Today marks the 3rd anniversary of the stock market bottoming during Covid, which means you may never see better 3-year returns. Before we get to that, allow me to set the stage.
The pandemic officially began on March 11th, 2020. By the 23rd, there were 20,000 cases of Covid in the US, a number we knew was going to explode. It did – to, cumulatively, over 100,000,000 today.
We knew the economy was going to tank as we sent people home from work. It did – the unemployment rate tripled, and GDP suffered the worst quarterly contraction ever.
More interesting is what we couldn’t have known or seen coming.
We didn’t know that 15 Days to Slow the Spread was about to stretch on for years.
We didn’t know that emergency stimulus would revive the economy, with employment and GDP recovering almost as quickly as they had crashed.
We didn’t know that the Fed would subsequently drag their feet, hypothesizing “transitory” as inflation surged, unabated, to 40-year highs. We also didn’t know that the Fed would reverse course so quickly, raising interest rates at the fastest pace on record.
We didn’t know that Russia would invade Ukraine, kicking off the largest war in Europe since WWII.
We didn’t know that bank runs would trump all other headlines as the most recent and prominent risk.
Nobody knew these things. Go back and re-read Goldman’s Market Outlook. Or J.P. Morgan’s or Morgan Stanley’s. Ask your favorite market “guru” for receipts on their predictions. Nobody came close. After all, the biggest risks, the ones that move markets, are the ones that are totally unpredictable1.
Now, go ahead and check your 3-year performance today. If invested in a globally diversified stock fund, you might be up 75%2. Even more powerful, calculate your dollar investment gain during that time. If you like what you see, kick back and grab your favorite beverage. Cheers to your ability to endure those risks without wavering. Cheers to the resiliency of financial markets. And cheers to the fact that crystal balls only exist in fairy tales, because if you’d have known the risks ahead of time, and acted on them, you’d be much worse off today!
1 If they were predictable (like, for instance, the potential for recession in 2023), markets would have already adjusted to reflect that probability (which could explain why stocks are down 15% from last year’s highs).
2Performance of the FTSE Global All Cap Index 3/23/2020 – 3/22/2023.
Disclaimer: Truepoint Wealth Counsel is a fee-only Registered Investment Adviser (RIA). Registration as an adviser does not connote a specific level of skill or training. More detail, including forms ADV Part 2A & Form CRS filed with the SEC, can be found at TruepointWealth.com. Neither the information, nor any opinion expressed, is to be construed as personalized investment, tax or legal advice. Any reference to an index is included for illustrative purposes only, as an index is not a security in which an investment can be made. Indices are unmanaged vehicles that serve as market indicators and do not account for the deduction of management fees and/or transaction costs generally associated with investable products.