The close of each calendar year brings with it the holidays as well as a chance to look forward to the year ahead. As you might have already experienced, investors are likely to be bombarded with predictions about what the future, and specifically the next year, may hold for their portfolios.
These predictions can come in all shapes and sizes, but most of them are meant to tempt you into playing a game of outguessing the market. Take for example "Barron's Top 10 Picks for 2016," released in December of last year. The following table shows how these picks performed from January 1st through December 1st of this year.
Source: Hough, Jack. "Barron's Top 10 Stock Picks for 2016." Barron's. 5 Dec. 2015. Web. 14 Dec. 2016.
As you can see, predicting future performance is a difficult task, however, the financial media tempt many to take the bait. Steve Forbes, the publisher of Forbes Magazine, once remarked, "You make more selling advice than following it. It's one of those things we count on in the magazine business - along with the short memory of our readers."1
As we look to 2017, it is natural to reflect on what has gone well this past year and what you may want to improve this coming year - these are typically known as our New Year's resolutions. Within the context of your investment plan, it's important to remember you are better served to trust your plan with discipline, courage, and conviction and focus on what you can control - diversifying broadly, minimizing taxes, and reducing costs. Our global, diversified portfolio rewards investors over long holding periods and protects them from the volatility of individual stock picks. Those who give in to the financial noise may be disappointed by the outcome, and as a result, have a much different resolution in a year's time.
1 Excerpt from presentation at the Anderson School of Management, University of California, Los Angeles, April 15, 2003.
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