Time in the market, not timing the market

If ever there was a week that exemplified why trying to time the market is and always will be the ultimate fool’s errand, it was this past one. Let’s assume you invested $100,000 on Monday and decided you were going to check your account balance everyday to assess your progress. The stock market as measured by the S&P 500 opened Monday morning at 1050. By Tuesday morning the market had declined to 1042 in another highly volatile week, and as a helpless victim of today’s 24/7 media driven, “what am I worth this second” world you were $750 less wealthy. Your net worth wouldn’t improve much on Wednesday either as another attempt at a market rally was spoiled in another late day selloff driven by the institutional money managers and computers that dominate the day-to-day market mania. To the wise investor who held tough on their convictions Thursday was the payoff. In just one day the market rallied nearly 3%. It is so often the case that much of the entire year’s returns come from just a few of the trading days. This is why it pays to have confidence in your strategy and stay calm during fluctuations. On the other side of the token, it is equally important to note that the, “I’m just going to wait till things improve before I invest” mindset usually guarantees one thing: below average returns.