I’m asked periodically what I think of “market timing” or “active management” versus a straight buy and hold philosophy.
My first response is usually to ask for a definition of those terms. While it may be obvious to the person asking the question, if you ask 3 people you’ll get 3 different answers.
In this week’s video, I propose some definitions, but also share that while I think active management is preferable over your traditional buy & hold, market timing is great in theory but hard to execute in the real world.
Click to watch my video.
Good morning! Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management and today I want to talk about active management; and what’s the role of that, what’s the place in someone’s portfolio; and frankly can “timing” be done, and done successfully?
Let me just tell you that in a previous life, a different company that I was involved in the late 90’s and early 2000’s, we were known as the market timing firm. And we were extremely successful at that. And so, I know first-hand that market timing, with the right players and in the right environment, can be very successful. However, most people cannot market time on their own. And market timing, traditionally is meant to be when to go in and out of the market, whether it’s short term; meaning a day or two or a week or even longer term; month, quarter or year; going between stocks and bonds and cash, etc. whether that’s with mutual funds, etc. That’s kind of a traditional discussion of market timing. You know, I think that those that can successfully market time are very small. But I do believe it can be done it’s just very, very difficult. And it is extremely difficult for an individual investor to do it on their own, on their own portfolio. I use an example, whenever I need some legal work done, if I try to do it myself, I’m not going to be successful. Does that mean that legal work is not successful? No. I have to go to a lawyer, someone who is trained and is unemotional about the particular problem or issue that I might have. But, as Mark Twain said, “A lawyer who represents himself has a fool for a client.” Well, what he’s really saying is a lawyer should not represent himself. So it’s very difficult when you’re emotional about an issue to handle it on your own. That’s why I think a professional adviser makes sense even if that person is doing some market timing.
I do allocations within sectors. And I’m usually almost always invested but I’m trying to weight, kind of tilt, one sector over another; whether it’s large cap, small cap, or mid-cap. What I don’t do is go 100% stock one day and 100% cash the next day, or even week by week. I think that that is a skill that is extremely hard to do and a lot of times it just isn’t very successful. I’m not sure that the environment today is the same environment that it was ten and twenty years ago.
Unfortunately, the statistics out there show that investors who try to time the market on their own are 20% less successful than if they had just done a “buy-and-hold.” (Source: Barry Mendelson, CIMA, CMC EResearch, “Dangers of Market Timing,” 4/29/2008.) And once investors become active, this study that I just read a week or two ago, says that 40% admit that they’re probably too active and that they’ve hurt themselves. (Source: Helen Modly, CFP, CWPA, Focus Wealth Management, Ltd., “How the Wealthy Avoid Behavioral Bias: 7 Strategies,” 2/13/2012.) So, I do, … I’m kind of giving a “waffle-y” answer here; I do believe it’s possible, it is extremely difficult. I believe that a better solution is probably to be well diversified and to tilt particular sectors one way or the other and be very well diversified. I do work with some good managers that I’m very pleased with their particular approach and I’d be happy to talk with you about them and the way that they manage money, not in a market timing situation but in a good active management situation where it’s deciding what are the “tilts” and the “weights” of that particular diversification.
Hopefully this video made sense and clarified things a little bit; either way, give me a call if you’d like to talk about it. I just absolutely love hearing from you and hearing from your friends. So pass it on to someone if you think that they could have some value from this video. 303-747-6455, my name is Mike Brady, here in Boulder, Colorado. You have a wonderful, wonderful week. Thanks! Bye, bye.
If you’ve been following my newsletters over the years, you know I believe in diversification and that one of the key ingredients to reaching your goals is to avoid catastrophic financial events.
It’s important to note, as the table above illustrates, that not every investment has to make money. Limiting the size and number of the losses is important, and if avoiding any kind of loss at any time is your strategy, then you’ll always be on the sidelines.
Risk management is key, and with that it is understanding some investments will do different things at different times, and not all will be winners in each time frame. Keeping your eye on both winners and losers and replacing them when necessary is a standard ingredient in prudent portfolio management.
Are you a “lane changer”? In traffic, he’s the guy who’s constantly changing lanes, expending a lot of energy but doesn’t really get ahead.
We all know we’re supposed to “buy low and sell high”, but unfortunately your average investor doesn’t do that. When we look at the flows into and out of equity funds we find that people are pouring tons of money in when the markets are high and withdrawing at market bottoms.
Why? By the time people feel comfortable with the direction of the market (investor confidence is increasing), they’re looking at recent past data and many times the “upward movement” has already occurred. A little late. Same deal on market declines.
I happen to believe in active management, but you’ve got to be disciplined and unemotional, and that’s tough to do!
In this week’s video, I expand upon these thoughts and even have some pretty graphs imbedded for you. Watch it please, and don’t be a investment lane changer!!
Hi there, Mike Brady with Generosity Wealth Management. And I this week I want to talk about staying the course, OK? About six months ago I did a video about conviction, in which really I asked the question “what do you really believe in?” “What do you really stand for?” What is that line in the stand? And that could be in your own life; that could be in your financial life. It’s really a question that I think could have lots of areas where it’s applicable but right now it’s really about investing.
I’m going to throw a chart up in just a few seconds here, but most people do the wrong thing at the wrong time. And I don’t want you to be that dumb money, I want you to be the smart money. And people always say, “Oh I buy low and sell high.” But frankly most people throw lots of money into funds when it’s at a high, when they feel comfortable, like, “oh, yeah man, the market did so well the last year or two, and I’m going to throw lots of money in…” because they expect it’s going to continue to go up. And they think that the market is actually linear; meaning if it’s gone up, it’s going to continue to go up, or if it’s gone down, it’s going to continue to go down- and that’s just not the case! It goes up, it goes down, it goes sideways! And real people also withdraw money, you know, usually at the bottom. And so this is a good indicator, frankly, when people are taking money out, the contrarian in me, I say, maybe I want to invest in that. That’s a good buying opportunity. Warren Buffet has a famous phrase, “be greedy when others are fearful and fearful when others are greedy.”
And the chart, I’m going to throw it up there right now. You’ll notice, at certain times, I’ve circled them, the market has gone up, that’s the line, and then the bars are the money flows, in and out. And you’ll notice that the bars are the highest when the market is at the highest, which is what you don’t want. And then the, (sorry about that, I just hit my microphone) and then when the market is at a low is when people are taking all their money out- which of course is the exact opposite.
So, have discipline, please. Be the smart money.
I’m happy to help you with that. I talk with my clients all the time and I do these videos and these newsletters to really have good communication, good education, so we can go through this with as little emotion as we can, but of course we’re human. We’re not a bunch of Vulcans running around! But, let’s have our course, we’re at Point A, where are we going to Point B? Let’s go there.
My wife said something the other day at breakfast that I just thought was wonderful, which is, “you know if you’re going down the road, and you’re in traffic, and have you ever noticed that person who’s jumping from one lane to the other, trying to get ahead of everybody else? Well, a lot of time’s they are expending an awful lot of effort and not getting any further.” And it’s so satisfying, frankly, when you’re just sitting there, staying the course, and you just keep passing this guy. Well, I want you to be that person.
So, anyway, 303-747-6455, Mike Brady is my name, I’m the President of Generosity Wealth Management. I serve the Boulder, Denver, Longmont area here in Colorado, but I’m in many different states. Perhaps I’m already registered in your state and have clients in your state, if not, let’s have that conversation. I’m looking to grow my business and I hope to do the best job that I can for you, I really care, I’ll treat you like my family. 303-747-6455. You have a wonderful, wonderful week, thank you, bye bye.