I recently had a conversation with my youngest son, who is seven years old. “Daddy.” He says. “A few days ago I built a fort and it was fun.” “That’s great,” I tell him. “When exactly did you get to do that?” “Tomorrow” he replies, before correcting himself. “No, no. It was tonight. I mean yesterday.”
This exchange has been typical as Zachary learns where he and his (very important) events lie on the spectrum of time. Something from the past has occurred but putting it into the context of when exactly that took place (and verbalizing it correctly) is something he is learning to do. Understanding when something took place in the context of time is a bit of a challenge for him right now.
To me, this is similar to the perspective we can have with our investment portfolios and the markets. > SEE MORE
Pete Dixon, CFP®
Partner and Advisor
Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when I see or hear something that can help you (the client/investor) to get a clearer perspective so that you can tune out the “noise” and worry less about money. For example, if there was something that you could know (maybe again?) that reminded you how irrelevant it is to dwell on short-term returns with investments, would you want to know more about it?
I recently came across an article written by Doug Buchan, from our advisor community (full article is here if you want to read it). He reviewed the last 92 years of market history and made an illuminating observation.
First, he points out (like we have many times before) that the “stock market” (S&P 500) has averaged 10%/year over the last 92 years. You’ve probably heard that before. It’s these next two questions, however, where it starts to get fun:
- Question #1: out of all those years, how many times did the S&P 500 end a year with an average return between 8 and 10%?
- Question #2: out of all those same years, how many times did the stock market have a return higher than 20%, or worse than negative 20%?
Waypoint Wealth Management
We’ve often said that watching the market every day has little (if any) benefit to you as a long-term investor. However, we can’t help but hear or read headlines such as “Dow rallies 500 points” or “Dow drops 500 points.” These types of stock movement headlines may make little sense to some investors, given that a “point” for the Dow and what it means to an individual’s portfolio may be unclear. Also, events such as a 500-point move do not have the same impact on performance as they used to. With this in mind, let’s take a look at what a point move in the Dow means and the impact it may have on an investment portfolio.
Impact of Index Construction
The Dow Jones Industrial Average was first calculated in 1896 and currently consists of 30 large cap US stocks. The Dow is a “price-weighted” index, which is different than more common “market capitalization-weighted” (which is simply a product of its stock price and shares outstanding) indices.
An example may help put this difference in methodology in perspective. Consider two companies that have a total market capitalization of $1,000. Company A has 1,000 shares outstanding that trade at $1 each, and Company B has 100 shares outstanding that trade at $10 each. In a market capitalization-weighted index, both companies would have the same weight since their total market caps are the same. However, in a price-weighted index, Company B would have a larger weight due to its higher stock price. This means that changes in Company B’s stock would be more impactful to a price-weighted index than they would be to a market cap-weighted index. > SEE MORE
Waypoint Wealth Management
We don’t expect people to fly their own airplanes or take out their kids’ appendixes, and yet we expect them to manage their retirement portfolios. In my careers I’ve done all three, and investing is by far the hardest.”
The Four Pillars of Investing
If we were to picture your retirement financial plan as an airplane flight, your investments are the trade winds carrying you toward your destination. How you invest can mean the difference between your arrival at your desired location … or it can knock you into a tail-spin.
To help you stay on course toward your own goals, we offer the “compass” of a solid investment strategy based on three key points. First, we have a strategy. Second, it’s a strategy based on reason and evidence guided by the durable science of capital markets. Third, it’s grounded in our fiduciary obligation to serve our clients’ highest financial interests. > SEE MORE
Waypoint Wealth Management
With another quarter of our financial journey behind us (the first quarter of the ‘new’ year), we wanted to pass along a few thoughts regarding what’s going on right now versus what is always true in our opinion.
At this moment, we can compare and contrast the current quarter-end to recent ones. As a Wall Street Journal article summarized, “Stock investors have been on a wild ride the past six or so months: The S&P 500 has gone from a record high, to being on the cusp of a bear market, to being back within striking distance of its recent peak.”
At this moment, financial headlines are closely watching what’s in store for Brexit, the shape of the U.S. Treasury yield curve, China trade talks, and other potential slowdowns and stimuli.
At this moment, a financial commentator proposed a new “golden cross” is supposedly signaling a bull market ahead, based on comparing “moving averages”. Noting the historical data isn’t sufficient to be telling, the author admits (emphasis ours): “The crosses derive their power not because there is something inherent but because many investors believe in them and act on them. Moreover, the media like the stories of golden crosses and death crosses, and promote them. This generates bullish or bearish sentiment.”
Seriously? Then there’s our perspective. > SEE MORE