Imagine having $1,500,000 of cash. With a long time horizon, and no immediate needs, you decide to invest $500,000 in a globally diversified portfolio* consisting of 80% stocks, and 20% bonds. It is March 1, 2000. Within days, the dot com bubble bursts, followed by the terror attacks of September 11, 2001. By the end of September, 2002, your invested portfolio has dropped from $500,000 to $480,724.
By May of 2007, the $500,000 that you have invested is worth $992,714. You make the decision to invest another $500,000 on June 1st, 2007, increasing your market portfolio to $1,492,714 on that date. The global financial crisis swiftly ensues, seemingly vaporizing your additional $500,000 investment, and dropping your portfolio’s value down to a low of $891,013 in February of 2009 – a drop of 40.3% from the 2007 high.
At the end of July, 2011, your portfolio is worth $1,448,537, and you decide to deploy your remaining $500,000 on August 1st, 2011, resulting in a total portfolio value of $2,006,521 on that date. The market declines sharply for several months. At the end of September, 2011 your investments are worth $1,754,722.
On November 30th, 2015, your portfolio has increased in value to $2,670,809. In hindsight, you have invested immediately before each market crash in recent history. Despite your poor timing, you have earned an average money-weighted rate of return of 5.82% per year, compared to the S&P 500’s 4.16%, and the Canadian Consumer Price Index’s 1.94% over the same time period. A luckier person may have outperformed you by not investing at the worst possible times, but you undoubtedly outperformed the person sitting in cash on the sidelines.
Without the ability to predict the future, long-term investment assets are better off in the market, even if the market is about to crash.
*The portfolio returns come from the Dimensional Global 80EQ-20FI Portfolio (F). Where fund data is not available, Dimensional index returns net of current fund MERs are used.
Original post at pwlcapital.com