Atlantic Capital Management

Atlantic Capital Management (84)

Thursday, 08 October 2015 16:10

Keeping All This Volatility in Perspective

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These recent ups & downs are reminiscent of past Wall Street swings.

Fall might be anything but calm on Wall Street. Volatility is back, in a big way: the CBOE VIX has risen more than 105% since the end of July. Additionally, 11 of the 15 trading days ending September 9 were “all or nothing” days in which more than 80% of the S&P 500 moved either higher or lower. In the last 25 years, the index has not had a 15-day period like this.1,2

Contrast that with the first 159 trading days of 2015, in which just 13 such days occurred according to Bespoke Investment Group research. In fact, during the first half of 2015 the Dow Jones Industrial Average was never more than 3.5% up or down YTD, on pace for the most placid year in its history.2 

Writing in the Financial Times, the noted economist and portfolio manager Mohamed El-Erian recently identified a few factors driving these market swings – factors that may not subside anytime soon. Fundamentally, he cited the “spreading economic slowdown” in China and other emerging markets “eroding a fundamental underpinning of high and stable asset prices” – and bursting some asset bubbles in the process. Markets can be roiled with the emergence of “major global challenges away from the direct reach of the U.S. Federal Reserve and the ECB,” he adds, as too many (institutional) investors look to central bank activity for either direction or reassurance. Lastly, investors worldwide are wondering if the Fed will raise short-term interest rates next week.3

So, this turbulence may persist for several more weeks or months. How does an investor cope with it? It helps to put all of this recent volatility into perspective.

Remember that historically, the ups of the market have outweighed the downs. If your time horizon is relatively long, this particular fact may provide encouragement: as Ibbotson notes, since 1926 there has never been a 20-year stretch in which a diversified portfolio invested in large U.S. firms has had a negative inflation-adjusted total return. From 1926-2014, such a model portfolio (with dividends encompassing roughly 40% of the total return) yielded approximately 10% a year on average.4 

These recent ups & downs compare to others. On August 24, the S&P 500 lost 3.2% and was down more than 4% during the course of the day. That was quite troubling, but not quite extraordinary: it was the fifty-fifth day since 1983 in which the broad benchmark had dropped 3.5% or more in a trading session.4,5

How has the S&P recovered from days like these? Historically speaking, it has recovered more often than not. Looking at the 12-month periods after the preceding 54 such trading days, there were 45 year-over-year advances and 9 year-over-year retreats.  How far did the S&P fall, on average, during those 12-month retreats? The answer is 7.7%. How high did it rise, on average, during those 45 annualized ascents? A remarkable 27.6%. So while history tells us nothing of tomorrow, it does seem that the S&P has recovered amazingly well from the bulk of its major one-day drops in the last 32 years.4

After a long, steady ascent, it is easy to become lulled into thinking that the market only goes up. We all know differently, but even so it can be a rude awakening when the major indices rollercoaster or plunge. Even so, we should be patient rather than let emotion take over. As the late Paul Harvey said, “In times like these, it helps to recall that there have always been times like these.”6

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment. 

Citations.

1 - investing.com/indices/volatility-s-p-500-historical-data [9/10/15]
2 - cnbc.com/2015/09/10/this-market-is-setting-a-wild-volatility-record.html [9/10/15]
3 - cnbc.com/2015/09/08/why-higher-market-volatility-is-the-new-norm.html [9/8/15]
5 - thestreet.com/story/13263507/1/stocks-end-brutal-week-as-market-nears-correction.html [8/21/15]
6 - content.time.com/time/arts/article/0,8599,1882444,00.html [3/1/09]

Wednesday, 16 September 2015 00:00

Saving Early & Letting Time Work for You

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The earlier you start pursuing financial goals, the better your outcome may be.

 

 As a young investor, you have a powerful ally on your side: time. When you start saving and investing for retirement in your twenties or thirties, you can put it to work for you. 

The effect of compounding is huge. Most people underestimate it, so it is worth illustrating. We will use reasonable annual return rates to do so – we will assume an investor can earn an average of 6-7% a year on his or her portfolio.   

What if you invest $500 a month at age 25 & realize a 6% annual return? Under those hypothetical conditions, you would become a millionaire at age 65. To be precise, you would need to invest $499.64 per month starting at age 25 and keep it up for 40 years.1

At age 25, saving and investing $500 each month may seem like a luxury. It is closer to a necessity. In 2055, having $1 million or more saved up for retirement may be essential. Over 40 years, inflation will make $1 million worth less than it is today. The good news is that if your investments return more than 6% in a year, you could reach and surpass that $1 million mark faster.

It need not take 40 years for compounding to make a difference for you. Shortening the timeline of this hypothetical example, after ten years of saving and investing $500 a month at a 6% annual return, you would end up with $81,939.67 compared to the $60,000 you would realize from merely saving the cash sans investment.2

The earlier you start, the greater the compounding potential. If you start saving and investing for retirement in your twenties, you gain a definite compounding advantage over someone who waits to save and invest until his or her thirties. Another comparison bears this out.

Take two investors, both contributing $200 per month into their retirement accounts. One does this for 40 years starting at age 25. The other does this for 30 years starting at age 35. Again, we assume a 6% annual return for each account. The investor who starts at 25 winds up with $402,492 at age 65, while the one who started at 35 amasses just $203,118 over 30 years.3

Just ten years of difference in the start time, yet the money almost doubles by age 65. This is a compelling argument for starting to save for retirement (and other goals) as early as possible.

Even if you start early & then stop, you may out-save those who begin later. What if you contribute $5,000 to a retirement account yearly starting at age 25 and then stop at age 35 – no new money going into the account for the next 30 years? That is hardly ideal, yet should it happen, you still might come out ahead of someone who begins saving for retirement later.

As J.P. Morgan Asset Management research notes, an investor who consistently directs $5,000 a year in a retirement account from age 25-35 with a 7% continued annual return ends up with $602,070 at age 65 even if contributions cease after age 35. The really startling part: that investor actually amasses more retirement savings than an investor who steadily contributes $5,000 a year from age 35-65 at the same rate of return – he or she realizes just $540,741.1  

This is all worth noting, because many millennials seem wary of investing. This spring, a Bankrate MoneyPulse survey indicated that only 26% of Americans under age 30 are investing in equities. In July 2014, another Bankrate survey found that Americans 18-29 favored cash investments (i.e., bank accounts and bank-based investment vehicles) above all others. Student loans and child-rearing costs reduce investing potential for many millennials, but as these survey results hint, some are cynical about the whole investment process.4,5

If you were born in the late eighties to early nineties, you are old enough to remember the dot-com bust of the early 2000s and the crushing bear market of 2007-09. This may have given you an early negative view of equities; these events are clear examples of how risk plays a part in this type of investment.

The reality, though, is that most people planning for retirement need to build wealth in a way that outpaces inflation. Equity investing offers a route toward this objective, one many investors have successfully taken. Directing your savings into equities can be helpful, because broadly speaking, you will not retire merely on the contributions you make to your retirement accounts. You will retire on the compounded earnings those invested assets achieve.

 

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note - investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

   

Citations.

1 - businessinsider.com/amazing-power-of-compound-interest-2014-7 [7/8/14]

2 - quickenloans.com/blog/investing-101-how-to-get-started [8/27/15]

3 - businessinsider.com/saving-at-25-vs-saving-at-35-2014-3 [3/25/14]

4 - cnbc.com/2015/08/24/more-millennials-say-no-to-stocks-and-advisors-adapt.html [8/24/15]

5 - bankrate.com/finance/consumer-index/financial-security-charts-0714.aspx [7/21/14]

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