nvestors are shocked that the so-called 60/40 portfolio failed to provide protection from the bear market in stocks this year. Many thought stock and bond prices always move in opposite directions, which was the foundation of their diversification strategy. Today the average 60/40 portfolio is down 18.63% compared with an 18.6% decline in the S&P 500, so this belief was wrong. The combination of rising interest rates and the threat of a recession has hammered both stock and bonds.
Harvesting losses seems like an automatic thing to do in a year where most asset classes decline in value. Like anything else, though, it makes sense for some, but it is not a great idea for others. Even for those for whom it does make sense, the advantages are limited and only begin to benefit you once you have gains to offset the losses. For some people, surprisingly, capturing GAINS is a good strategy!
A prediction about an uncertain future is just an opinion and should not determine anyone’s investment decision. Many people learn this the hard way. Markets have always rewarded discipline – having an investment philosophy, a strategy to manage risk and sticking to it is the surest way to reap success when investing.
Warren Buffett is known for offering his investors these words of wisdom on more than one occasion. He intended to remind investors that everyone can look like a genius in a bull market, but undisciplined investing can leave you vulnerable during market downturns. Understanding and managing your risk is our number one job. Protecting against changing regimes and worst-case scenarios while providing exposure to growth is quite the balancing act. Still, financial science has proven that we can do it.