Decades... We've Known a Few

It’s late, the house is dark and I have some time to think.

I’m supposed to be writing an article about the recently ended decade. A recap of ten really good years for both stocks and bonds should be easy to write, but as I sit in the quiet of my den, what I keep thinking about is Elsie.

Elsie was a client a long time ago (and part of the last decade as well), and when I think about longer-term investment results I often think of Elsie who, as a product of the Great Depression, knew a thing or two about…well, more than a thing or two.

The last part of Elsie’s life was spent at a “Senior Living Residence” on the edge of her county seat town. I am well known in this town, including to a fair share of the retirees Elsie lived among.

Elsie and I had a conversation following the 2000-2003 downturn, a period known as the Tech Crash. By 2003, the correction had morphed into a bear market for blue-chip stocks and investment-grade bonds that tested the mettle of even conservative long term investors.

As was her nature, Elsie had “ridden out” the correction and was in a chipper mood. She was happy to know that her accounts were once again doing well, but there was more to her good cheer than just making money. Elsie was experiencing a moment of personal redemption because Elsie had gone against the consensus among her fellow residents. Like all such facilities, the residents were friendly and spoke of all manner of subjects, including their finances. Some, certainly well meaning, had told her they knew better than she did. They had told her to sell.

Elsie thought otherwise, tough times don’t last, but tough people do. She hadn’t sold, but rather stuck with her investment plan (and investment advisor) with a look to the long term. A market downturn, even a market cycle, meant little to her. For Elsie, the time horizon for investments wasn’t measured in years but in the generations of her family.

This last decade, the first since the “Great Recession”, provided many clients the opportunity to test themselves against the example of Elsie. For many, this has proven to be a pass/fail test. The long-term investors, those who have participated in financial markets for the full decade, have done well - very well indeed. The fence sitters, rapid traders and those who failed to regularly participate in financial markets during the last decade, have failed to garner returns available to the long-term investor. 

At Iowa Wealth Management, we preach the value of being a long-term investor and stand ready to service the needs and ambitions of clients who share this commitment, today and in the years ahead.


 Past performance is no assurance of future results. Iowa Wealth Management is a registered investment adviser with its principal place of business in the State of Iowa. Opinions expressed are those of Iowa Wealth Management and are subject to change, not guaranteed and should not be considered recommendations to buy or sell any security.