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What we don’t know:
We don’t know what the markets will do next week, or next year. We don’t know what will be the best sector, stock, asset class, or the star manager. We can’t promise that our recommended investments will ‘outperform’.
Nor can anyone else.
What we do know:
Obsessing about the short term is why the average investor earns fractions of what the markets provide for returns. For the 20 years up to Dec 2008, that difference was 8.35% for the S&P 500 (US$) vs. 1.87% for the average mutual fund investor (US$) according to the Dalbar study, which is produced annually.
Security selection (or manager selection) has little to do with the long-term success of your investment plan. 90% of the determinant of your real long-term return success is determined by the management of asset mix. It’s not that security selection isn’t important, it’s just that it’s less important to long-term success than managing your personal asset mix and holding the course over the life of your investment timeline.