Staying The Course

We are rapidly approaching the 30th anniversary of the infamous one day 22.6 decline in the stock market (October 19th 1987). And for those with shorter market memories, October 2017 will mark the ten-year anniversary of the market peak which preceded the “Great Recession”. As such, we thought it would make sense to briefly highlight the benefits (and perhaps simplicity) of long term investing.

Both October milestones serve to reinforce our view that maintaining a long term and disciplined approach to the market is what really pays dividends. For investors that permanently exited the markets on October 19th 1987 they missed the market (Dow Jones Industrial Average) climb from 1,738 to over 21,000.  And for those who washed their hands from investing at the end of the Great Recession they missed a 250% appreciation in their stock portfolio.

Despite efforts of well-respected business publications many investors significantly “under owned” this market rally (March 2009 to current). This reality is no different than what followed the October 1987 “crash” and “tech wreck” of 2000-namely the individual investor has trouble “staying the course” following turbulent market conditions. We get “Wall Street” will never have a shortage of new (or recycled) investment ideas to peddle to the investing public. And as any TV or radio listener can attest you can’t get through a ten-minute window without being on the receiving end of an endless spew of competing and conflicting investment advertisements. Our concern is investors are listening to the wrong messaging.

This past weekend Barron’s Steven Sears ended his The Striking Price Options column with a spot on message: “buy as much fear as you can afford”. We are not blessing his or anyone else’s individual stock picking but rather suggesting the individual investor can tilt investing odds in their favor with some basic discipline and common sense. We completely agree with the notion investors need to maintain an optimal level of equity exposure that corresponds to their current financial condition.

Many academic studies suggest investors benefit on average when they:

  1. Focus on time in the market not market timing
  2. Maintain a suitable asset allocation
  3. Try to minimize investing costs and related taxes.

Up until recently there were more hedge funds than Taco Bell restaurants-did you really need one? ( I’m referring to the hedge funds, nothing wrong with a good taco). Today there are more Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) than individual stocks-do you really need the ability to intraday trade an index fund? (perhaps better to hold onto one as part of a well-diversified portfolio). Let’s keep this simple as October is right around the corner. If you have a long-time horizon and your financial plan indicates you under own stocks, consider adding market exposure on weakness. If you are in the fortunate position of being perhaps too heavily allocated to stocks, consider rebalancing your portfolio. If you are a short term oriented investor, then we can only wish you good luck.

Long term investing does not need to be overly complicated or unduly enrich your broker. Contact us to find out more.

Featured Author: Jim Ferrare

Important Disclosure: Please remember that past performance may not be indicative of future results. Different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product (including the investments and/or investment strategies recommended or undertaken by Withum Wealth Management. [“WWM”] ), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this newsletter will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions and/or applicable laws, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from WWM. Please remember to contact WWM in writing, if there are any changes in your personal/ financial situation or investment objectives for the purpose of reviewing/evaluating/ revising our previous recommendations and/or services. WWM is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the newsletter content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of the WWM current written disclosure statement discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request.


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