Market timing can hurt investment returns

Stacy Schill |

Volatile stock market conditions like we have experienced lately can cause anxiety and induce people to sell their stocks and wait for “a better time to invest”, in other words, “time” the market. History shows there can be a big cost in attempting to time the market. A recent Morningstar study shows that during the 20 years ending December 31, 2019, if one remained fully invested in stocks, the average annual return was 6.1%. If one missed the 10 best days of the market, the return dropped to 2.2%. If one missed the best 20 days of market, the return was actually negative, -0.13%. The point? Emotionally-driven market timing usually fails and can have a material adverse impact on the success of one’s investments and financial plan.

Bob Toomey, CFA/CFP
VP, Research