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How Great Things Get Done (Hint, Not All at Once)

How great things get done (hint, not all at once)

That “sucking through the teeth” sound you heard last week is a function of everyone being on edge since February…In fact, I feel like it’s been this way since 2008. Maybe even 2001.

I say that because for the two decades I’ve been in this industry, “the next big sell-off” has been a reoccurring concern. And because we have come really far, really fast, the anxiety is amplified right now.

No one needs me to tell them how crazy this year has been, but for context, let’s review.

The S&P 500 Index peaked on February 19th and then careened into a bear market and hit a low on March 23rd…losing 34%. Fast forward 50 trading days, and the S&P 500 gained 40%.

Those 50-days mark the best rally for the S&P 500 since 1957.

So the anxiety is understandable, especially when you look out on the horizon and see nothing but uncertainty and potential events that could spell trouble for the markets.

While there seems to be clear visibility into future bad news, there isn’t. You can’t predict the future. As an example, I’ll challenge ANYONE to show me someone who was calling for a 40% positive run off March’s low as we all sheltered in place and stopped the economy.

In fact, let’s have a quick refresher…

Ackman Hell is Coming News

But people still think they can see the future…and unfortunately, it does real harm.

Here’s an example. According to a report out of Fidelity, 33% of all investors 65 years or older sold all of their stocks between February and May.

33%

That’s really unfortunate…maybe even devastating. Sure, those folks are getting ready to retire, and their money has to last, so on the surface protecting it seems logical. But, most will likely live 20 more years, so they actually still need growth.

Selling low and sitting in cash out of fear just CRUSHED their returns and potentially unraveled a lifetime of savings.

What’s worse is that the same report said 18% across ALL AGES did that.

Instead, what if those folks had 12-18 months of cash as part of their portfolio, giving them some breathing room?

As any regular reader knows, I like facts, probabilities, statistics, and using history as a guide rather than gut feeling guesses.  Gut feeling guesses are what drives those 33% and 18% of investors to make bad choices.

Take a look at the facts…the history…the stats. Use them to formulate a plan and exercise some patience and discipline.

Let’s look at the facts as they relate to rallies and drawdowns, as presented by LPL Financial.

You’ll see below that big pullbacks tend to happen after markets initially rally off the lows…like last week. On average, stocks rally for 30 days after a major bear market low for a +21.9% return and THEN a subsequent drawdown of -10.3%.

MarketPullbacksNormal

The fear of getting in a car crash or breaking down on the highway doesn’t keep people from driving to work because drivers exercise risk management (safe driving) and have a backup plan for breaking down (call a tow truck and an Uber from your cell phone).

No one pulls over to the side of the road and quits driving because they get a gut feeling they may crash their car.

This is no different.  Use the facts and stats to create a plan, exercise patience and discipline, use cash as a hedge, and have a portfolio that’s appropriate for your balance of risk and reward.

I know it sounds basic, and people may be tired of the broken record…but apparently, 33% (or 18%) of people still don’t get it.

Right now, there seems to be a few different types of investors – those who are smarter than everyone else (or believe they are), those who think they can see well into the future, and those who recognize those shortcomings and excel at investing by making good risk management decisions over a long period of time.

Vincent Van Gogh once said, “Great things are done by a series of small things brought together.”

Keep looking forward,

Dave

The Haystack What Do You Mean

The Haystack: What Do You Mean?

Schools may be closed, but it is finals week here at Monument. And here’s a computational nugget for the mathletes…

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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 Monument Wealth Management), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), be suitable for your portfolio or individual situation, or prove successful.

All indexes referenced are unmanaged and cannot be invested into directly. The economic forecasts set forth may not develop as predicted. 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 blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument Wealth Management. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Monument Wealth Management is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice.

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David B. photo

David B. Armstrong, CFA

President & Co-Founder

Dave got into the industry when he discovered his passion for finance in his mid-20’s. He’s a combat veteran and served as an officer in the United States Marines Corps on both active duty and in the reserves, retiring at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel. While serving on active duty, Dave was unable to spend money on deployments, so he became a self-taught investor. Along with a few bucks cash as a bouncer, his investing performance grew to be good....

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IMPORTANT DISCLOSURE INFORMATION

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 Monument Capital Management, LLC [“Monument”]), or any non-investment related content, made reference to directly or indirectly in this blog 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 blog serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Monument.

Please remember that if you are a Monument client, it remains your responsibility to advise Monument, 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, or if you would like to impose, add, or to modify any reasonable restrictions to our investment advisory services. Unless, and until, you notify us, in writing, to the contrary, we shall continue to provide services as we do currently. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed above to his/her individual situation, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing. Monument is neither a law firm nor a certified public accounting firm and no portion of the blog content should be construed as legal or accounting advice. A copy of Monument’s current written disclosure Brochure discussing our advisory services and fees is available for review upon request or at https://monumentwealthmanagement.com/disclosures/. Please Note: IF you are a Monument client, please advise us if you have not been receiving account statements (at least quarterly) from the account custodian.

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