“Make It Stop”

Every time the stock market falls, no really, every single time, a friend of mine texts me the same thing: “Make it stop.” And every time I tell him the same thing- “You should hope stocks go a lot lower.”

For people still contributing to their retirement accounts, they shouldn’t fear lower prices, they should pray for them.

Let’s look at a real world hypothetical example.

I sorted all twenty-year rolling returns for the S&P 500 and plucked returns near the median. Stocks had nearly identical compound annual growth rates in the twenty years from December 1933-November 1953 and December 1954-November 1973 (10.791%/10.779%).The chart below shows that $1 invested had the same ending values over each of these twenty-year periods.

The next chart shows what would have happened (this is make believe land) if an investor started with $100 and bought stocks every month, increasing their contributions by 0.5% with each purchase.

Although they had the same compound annual growth rate, the one that got the pain out of the way early was left with 65% more money after 20 years.

The massive difference is due to the timing of market declines. The gray line experienced a brutal bear market in the fourth year (1937) while the other didn’t experience one until the 16th year, when the percent decline had a much bigger effect on the overall dollars.

Of course the path of stocks are completely out of our control, and it’s worth mentioning the obvious; what’s good for people contributing to their portfolios is not good for people who are drawing from them.

Young investors should not try to avoid lower prices, they should welcome them with open arms. And while it sure feels good to see stocks go higher every month, what feels best in the present isn’t what’s best for us in the future.

If you’re a young person and you need help getting started, talk to us here. 

This content, which contains security-related opinions and/or information, is provided for informational purposes only and should not be relied upon in any manner as professional advice, or an endorsement of any practices, products or services. There can be no guarantees or assurances that the views expressed here will be applicable for any particular facts or circumstances, and should not be relied upon in any manner. You should consult your own advisers as to legal, business, tax, and other related matters concerning any investment.

The commentary in this “post” (including any related blog, podcasts, videos, and social media) reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints, and analyses of the Ritholtz Wealth Management employees providing such comments, and should not be regarded the views of Ritholtz Wealth Management LLC. or its respective affiliates or as a description of advisory services provided by Ritholtz Wealth Management or performance returns of any Ritholtz Wealth Management Investments client.

References to any securities or digital assets, or performance data, are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute an investment recommendation or offer to provide investment advisory services. Charts and graphs provided within are for informational purposes solely and should not be relied upon when making any investment decision. Past performance is not indicative of future results. The content speaks only as of the date indicated. Any projections, estimates, forecasts, targets, prospects, and/or opinions expressed in these materials are subject to change without notice and may differ or be contrary to opinions expressed by others.

The Compound Media, Inc., an affiliate of Ritholtz Wealth Management, receives payment from various entities for advertisements in affiliated podcasts, blogs and emails. Inclusion of such advertisements does not constitute or imply endorsement, sponsorship or recommendation thereof, or any affiliation therewith, by the Content Creator or by Ritholtz Wealth Management or any of its employees. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. For additional advertisement disclaimers see here: https://www.ritholtzwealth.com/advertising-disclaimers

Please see disclosures here.