TrueWealth’s 3rd Quarter 2017 Market Commentary

TrueWealth’s 3rd Quarter 2017 Market Commentary


As Sonny and Cher used to sing, “And the beat goes on.”

For the 7th quarter in a row, the S&P notched a positive gain, and our global equity model portfolio did the same. All major asset classes were up once again, and despite continued concerns of an overbought market, investors continue to seek alternatives to low interest rates, and stocks continue to benefit.

One question we don’t get anymore is why we invest overseas. U.S markets are doing well, but nowhere near the pace of international markets.  o, to those of you who remember asking the question in the past, this is why we invest overseas.

For a detailed review of all global markets, click here.


The market is telling us something. More accurately, the aggregate of all investors is telling us something. Financially, we’re doing o.k. Unemployment is very low, inflation is in check, business activity is good, and while we would like better numbers in a lot of areas, the fact we can still improve means there is room yet for markets and economies to grow.

But you may be thinking this would be a bad time to invest. The market keeps making all-time highs. Valuations look a little rich, perhaps. Maybe if you just waited a little while longer, you might get a better return.

I want to tell a story about the unluckiest investor I know. On October 9, 2007, he invested all he had in an S&P 500 Index fund. All of it. He was so excited, because the market had been on a tear since 2003, and he could not wait to get his share of that.

Well, if you know a little history, you’ll recognize that day marked an all-time high for the market. To make matters worse, and to his utter dismay, he experienced what arguably could be considered the worst market crash since the Great Depression. Within 17 months, his hard-earned money had plunged 55% in value, and nothing seemed to indicate that the market could possibly recover anytime soon.

Being unlucky as he was, he could not get through to Vanguard in time to sell everything on March 9, 2009, and so he had to wait until the next day to sell.

Miraculously, and for some unknown reason, the market had a huge up-day, and so he waited one more day to sell, and then the market went up again, and then again, and again. From the market low on March 9, 2009 until the end of the year, the market exploded up 67%.

Now, totally confused, he didn’t know WHAT to do, so he did nothing, and THAT is when his luck began to turn for the better.

On October 9 of this year, he still was doing nothing, except opening a really good bottle of wine to celebrate his good fortune of not getting through to Vanguard to sell everything. Despite what he thought was horrible timing, he received an average annualized return of 7.2%, and his original investment with dividends had doubled in value in 10 years. Not bad for being the unluckiest investor in the world!

As you probably suspected, this story is not entirely true. I actually don’t know this investor, at least personally, but I know many, many people invested in the Vanguard Index 500 fund on that day in 2007, not knowing that they theoretically had picked the worst day to invest in recent history. And my hope is that at least one of them did not sell for 10 years and enjoyed a great return nonetheless.

So, if you’re one of our new clients, or maybe one of our old ones, just know this will happen again at some point. It might be soon, or it may not be for a long time, and if you’re lucky like my fictional friend, you won’t be able to get that sell order completed just when that impulse to do so is at its strongest.

And you’ll ultimately realize that doing nothing…well…is the right thing to do.

Until next time –

Jim Heard is CEO at TrueWealth, LLC, a wealth management firm located in Atlanta. He has extensive experience spanning 30+ years in financial planning for Senior Executive Planning and Ultra-High Net Worth Individuals & Families. He provides the vision that enables TrueWealth team members to provide a truly exceptional wealth management experience to the individuals and families that the firm serves. He can be reached at or 404.487.0501.

TrueWealth, LLC (TW) obtains historical and other information from a wide variety of publicly available sources. We have taken all reasonable care and precaution to ensure that the information is fair and accurate or has been compiled from sources believed to be reliable. Nevertheless, we do not make any representations or warranty, express or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness, or fitness for any purpose or use of the information. The information may not in all cases be current, and it is subject to continuous change. Accordingly, you should not rely on any of the information as authoritative or a substitute for the exercise of your skill and judgment in making any investment or other decision. We shall not be liable for any direct, indirect, or consequential loss arising from any use of or reliance on the information from this article. TW and its affiliates do not have, nor claim to have, sources of inside or privileged information regarding expected future returns on any investment proposed. The recommendations developed by TW are based upon the professional judgment of TW and its individual advisory affiliates, and neither TW nor its affiliates can guarantee the results of any of their recommendations. Clients at all times may elect unilaterally to follow or ignore completely, or in part, any information, recommendation, or advice given by TW and its affiliates. Past performance is not necessarily indicative of future results.

© 2017 TrueWealth, LLC. All rights reserved. Any use of information contained in this article, including reproduction, modification, distribution or republication, without the prior written consent of TrueWealth, LLC is strictly prohibited.