By Russell Cole, CLU, ChFC
Studies of World Cup soccer show that, during penalty kicks, the shot on goal is directed relatively evenly between kicks to the right, to the left, and directly at the goalie. In other words, about 30% of the time the ball is kicked directly at the goalie. However, the goalie, in anticipation, will dive either to the left or to the right nearly 95% of the time to stop the shot. Why the need to dive? Because even if they miss the ball, the fact that they did something feels better than doing nothing.
The same bias toward action can sometimes detract from the long-term success of investors. When the market moves significantly, the question many investors tend to ask is “What should I do?” Especially when markets are moving down, the clear desire is to do something. Often, though, the things we choose to do during the scary times cause us to depart from the original plan and we may end up even further from our goals.
During the 3rd quarter, we had our first true market correction in U.S. stocks in about 4 years – a drop from top to bottom of over 10%. Memories of the turbulence of 2008 and 2011 are not all that distant, but many of us had grown comfortable with the lack of volatility these past several years. As the market fell, the natural question: “Should I be doing anything differently?”
We're pleased when you ask us. We want to discuss the plan. The fact is, when we set up your plan, we accounted for the turbulent times. We diversified. We systematically invest when we can, resulting in valuable dollar cost averaging. We rebalance. We utilize established, active money managers. Turbulence can create dislocation in asset prices and genuine opportunities for experienced managers. All put together, the bottom line is we have a plan, and when chaos seems to rule the markets and we feel like we're doing nothing, we are actually moving forward according to that plan. No diving necessary.
These quarterly notes offer us the opportunity to say thank you. We genuinely appreciate the opportunity you’ve given us to assist you with your investment management and financial planning needs. Please continue to teach us how we can serve you best.