The current bull market in stocks will reach its 8th anniversary tomorrow, and for about the last four years, professional investors and financial planners have been scratching their heads. The markets have gone up and up and up, and we all know that they won’t go up forever, which means there’s a correction looming somewhere on the horizon.
Over the last few weeks, professional financial planners have been fielding calls from clients who are asking the kinds of questions that every professional investor hates to hear. The Dow has reached (and then fallen back below) 20,000. Should I take money off the table?
My preferred candidate didn’t win the election, and I think the world is going to hell in a handbasket. Don’t you think I should sell my stocks now before it’s too late?
You know you’re deep into a longstanding bull market when you see things like average pedestrians keeping one eye on the market tickers outside of brokerage houses to see when the Dow Jones Industrial Average has finally breached the 20,000 mark. Who would have imagined record market highs at this point last year, when the indices ended the year in negative territory? Or when new year 2016 got off to such a rocky start, tumbling 10% in the first two weeks—the worst start to a year since 1930?
By now, most voters have made up their mind about who they want to serve as their next President. But what can they look forward to, from an investment and tax standpoint, if their candidate wins or loses? How will the election affect their portfolio and future net worth?
You can go to Las Vegas and bet on the U.S. election, or make a side bet with your friends. Or you can buy an ETF.
Remember Brexit? Of course you do. Many short-term traders thought the sky was falling when British voters unexpectedly decided to opt their country out of the European Union. But the process of extricating the British economy from the complexities of European membership has been deliberate and thoughtful—on both sides.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can see that it would have been a bad idea to sell your stock holdings after the Brexit vote; you would have locked in a 5% to 10% loss in a market that eventually trended upward to new record highs. The same is true of the aftermath of the World Court decision that slapped China in the face by declaring that man-made islands don’t transform an ocean into territorial waters, the attempted coup in Turkey, or, really, any other alarming headline which doesn’t materially affect a company’s ability to run its operations.