Friday, January 23, 2009

Overheard

I overheard a money manager stating the importance of staying invested so that investors can catch the first meteoric rise off the bottom.....paraphrased......"being in such lifts off the bottom are important to not underperform the benchmark indices."

As individual investors, we are not compared in any mandatory way to any benchmark indices. Any such comparison is done voluntarily--or perhaps under durress by a spouse who wonders about our competency--sometimes with good reason. Assuming a measure of competency which has schooled us into stepping aside lest we get flattened by an avalanche of selling activity, we have a heckuva lot outperformance goodwill accrued as we've sidestepped a wholesale 40%+ haircut on our portfolio. Why, then, should we feel compelled to step into the opaque and turbulent waters of a market uncertain as to if its next move is up or down?

Why are there few money managers willing to say such? Who's to know. But even forgetting about any of that, and I do not believe in benchmark performance against indices. Relative outperformance against an absolute loss of dollars is a hollow victory. John Hussman is astute in pointing out that the best way to compare the performance of one's money manager is over the course of an ENTIRE cycle. Makes sense to me.

3 comments:

russell1200 said...

If you are invested in index type funds then being in the market during its upswings probably is relatively important.

However, if you are selectively investing, it is also true that it is usually only a handful of stocks and one or two sectors that lead the charge.

But of course a lot depends on what your alternatives are. If you can get a CD at 3% from your credit union in these deflationary times, it's a little hard to see why the small investor wouldn't do so.

The compounding return on the stock (not the average) market is only around 4%. Not insane 10% that has often been touted.

Leisa said...

My point was simply from the perspective of standing aside during the carnage, there really isn't any need to catch the upswing off the bottom.

I imagine that if one positions themselves so that they actively manage their positions so that they sell when classic sell signals flash, then the compounding is greatly improved. The smart money does not rely on those paltry compounding and gets the heck out of dodge when the fan gets hit with the stuff.

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