Investors have had to learn patience this year. After two very good years of returns in 2013 and 2014, 2015 so far has been lackluster to say the least. The Dow Jones Industrial Average has turned negative for the year to date as we have seen mostly range bound trading in stocks.
The S+P 500 has experienced numerous pullbacks of about 4% and the new highs are becoming shallower.
To add insult to injury the bond market has experienced an increased level of volatility as the yield on 10 year US treasuries has gone from 1.675% in February to 2.4% today, or roughly 43% increase.
The increase in yields puts downside pressure on the market price of bonds, so as we see the aggregate bond index has also turned negative year to date.
This combination has made it difficult to find returns in this environment. These are the times when our behavioral tendencies tend to get us into trouble. We begin to question our asset allocation, feel inclined to abandon our plan and look for the best performing investments and jump into those instead. However this is almost always a bad decision.
It’s important to always keep these events and price action into perspective of your goals. For example, if someone has the goal of funding their retirement and a time horizon of 10+ years, then you know that your new purchases will be at lower prices if the market does pullback and correct, which means higher dividend yields and higher future expected returns. Thinking in those terms may help you refocus on your goals.
The important thing is to determine an asset allocation plan that you feel comfortable with. An advisor can certainly help you with that along with helping you remain focused on your goals.