I read an interesting article this past week that got me thinking about the message we give to clients. Let me explain.
There is a lot of talk about not missing the best 10 or 20 days of the market. The accepted wisdom says that if you do, your returns would have been lower by X%. And that is certainly true. However, there’s another side which does not always get told. That side argues that if you miss the “worst” 10 or 20 days, your returns would be higher by Y%. Actually, the Y% is much greater than the X%.
In other words, it’s more beneficial to avoid bad days than good ones. OK, a lot of us get that. But the article went on to explain how contributions play a very major role in the accumulation of wealth. Although I thought I understood that well, I had to check the numbers for myself. I followed three steps in route to the answer.
Step one was to project the annual account values, using various rates of return and assuming a $10,000 contribution per year (Exhibit A).