The conventional wisdom in the investment business is that you can’t handle the truth. Our whole business is built around the idea that you CAN handle the truth. Some were born that way, and others may be trained to handle the truth. The stakes are quite high, because those who can handle the truth about investing may be more likely to enjoy success at it.
We humans do have some tendencies which are both deeply rooted and counterproductive to informed investing. The easy path for us would be to pander to those tendencies, affirm them, pat you on the back and take your money. Here are some examples of that:
“They” (the adherents of flawed conventional wisdom) promote the idea that the pain of a loss is twice as great as the pleasure of a similarly sized gain.
“They” speak of temporary downturns as if they were actual losses, a disservice to long term investors.
“They” promote the idea that arithmetic works against investors, since a 20% loss must be followed by a 25% gain in order to break even.
“They” sacrifice total returns on the altar of expensive new products or stagnant investments in the hopes of reducing volatility.
We, on the other hand, believe you can handle the truth. Our experience confirms this. Here is the truth:
1. Long term investing always involves living with volatility, there is no way around it.
2. The ‘pain of a loss’ is optional—it may be offset by the joy of finding bargains, or ignored in the confident knowledge that downturns are temporary. The economy and markets always muddle through and eventually recover.
3. According to Standard & Poor’s records, over the century’s experience with the Dow Jones Average, so far every 20% loss has been followed by a greater than 25% gain.
4. Investing for the long term in accordance with proven principles, using timeless strategies and timely tactics, in a manner that can get you to your goals, is the right way to do it.
We believe that people who keep some money in the bank, and who know where their needed cash flow will come from, can usually live with our methods and strategies with at least some part of their wealth. And we know that others may not be able to do it. Some lack the confidence that the system will endure, others just cannot tolerate fluctuating account values. It takes all kinds to make the world.
Our aim is to add value to those who can handle the truth, as we’ve defined it here. We work hard to educate and train and impart perspective and context…and it has worked. As always, if you have questions or comments, please write or call.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual. All performance referenced is historical and is no guarantee of future results. All indices are unmanaged and may not be invested into directly. No strategy assures success or protects against loss.