It was the best of times, it was the worst of times. So begins the Charles Dickens classic “A Tale of Two Cities“. Which by the way I haven’t read. Have you?
Recently we’ve seen some good times and bad times in the stock market.
On Thursday, January 3rd, 2019 the S&P 500 (an index of the 500 largest US stocks) was down 2.48%
On Friday the front page headline in the Wall Street Journal read:
Then the very next day, Friday January 4th, the same index was up 3.43%
Saturday’s headline read:
So what can we expect over the next days/weeks/months?
Will the markets be up, down, or sideways?
Many prognosticators purport to have a crystal ball that can predict short term gyrations in the market. I don’t.
What I do know is that missing even a handful of the best days in the stock market can markedly reduce your portfolio’s performance over time.
When do the best of times happen in the stock market?
Historically, a lot of them occur in the midst of the worst of times.
In the words of my wonderful CFP® instructor Alan Ioffredo:
“Volatility, while uncomfortable, isn’t loss; it’s merely the toll exacted on the road to financial independence.”
Pay the toll. Stay the course.