The Long Term Perspective – Is 2018 Out of the Ordinary for the Stock Market

Well……no! But let’s dive a little deeper and flush this out a bit.

2018 is turning out to be not such a good year for global stock markets and investors. As of the writing of this article, global markets are down close to -13% in aggregate. The S&P 500 is looking to mark its first possible down year since the Great Recession of 2008.

While investors may be starting to get nervous and think that 2018 is a predictor of what is yet to come, it is important to take a deep breath, turn off the noise, and apply a long-term perspective to what just happened.

2018 is not something for the history books. In fact, we have experienced something similar or worse 10 other times over the last 90 years, which comes out to about 11% of the time. But while the news would like you to think the world is coming to an end to boost their own ratings, this isn’t something that we can consider an “anomaly” or what statistical geeks like myself like to call a “tail event.” Would you be surprised if I told you that since 1928 we have experienced a similar market move to the upside 14 times (i.e. a globally diversified equity portfolio returned more than 34% in a calendar year)? More importantly, we would expect a market movement like what we have experienced about 7% of the time or once every 14 years just by random chance alone. Aside from the Great Recession of 2009, we haven’t seen global markets down this much in aggregate since 1990 when Vanilla Ice’s “Ice Ice Baby” was topping the U.S. music charts. In other words, we are about due for a 2018 type of year.

Statistics can tell us a lot about “odds” or how frequently we can expect a random series of events to occur. Fortunately for us as investors, we have a wealth of data about stock markets across numerous market events such as economic depressions, expansion, world wars, hyperinflation, the falling of entire sovereignties, housing crises, etc. In short, capital markets have been battle-tested and through it all there has been one common theme: markets will be volatile, but the odds are in your favor as long as you don’t do a couple of key things. One of these is to lose your nerve during a down market. This alone probably has the single biggest impact on your long term financial success.

Key takeaway for investors are the following:

  1. 2018 isn’t indicative of anything. In fact, it is an important reminder that you are taking risk by investing in stocks and you must go through some pain in order to enjoy the long term gain they provide over the long term. The key is to figure out how much pain in order to achieve your long term financial goals.
  2. Your personal financial plan should have already considered experiencing a year like 2018. An excellent financial advisor would have run simulations that consider years such as 2018 and its overall impact on your financial plan.
  3. Now is a great time to rebalance your portfolio (i.e. sell bonds and buy stocks). Am I out of my mind? Nope. I am sticking to my long-term plan.
  4. Tune out the noise. It will do nothing to inform you. All it will do is raise your stress level and possibly force you to succumb to those bad investing habits we and our financial advisors have tried hard to do away with.

Keep the long-term perspective my friends.

Advising Retirement Plan Opportunities

Getting started in any line of work is tough. Formalizing your ideas, creating an action plan, finding prospects, and delivering on your value proposition takes time, care, and a whole lot of hard work.

Becoming a retirement plan advisor is no different. Fortunately, the life source to your future business may already be hiding in clear sight…your current relationships!

Finding Solutions…Not Pushing Product!

The most valuable aspect of working with an advisor such as yourself is your unbiased, independent, solutions-oriented approach. It is looking out for your clients’ best interest versus your own. We must first diagnose the problem before we write the prescription.

Diagnosing the problem or identifying the goal starts with asking the right questions.

For example, do you find yourself speaking to a small-business owner who wants to grow their business by attracting the right talent in a tax efficient way?

Then you may have a candidate for a 401(k) plan with profit sharing.

Or maybe you have a physician or lawyer who is currently maxing out their 401(k) and profit sharing plan, and is recognizing a considerable amount in taxable income every year.

Then you may have a candidate for a cash balance plan.

Or maybe you even have a client who is an executive at her company, cannot put away as much money as she wants to because of low participation in her company’s retirement plan, and is frustrated by having to receive corrective distributions every year.

Then you might possibly have a candidate for a non-qualified deferred compensation plan.

All of these scenarios present different solutions based on each client’s situation. We aren’t in the business of shoving a 401(k) down everyone’s throat, but we are in the business of finding solutions based on objectives. Diagnosis BEFORE prescription.

How can you get started?

3 Starting Points for Growing Your Retirement Plan Assets:

1. Current Clientele:

  • How many clients do you work with who are small business owners?
  • How many clients do you have that currently have a SIMPLE Plan?
  • How many clients do you have that are executives that their company?

Since you are the quarterback to your clients’ financial lives, all three of these questions are easy to answer and provide great candidates to begin a conversation about a retirement plan.

Whether it is to start a brand new plan, convert a SIMPLE Plan, or takeover an existing plan, don’t worry, RPC has your back. We can assist in requesting the right documents, doing an in-depth plan design, providing a cost comparison, and helping you push the deal over the finish line.

2. Existing Plans In Your Area:

  • If you were to guess how many existing retirement plans where currently in a 5 mile radius of your office, what do you think that number is; 100, 200, 500?
  • How many people do you interact with on a daily basis that probably participate in a retirement plan?

These are questions RPC can easily answer for you. We can run prospect lists within any mile radius of any zip code in the United States. Our queries can be specific to a certain asset size, participant count, or even industry for those advisors who have a specialized niche.

Of course we don’t expect you to start cold calling the entire list, but there may be a name on the list of someone you know. Maybe you attend the same church, consistently play a round of 18-holes with, is a lifelong friend, or have a client that works for a particular company that sponsors a 401(k) plan. These are all important people in our lives and they probably value your opinion over a stranger’s….even if it is just a second opinion.

3. Niche Clientele:
Over time, your practice may have naturally gravitated towards clients in certain industries. Maybe you work with a lot of lawyers, physicians, teachers, manufacturers, or non-profits. While many industries face different financial needs, most professionals within the same industry probably face the same financial challenges. As a resource who understands their industry, you can help address the needs of these professionals from a holistic perspective and recommend solutions to help address some of their retirement related obstacles.

RPC is more than happy to assist in anyway we can. We can help provide objective and unbiased information that can be considered professional recommendations and not sales pitches. We can also assist in providing presentation materials on pertinent topics that addresses concerns of your niche clientele.

Getting started in the retirement plan business is no easier than getting started in any other industry. Fortunately for you, the blood, sweat, and tears you have already put into growing your clientele can be a great life source for growing your retirement plan services as well.