Year-to-Date Strategy Stats as of COB today:
+37.92% : Turner Quant Advantage (TQA)
+ 10.98% : Tactical Growth (TG)
+ 4.66% : Diversified Income (DIS)
+ 9.74% : Aggressive Growth (AG)
- 2.25% : Total Market (TM)
+ 4.78% : S&P 500
If you are reading this blog, then I am pretty sure you have money in the market (or at least want to have money in the market) and are reasonably hopeful that I will impart some bit of wisdom that you can profit from (pardon the pun). I will try, but you be the judge.
Not to brag or self-aggrandize, it is a fact that we have potential clients contacting us every day; inquiring about our money management services. Each person who contacts us has a unique story; a unique financial situation; unique needs; and, just about anything and everything about each one of the people we talk to is unique. But, they all (everyone of them) have one overriding fear. They may not even recognize or verbalize that fear, but if you talk with them long enough, that ubiquitous fear eventually surfaces.
I'll bet you have this fear, as well... but if you are a client of mine, hopefully, that fear will not be overwhelming to you.
But, before I get to the fear that all investors have to one degree or another, there is another common thread among everyone who calls us. They all want to make more money in the stock market than they can get from a CD or equivalent. Most people are not overly greedy; they just want to get a reasonable return in exchange for the risk to which they are putting their life's savings or at least a material portion in.
Which do you think causes more stress in the average investor's life, with regard to putting money at risk in the stock market?
Making a profit but not beating the S&P 500, or
Beating the market, while suffering a significant loss of capital?
One of the promises within the Hippocratic Oath is “first, do no harm” (or “primum non nocere,” the Latin translation from the original Greek.) And not to sound like I know Greek (I don't) but the definition had the Greek in it; so if you are a Greek scholar, there you go!
Today, I was speaking with a gentleman who is just now retiring and has worked all his life to accumulate capital for his retirement. He loves what we do and our approach to investing in the stock market, but his biggest worry is making a mistake and losing his life's savings. I totally empathize with him in that regard. It is a big, big decision to hire an asset manager and to place your trust in that person that he/she will make the right investment decisions for everything (or a major portion of everything) that you have worked your life for.
So, I went through the explanation of how we set stops and how look for opportunities to get those stops above our basis in each holding so as to lock in profits. I also told him that our first priority is, "To Do No Harm". And that means, we are driven to avoid losses. That doesn't mean we never experience losses, but it is not for lack of trying to avoid them.
It is totally unacceptable to me, to take the position that so many investment advisors take: "Don't worry about the losses... the market always comes back." That is a pathetic approach to investing in the market. It is lazy and it does a total disservice to the client.
While it is so very important to make the client a profit and to grow their capital, it is even more important to try to do everything possible to mitigate and/or eliminate downside losses.
It is a good and right goal for ever financial advisor and every individual investor, as well: "First, do no harm!" And, hopefully, that will help diminish the ubiquitous fear that just about every investor has.