Each year, our Director of Research at the BAM Alliance, Larry Swedroe, unveils what he believes are some of the most important lessons of investing. This month’s Viewpoints will highlight three of our favorites from the list. The full list of nine lessons can be found here, and is well worth the time to read.
It was tough to choose only three, as they’re all insightful. But here are Waypoint’s favorite three (okay, four) lessons from last year:
- Active management is a loser’s game:
Ouch. This might sound harsh. But more and more people are becoming aware of the evidence against investing based on opinion. More investors each year are realizing the challenges for active managers to keep up with (and outperform) the markets, after fees and taxes. At Waypoint, we’ve learned that as well and came to a point in our careers where we had to put ego aside and truly measure returns against an evidence-based portfolio. This is when we realized the importance of playing the winner’s game.
- So much of returns comes in very short and unpredictable bursts:
There is simply no better lesson for staying invested during challenging times. > SEE MORE
As we look back on a year filled with surprises (from its opening days onward), it’s natural to wonder what to expect in 2017. This is especially so, since most of those surprising events have yet to play out in full – from the political climate in the U.S., to the Brexit referendum in the U.K. to uncertainty in government bond and oil prices around the world.
We are reminded of a favorite quote from The Wall Street Journal personal financial columnist Jason Zweig, who once observed that “Wall Street often resembles a blindfolded person looking in a darkened closet for a pair of black shoes that isn’t there.”
Interestingly, Zweig made his comment back in October 2008, when we had yet to see the light at the end of a very dark financial tunnel. We think the sentiment fits nearly any global market and any market climate, including whatever 2017 has in store for us.
Instead of getting too hung up on the forecasts from pundits or prognosticators, let’s take a moment to pause and celebrate the truly remarkable life force that has long driven our financial markets: human enterprise.
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With everyone now reporting about how the next major level of the Dow Index is near, I just read a headline that the NEXT target is well beyond the one we may soon pass. It’s as if the selloff in the beginning of this year didn’t even happen (our post from January). Can we all just agree on something really important? There isn’t a target. When it comes to investing well over a lifetime, to provide for a family’s needs and possibly for generations after them, there isn’t any secret ‘level’ or ‘target’ to reach where we are then finished. > SEE MORE