Clients and long-time followers already know one year of performance is really a nano-second of investing time. However, it’s instructive to look back on 2023 to see what happened in that snapshot of time. The US stock market was up 26.1%1 for the year. Not bad. If you invested $1,000,000 in the US market on January 1st, 2023, fell asleep, and woke up on January 1st, 2024, your account would have a value of $1,261,000. This would have been quite a pleasant surprise to wake up to. However, if you checked your account every month, your experience (mental and financial) was very different. Your portfolio would have lost value in February, August, September, and October. One-third of the months, you would have been frustrated with the returns. From August through October, your portfolio would been down 9.1%! Seeing $1,000,000 fall to $909,000 in a short three-month period may have freaked you out. In October, we got a few calls from newer clients worried about the market and wondering if we should take action.

Then November and December happened. The market ended up returning 15.2% over those two months. 58% of the gain for the year occurred in November and December. If you had sold after the 9.1% market decline, you would have missed over half the entire market premium for the year. Bouncing in and out of the market is a loser’s game. Let me repeat: bouncing in and out of the market is a loser’s game. Staying committed to the long view is a winning strategy over time.

The market behaves unpredictably every year, but two things remain true. First, markets are volatile and can go up and down very quickly. Second, investors are compensated with higher returns by staying invested in the market and observing the risk of volatile equity markets.

Keep in mind that even a one-year time frame is a short period. Equity markets can underperform short-term government bonds for over a decade. Taking the long view means not just staying invested for months or even years, but throughout an investment lifetime.


1CRSP US Total Stock Market

This information is educational and does not intend to make an offer for the sale of any specific securities, investments, or strategies.  Investments involve risk and, past performance is not indicative of future performance. Return will be reduced by advisory fees and any other expenses incurred in the management of a client’s account. Consult with a qualified financial adviser before implementing any investment strategy

Hill Investment Group