September is reported to be the worst month for stocks historically although, like all rules-of-thumb, it doesn't always work out that way. For the record, over the last 70 years September has been the worst month of the year, but with an average decline of only 0.5%. Just to show it ain't always so, over the last 10 years September has been a positive month 7 of 10 years with an average gain of 0.5%. More importantly, not just for September alone but for the balance of the year, whenever the Dow Jones Industrial Average has been up year-to-date going in to September, the year has ended up higher than it was in September by about 3%. Like all market predictions, only time will tell.
One of our corporate mantras is "Investing is a contrarian process" so the best time to buy is when everyone else is selling and the best time to be cautious is when everyone else is optimistic. Going in to September 2013, there are a number of things to be worried about, including, but not limited to:
- Syria military crisis
- Federal Reserve meeting to discuss tapering bond buying program
- U.S. budget debate
- U.S. debt ceiling limit
- Replacement for Federal Reserve Chair Ben Bernanke in January
Expect a lot of day to day volatility as news announcements are made on these multiple issues. Most importantly, be disciplined enough to look beyond these near – term matters, recognize that there will always be clouds on the horizon and think and act like a contrarian.
Finally, open enrollment season is upon us, when corporate employees (and many times retirees) are given an annual opportunity to enroll in benefit plans or make changes for the following calendar year. Make time to plan these decisions wisely. Remember the importance of group disability plans and life insurance plans. Also take this time to confirm that both primary and secondary beneficiary information is correct on group life insurance plans and retirement plans. As always, please contact us if you have questions.
Save the date! Save Tuesday, September 24 at 7:00PM at Anderson Center on your calendar for our next education program: "What Is My Savings Rate?" For pre-retirees, especially high income earners, learn how much you should be saving for retirement and if you are on track based on current savings.