Does Staying the Course Pay Off for your Investment Strategy?

Contributed by: Center Investment Department The Center


Almost every year, it seems there is some reason to be concerned with markets.  When market volatility strikes, we often get questions from investors as to whether or not they should sell their portfolio.  Russell Investments does a great job illustrating portfolio performance during the market’s many ups and downs in the chart below.  They look at a hypothetical portfolio of 60% stocks and 40% bonds faced with three alternative investment paths as of Sept. 30, 2008 (two weeks after the collapse of Lehman Brothers).

The starting point for the $100,000 hypothetical portfolio is Oct. 9, 2007, the market peak before the great recession. Over the next year, you would have watched the S&P 500 drop over 20%.  The three choices as of Sept. 30, 2008 are:

  1. Stay invested, and make no changes (orange line).
  2. Move to 100% cash, and remain in cash (light blue line).
  3. Move to 100% treasuries, and remain in treasuries (grey line).

The chart shows the clear winner – stay invested and make no changes. Even though you had to stomach even more downside initially, as well as a menu of other market-altering headlines in the following years, when sticking with a 60/40 diversified portfolio, investors recovered a greater percentage of their lost value— and at a faster rate—than going to cash or treasuries.


Now imagine the potential magnification of the success of the orange line if you were saving regularly during that same time period through a vehicle like your 401(k).  While it may have been difficult to stay the course, 2008 offered a buying opportunity that eventually supported portfolio performance success through 2017.  Planning without panicking is the key.  Make sure you develop a sound savings plan and stick to it regardless of what markets may throw our way!

This information has been obtained from sources deemed to be reliable but its accuracy and completeness cannot be guaranteed. Asset allocations are presented only as examples and are not intended as investment advice. Investing involves risk, investors may incur a profit or loss regardless of the strategy or strategies employed. Future investment performance cannot be guaranteed. The S&P 500 is an unmanaged index of 500 widely held stocks that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Please note, direct investment in any index is not possible.