If you haven’t ready the colossal epic book about WWI, All Quiet on the Western Front, you might want to give it a go. Erich Remarque’s novel about the horrors of war and the effort to remain alive while both witnessing and causing indescribable carnage is intense. The book catapults you to that time and place.
Because of the enormous personal sharing by the German Soldiers in the book, one wonders exactly how the story could have been spun. In the middle of it all they found time for positive events in their lives to emerge. Their experiences made me think about how Wall Street works, how they spin everything for their benefit.
I have read with great interest reports about the recent volatility of the market and the spin put on them by Wall Street and their gang of sales reps. My favorite, “the market will come back” is an indication that brokers are clearly without any information that is meaningful. We are speaking of real money owned by real people whose future is controlled by literally no one. It is all a guess, true, it is a guess with a lot of research and a lot of experts helping, but it is still a guess.
Ask yourself this question: What happens to my significant retirement money if it suddenly takes a loss when I depend on it the most? Does Wall Street come to your rescue? Will they cover your losses? Sorry, you are on your own, drifting in a sea of “professional” guesswork.
Here is some industry insight for you. Volatility is back, in the first 15 days of September, 80% of the S&P 500 moved either higher or lower. In the last 25 years, the index has not had a 15-day period like this.
I read a recent article with my tongue in cheek about a respected financial columnist saying “remember, historically the ups of the market have outweighed the downs.” What total nonsense this is, possible he is correct but as we look back, what if one of those downs affected you! What would happen to your financial security if you didn’t have time to “ride it out?”
I suppose it all depends on your time horizon, if you have 30 years, no worries, you have time. But what if you will need these funds in 10 years? 5 years? Then what will the Wall Street experts be telling you? I know what they will say because it is all over the internet and my television, be patient, don’t panic, hold the course. You can translate that into another language, a language only brokers understand. “Don’t move your money because as long as it is invested with me, I make money!”
Turbulence, volatility, how long will this be the theme with our investments? How do you put it into perspective? I have no issues with investing in companies that help our economy and make our country great, but I do have a big problem with the spin the Wall Street gang put on it. On August 24, the S&P 500 lost 3.2% of its value. The next day down another 4%. What would that mean to you as your neared needing those funds for retirement?
The market has had a long and unexpected ascent, no question about it. But corrections are not an indication of what the market will do; it is just that, a correction. It is easy to be lulled into thinking that the market only goes up. History has proved that wrong, the market does lose value, and it does correct.
Make sure your event horizon is matched up with your current allocation. Remember, everyone runs to safety sometime. It might be a good time for you to take a long and serious look at your asset allocation and see if it matches your horizon.