As we head into year end it's a great time to take a step back and look at the big picture. Here are our thoughts on what worked, what didn't, and what to do right now...
This year we were inundated with one doomsday headline after another about the end of days and the certain disaster that was to be of 2023.
It was a bumpy one to say the least.
Was it unusual?
These temporary declines occur about once every 12 months over the last 40+ years with the average peak to trough decline of about 14% each year.
Despite this year's ups and downs, the S&P 500 is up almost 20% year to date...and, as of this writing, just closed within 1% of it's ALL TIME HIGH.
Yes you read that correctly.
That means that, financially speaking, this entire fear mongering doomsday panic driven last three years has been totally erased.
That's freaking amazing!
And yet totally consistent with every single other selloff in history.
To be clear, we are only referencing the S&P 500 as not everything has made it back to all time highs...yet (small caps, international etc.), but make no mistake, they certainly will.
Opportunity abounds right now to put cash to work.
In addition, interest rates (and inflation) have likely peaked.
These two essential truths are paramount to successful lifetime investing and were reinforced in spades in 2023.
Essentially, staying the course and ignoring the noise worked yet again.
As your financial advisory team, we believe this was our best year yet. Not only did we hold the line for every client during the last three years of total chaos, but we made substantial improvements as a team and added a lot of value through new and improved services.
For starters in 2023, we brought back Gg Social Media in a big way. This is not only fun for us, but helps us connect and educate on a variety of levels. Follow along on Facebook, Instagram, X (Twitter) and LinkedIn!
We introduced Cash Management Services through our Gg CMA (Cash Management Account) to massive demand helping you better manage your cash and get a much better yield on your savings than what is offered at banks. The Gg CMA is currently yielding 5.25%.
We added Tax Management Services to help clients better manage, streamline and track quarterly tax payments.
We expanded our Family Services. These services that provide complete access to our team and resources for your loved ones and family members including children (NextGen), siblings, and parents in need of financial advice or simply a second opinion.
We added a host of improvements to our annual reviews as well as a slew of new and improved services for our ultra high net worth clientele.
And last, but certainly not least, our advice to you, during the scariest of times and times of utmost greed, was and is...on point.
Not just this year, but consistently over time.
In short, our philosophy, our strategy and our process works.
So what are the three key pillars to our (and your) success?
Keep reading, we'll reveal our "secret formula" below.
The best part is we're just getting started continuing to improve and there's plenty more to come from Gg as well as a ton of reasons to be optimistic heading into 2024.
With that being said, let's look at what didn't work in 2023.
Here's a short list:
Successful lifetime investing, and the core philosophy and strategy here at Gg boils down to three key pillars. The combination of which not only worked wonders in 2023, but over the last three tumultuous years as well.
The first is patience.
The last three years have been an extreme test. Bear markets, bubbles, scary headlines, record inflation, skyrocketing mortgage rates, and volatility. That's what has defined the 2020s thus far.
Not only are we sitting less than 1% from all time highs right now, but guess what the annualized return has been this decade for the S&P 500?
Roughly 10% per year.
All you had to do to earn it was literally own it.
It's why we advocate so ardently for staying the course.
If ever there was a time that patience was rewarded it was just last month. When things seemed most bleak we got a years worth of returns in just over 4 weeks.
Reminding us once again that the market can't be timed.
The reality is these market declines are temporary and only made permanent with behavioral mistakes of giving in to the fear and abandoning your plan and portfolio.
Successful lifetime investing is hard.
We exist to provide you perspective during these important times and design portfolios based on your life NOT the market.
So a simple take away from all of this regardless of what is happening in the news or the market day to day is:
If your goals haven't changed... neither should your portfolio.
The second of the three critical pillars of successful lifetime investing that worked wonders in 2023 is discipline.
The temptation is real during bad times to abandon a professionally designed diversified portfolio only to pick it up later when things are better.
This is the time when you are building true wealth through the relentless compounding of your investments.
Albert Einstein called compound interest the 8th wonder of the world.
A penny doubling every day for 10 days = $5.12.
A penny doubling every day for 30 days = $5,368,709.12.
The same power of compounding works in your portfolio...and in your life.
It’s truly magical, if you let it be.
As Charlie Monger famously said,
“The first rule of compounding is to never interrupt it unnecessarily.”
People focus on the wrong thing in investing.
Everyone focuses on their yearly return.
However, what we should be focusing on is years of return.
Compounding wealth year over year and decade over decade is what matters most.
It is not easy, but the discipline to stay the course and tune out the noise is where the wealth was made in 2023 and will continue be made in the future.
It’s not just the ability to remain invested during fearful times, but the discipline to ignore the temptation of making mistakes that matters most. It takes a combination of patience and discipline combined with one more key component to put it all together...
Patience and discipline are completely wasted if you succumb to the mother of all fears that “it’s different this time.” That’s the last bastion of a failed plan and the four most dangerous words when it comes to successful lifetime investing.
Faith in the future is the most critical of the three successful lifetime investing pillars.
Without it, you are doomed to fail.
Regardless of the storm in the media or the market on a given day, our advice to you is calm and consistent and because...
It’s never "different this time."
The emotions, or events, that you feel in the heat of the moment, like all others before and all that come after… will pass.
If you're sitting on excess cash, give us a call and let's put it to work. Your future self will thank you immensely for the courage to invest in the face of relentless pessimism.
Otherwise, stay the course, focus on what you can control and enjoy your life.
Maximizing your financial life comes down to three simple things:
I wish I could say the road ahead will be an easy one, but we know that's not true. There will be other media driven panics. There will be plenty of new and improved crisis (both real and imagined) that we will endure and work through.
Life will continue to throw us curveballs.
The process of financial life planning is never ending. It's one foot in front of the other, taking life as it comes with the foundational cornerstones of patience, discipline and unwavering faith in the future.
The good news is, together, we can handle whatever comes our way. Helping you make adjustments, and develop habits that, like your investments, will compound dramatically over time.
We're here with you every step of the way.
As ultimately our sole purpose as your advisor is you living a flexible, happy, and fulfilled life without worry about money.
It's what we do and why we exist.
Thank you for hanging in there with us.