By: Andrew J. Willms
President and CEO of The Milwaukee Company
The recent election was harder than most in a number of ways. It was hard to vote, hard to predict, hard on the nation, hard on our nation’s image and, in many cases, hard on relationships. I, for one, am glad it is (nearly) over.
Then again, as the old saying goes, “When life hands you lemons, make lemonade”. As I discussed in this week’s podcast (which you can find HERE), the election did provide us with a valuable opportunity to become better investors. Here are the takeaways I found most enlightening:
1. Unexpected events - such as Pfizer’s encouraging vaccine announcement on Monday, which triggered a massive rally in equities - can make sound investment decisions look bad, and bad investment decisions look good. Investors who were overweight in stocks going into the election were made to look smart, even if the reason for overweighting had nothing to do with a vaccine.
2. Market timing is a tough way to generate alpha (above-market returns). The fact that the stock market has rallied since election night (notwithstanding the resurgence of Covid-19), along with the contested presidential outcome and the uncertainty over which party will have control of the Senate, contradicts expectations. The market’s rise also demonstrates, once again, that even when predictions of future events come true, forecasting the market’s response to those events can be dead wrong.
3. Have an investment plan, understand it, and stick to it come what may. You must have confidence in your investment approach, which requires that it is documented. This is where a written investment policy statement comes in. Don’t just sign it. Read it and ask questions if there are parts you do not understand.
4. Never take more risk than is required to meet your objectives. Investors whose primary concern is wealth preservation should not regret adopting a defensive position when risk is elevated, even if the markets rally. Similarly, investors looking to build wealth should expect to encounter the higher volatility that accompanies the pursuit of higher returns.
5. Rules-based tactical asset allocation is a great way to invest, but it’s not perfect. For the most part, rules-based strategies are tested using historical data. As a result, these strategies can struggle when encountering a Black Swan event. The solution, as I see it, is to diversify across asset classes and investment strategies.
Tough times teach tough lessons. But those lessons offer a path to better tomorrows. So, make yourself some lemonade. Better yet, seeing that the weekend is upon us, you might want treat to yourself to a bourbon lemonade slush (pictured above, recipe below). You deserve it!
Thanks for reading,
Andrew J. Willms
1 (12oz) can frozen lemonade
6 oz Bourbon (adjust to taste)
6 oz honey (sub 1/4 cup Sugar)
Lemon slices for garnish
1. Empty the contents of a can of frozen lemonade (still frozen) into a blender. Fill the empty can halfway with bourbon and then add honey to fill completely (no need to be super precise). Pulse a few times in the blender to combine. Next, add ice to fill the blender and mix until the ice is fully crushed. Taste and add more honey or sugar if desired.
2. Serve in small glasses with lemon slices as garnish.