Consider a scenario with two investors, each reviewing their portfolio annually, but in different months – the first investor in January and the second in July. The figure below illustrates the experienced after inflation return of a balanced portfolio over the 12 months leading up to the respective investor’s review.
‘Happy’ = positive after inflation returns, ‘Sad’ = negative after inflation returns.
Both investors saw a negative 12-month return below inflation around 1/3rd of the time, though the experience of each investor would have been, at times, quite different. Having invested over this time period both investors would both have enjoyed a return of 4.3% above inflation.
Lackluster, or negative, returns can – understandably - leave investors feeling down, confused, or even frustrated with the result. In contrast, consistent positive returns can lure one into the false sense that markets never take back. They do, and with quite a magnitude. Having the patience and fortitude to stick with a well thought out plan and robust investment solution can be a challenging, but ultimately rewarding, part of being an investor.
Stick with the plan, accepting there will be highs and lows. Investing is a journey.
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