What’s the excuse gonna be this year?

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008 by Cass Chappell, CFP®


I saw this attachment the other day and felt compelled to share…  If you had invested $10,000 in the US Stock Market (S&P 500 Index, which is unmanaged and cannot be directly into) in January of 1934 your investment would have been worth $18 million in December of 2007.  When I first read the statement, I wasn’t surprised.  As financial planners we are frequently presented with graphics showing the fruits of long-term investing.

“XYZ investment is the number one performing investment in ABC category of the last 10 years!  Check out this performance…..”

“Our investment strategy can handle the peaks and valleys.  Check out our performance during the last several bull and bear markets…..”

Those are just a few examples of the advertisements we see in the industry magazines and sales literature that floods our office.

When I was new to this business, facts and figures like that impressed me (although there are no guarantees).  Long term investing can be so powerful!  Wait till I tell Mr. and Mrs. Smith about this nugget of wisdom from the folks at ABC Investment.

The problem is, and always was, that Mr. and Mrs. Smith were bound to come up with a reason NOT to invest.  We can always come up with excuses to AVOID activities that we dread….

From cutting the grass, to washing the car, to doing our taxes, to deciding how to invest (and most importantly whose advice to take), it is all too common for us to avoid these types of activities and decisions.

This chart shows common excuses investors may have given to avoid investing, yearly, since 1934.

$10,000 to $18 Million!


In ten years what will history say was the excuse for 2008?

question marks

  • Oil Crisis?
  • Housing Crisis?
  • Weak dollar?
  • Rising commodities prices?
  • Inflation fears?

I wonder if the reason will seem as harmless in 2018 as “Y2K” in 1999 does now.

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