March Madness!

I love college basketball, and March is a time when even the most mature grown-ups have an excuse to let their inner kid out again. Putting together "brackets" and predicting who will win has almost as many practitioners and methods as the stock market. Perhaps a "random walk" is as good as any other way to play with your office pool: "Remember that a four-year-old and/or quarter could probably do better."

Stock markets are mostly up in the beginning of March after being down a majority of 2016 so far--for reasons that are incomprehensible to all but the most shameless prognosticators. In other words, the markets are behaving as they always do: unpredictably over short periods of time.

Look at what time does to a portfolio: Over five-year periods, stocks are up the majority of the time. Over 20-year timelines, they are usually up much more. In fact, on average, every 20-year period in the stock market has increased a portfolio by at least seven times...every $100k became, on average, more than $700k.(1) And, in many instances, worth more multiples of even that lofty number.

The price we pay for that is that we have to survive January, February, and March Madness. So how are you doing? Are you hanging in there? Or are you reading, listening, and paying attention to the short-term prognosticators who know no more than the rest of us, but say it with flair!

Enjoy this link to a story by Dr. Tom Howard ("Dealing with Volaphobia") on the reasons we investors, naturally, do worse than our investments.

Citation
1-"Dealing with Volaphobia" by Dr. Tom Howard, 2011.

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