in case. I have experienced a 20% drop and was OK, but might need it for something higher.

  24. Alex says

    Not the kind of meditation I expected to find today, but this was great! Light-hearted in a way but super practical and I feel relaxed too!

    Remember kids, hold and buy things on sale!!

  25. Abu Iskander says

    I really like the stock series and follow it pretty closely (most of my investments are VTSAX, with some ~15% diversification to VEU to not be too US centered).
    But I was thinking lately. The whole FIRE movement is mostly based of the performance of the US market and the general assumption is sort of “well the market always performed pretty well in the US, and if something catastrophic enough to keep the market low for many years happens – the investments would be the least of my problems”.
    But I am not sure this is true. For instance look at Japan after the 80s bubble. The stock market has still not reached anywhere near its peak at 1990 – and the situation Japan was facing then seems pretty similar to the US now – aging population, real estate and stock market inflation caused by a surge of money supply and low rates etc. Nothing really catastrophic happened there – no war or bloody revolution, no asteroids or terrible pandemics. People still go to the same work and school as before and live in a modern democratic society. But the stock market is 30% below its peak 30 years ago.

    Isn’t this the real worst case scenario we should be considering, and not the worst case scenario that the US market experienced? Isn’t the US market heading there anyway – with the combination of aging population, lower fertility rates and QE?
    These thoughts keep ruining my meditation. What do you think?

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Hi Abu,

      Thanks for your comment!

      Mr. Collins is currently traveling and unable to respond just now.

      We find for most questions, he has already covered the topic. Using the Search button might very well provide your answer.

  26. jlcollinsnh says

    Thank you all for your very kind and often very funny comments 🙂

    We had fun pulling this together and thought as we did it was working well. But you never know until it is released into the wild 😉

  27. Techwiz says

    Thanks to you and all your friends for creating this. Seems like great timing for this to be posted as the market is in a dip. I love the line “Do nothing!”

    I am taking that advice….

  28. Frugalharpy says

    Wow…that voice is smooth. A newbie here. I wanted to tell you that your Stock Series changed my life — and my husband’s. It was one of the reasons why when we sold our place, instead of hoarding cash or dollar-cost averaging the proceeds, we dumped it all into VTSAX. When the market dropped 20% in late 2018, I was a bit worried but did nothing. I just started a blog and will definitely recommend your stock series! This video will definitely come in hand with drops of 30% +.

    I hope to meet you one day in a future Chautauqua.

  29. Laurent says

    Some time ago, I realized why passive investing resonates with me…

    “We do nothing…”

    Doing (almost) nothing is what I do best !

    Cheers from France !

  30. Marc Schaefer says

    Thank You Mr. Collins!
    I was waiting for your response to the panic dialogue. I was looking forward to your rational thought in the “storm”. I’m going back to reread of Cannery Row and leave the financial times alone.

  31. Angelo says

    Lasted a whole minute that tried to kill myself. Please don’t do that again. If you actually sat and listened to that mess your a better man or women then me.

  32. BC @ FrugalWheels says

    I loved that Google Talk video – I wonder if they knew they were hiring the person who would talk their employee into retiring early! hahaha I’m proud to say that my 18-year-old nephew just opened his first Roth IRA, a proud uncle moment to be sure! Unfortunately instead of coming to me my sister set him up with a money manger who is probably making more money on it than he is – he doesn’t even know what he’s invested in! I’ve decided since I enjoyed your stock series so much, that you’re book would make a nice Christmas gift. If only it would have existed when I was 18!

  33. Tofinancialfreedom says

    I really enjoyed the meditation video, it does give peace and helps to relax you. I have been investing for a couple of years, and I have to admit I still suffer when the market drops. I do believe in the long term market performance, but I still don’t like seeing the value falling. I guess this is something we have all been taught to think, but I know with a bit of time I will stop feeling this way.
    Aside, I love the “Fuck you position” video, I couldn’t agree more with it (nice movie).

  34. pranjal says

    This is awesome! I enjoyed listening to the script. Though I have to admit, I’m more like the obnoxious screaming fan when their team is one point away from a championship win as the market shows signs of a decrease. and then when it rebounds the next day, my head falls into my hands and I look forward to the days I will just ignore it, but for now, I still need to dump money in to use for my future non-standard employment so I’m rooting for the underdog and a good drop for a huge sale

  35. Adrian-Investor Tuition says

    After 25 years as an adviser and going through some “doozies” of market crashes with my clients, I sure could have used a resource like this!

    As an adviser my mantra was always that “people hated losing money more than they liked making money” So market crashes were always a time where clients rational thoughts were abandoned and replaced with emotional reaction. Which made calming their concerns a very important function for both strategic and emotional wellbeing.

