Duke Kahanamoku really knew how to catch a wave. August 24th was the birthday of the father of surfing. He won five Olympic medals and once single-handedly saved eight people from drowning in what was called the "most heroic act in surfing" at the time.

August 24th was a historic (sort of) day in the market, with a large undertow. After last week's stock market swoon and the market volatility this week, some of you may feel like you are drowning. Call your wealth manager!

The truth is, we've had a year (or more) of an eddying, gentle tide in the market. We have not had our usual amount of stormy weather. In a usual year, the market will likely drop 5% or more quickly, unexpectedly, and more than once likely. Last week's decline was right in line with a usual decline.

The causes of the decline are listed in the economic section, below, but mostly amount to rationalization after the fact. No one can explain it. No one knows before, during, or after what will cause the market to behave the way it is behaving over the short haul. It's like predicting a wildfire, or an avalanche, or the next big wave. On average, over long periods of time, the patient are rewarded and the short-term timers are punished.

Here's a chart from JP Morgan that describes it well. The dots are the declines during the year and the bars are the year-end returns. Over the years, the stock market has rewarded the investors who can ride the waves.