  36. SI says

    Hi Jim,

    I enjoyed this guided meditation a lot. And congrats on the new Steve 2.0.
    Wanted to hear your thoughts on some of the theories that Ray Dalio has put out in the public of how this time it is a period analogous to the 1930’s and it looks like a sovereign debt issue with upcoming pension and healthcare liabilities. As I understand it, his view is that we are in an untenable situation with too much cash in the system.


  37. Into the FIRE says


    I love your guided meditation! It is so relaxing and funny.

    I have a question that I hope you can help me with.

    I have come into some money that I plan to invest next year (I’ve already maxed out my Roth IRA for this year).

    Should I invest this new money into a Roth IRA that I already have $69,195.56 in (since I heard money will beget money) or should I invest in a pre-tax IRA (which I haven’t started yet) for 2020? I’m already working on maxing out my 403(b) at work. I’m kind of scared to start a pre-tax IRA since I don’t know exactly how that works. It seems like it might be complicated with regards to taxes.

    My Roth IRA is with TD Ameritrade (soon to become Charles Schwab).

    Thank you for reading my question. Hope you are having a nice holiday weekend (but I expect everyday is a holiday weekend for you)!

  38. Mike says

    This might be a controversial question. But, here it goes…

    Why not set a stop-order to auto-sell when there is a material down turn and simultaneously set a buy-order for when the market goes up? I know this is timing the market. And, I just finished reading your book and I get that the market always goes up [eventually], so I can only imagine you may be rolling your eyes at me.

    But… I have to ask. Mathematically, if I can avoid a portion of the downturn and then have the discipline to always buy back in with all the money that resulted from the stop-order, then why not do this considering there is no transaction cost?

    For example, I don’t know if I can enter logic this complicated into the buy-order, but in excel I could write an either-or logic statement like “buy VTI using 100% of proceeds from the prior stop-order sale either when (a) the market reaches low price of X or (b) if the price comes back to the stop-order price.” This formula could be repeated as many times, as needed. This approach would remove all emotion from the event, which I am guessing is the main reason you have not advised to do this, but also potentially be very lucrative.

    I believe the VTI ETF (https://investor.vanguard.com/etf/profile/performance/vti) has the same performance as the VTSAX Mutual Fund (https://investor.vanguard.com/mutual-funds/profile/performance/vtsax) and ETFs can have stop-orders, where mutual funds cannot (I believe). Also, this ETF has a lower ER with the exact same returns, which makes me wonder why its not a better choice than the VTSAX in the first place?


    Many thanks from a neophyte,

  39. B says

    Hello Mr. Collins!

    Long time reader, first time commenter. After watching The Big Short again, I came upon an article that caught my attention.


    Burry’s proposition was that the next bubble to be expected could be from the ever growing popularity of passive investing into Index Funds and ETFs.

    Since the VTSAX is regarded as such an important piece of your Simple Path to Wealth, and index funds are the forte of you and your disciples (along with practically all FIRE followers) I was wondering what your thoughts were on the growing popularity of index funds and whether that could be the very thing that causes them to fail.

    Best Regards,

    • David Crabill says

      If you Google it, you will find many articles written last September that debunk Burry’s opinion. I believe this is what Jim refers to as the “talking heads”. Also, remember motives. Burry runs an actively managed fund, and the shift to passive investing is likely already hurting his business.

  40. Felipe says

    I just went all in on this crash on Friday. This helped as I hear people talking about a crash worse than the great depression coming. If everybody stays at home all year, all the debt will wipe out many companies, all the recurring expenses will wipe out restaurants and hotels. And yet, this meditation was so healing. My expenses are rock bottom now. I am young. I am healthy. I am beyond where I expected even in the face of this. Pray for me.

    • jlcollinsnh says

      Glad it helped, Felipe!

      As of yesterday, the market is down ~32%. No question this is a bad Bear.

      But then, this Meditation wasn’t recorded for the good times. 😉

      Take care of your health and wash your hands so you are around to enjoy the market’s inevitable rebound. 🙂

  41. Karoline says

    Hi Jim,

    I just wanted to say thank you for this meditation. I have a feeling it actually worked a bit and the soothing words are definitely welcome these days. I just recently discovered your blog and I really appreciate the content (special thanks to also thinking about the indexers across the pond).

    Greetings from Berlin!

    • jlcollinsnh says

      The same as expressed in this meditation.

      The same as expressed in my book.

      The same as expressed on this blog.

  42. Camilo says

    I am a Mexican businessman who has created a company in Switzerland for textile activity and a bank account in the same country. I always get advice from experts, in my case my friends from Foster Swiss. I always place my important decisions regarding investments and savings funds in his hands.

  43. Charles says

    So good. I’ve watched this video for many times now but one thing it never address is the bond market crashing. It never happened and it’s leading to panic. I’m retired with 60% in bonds and took a huge hit of almost 35% as we speak. At this point VTI is down less than 25% and stocks are no my concern…but bonds are….I’m panicking over them!!!

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