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July 17, 2008


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Now is an AWFUL time to buy stocks UNLESS you have a very, very short or a very, very long time line.

By very, very short I mean 2-8 weeks. By very, very long I mean over 15 years. For anyone in between, I'd hold off.

We're currently in the middle of a bear market rally that may taper off as early as August. After that will be another big downturn in the market. So for anyone who's holding on longer than 2-8 weeks and is trying to "time" the market, they may be in trouble.

Also, to put things in perspective, from the mid-60s to the early 80s, the stock market had a very low rate of return. Similarly, between the height of the market in 2000 and today, we're again essentially at zero return (and heading towards negative territory).

Not a lot of people would be willing to tolerate an 8 year investment at zero return. If we're in the midway point in the current downturn (i.e., if it's 1975), we still have another 8 years of near zero return before the market gets going again. This is why I think now's a bad time to invest unless you have a 15+ year time horizon.

Dave --

If you can predict the stock market with the accuracy you're suggesting, why aren't you a ba-zillionaire by now?

It is always a good time to invest in the future if you have the appropriate time horizon(15years or longer). Trying to time the market is a fool's errand. Dollar cost averaging into index funds and keeping your costs low is the way to go.

I'm right in the middle between the two of you. I keep a 60/40 allocation with the stocks spread across large and small caps, foreign and domestic and the bonds primarily intermediate term.

We just upped our monthly contributions to our Roth IRAs. I'm not particularly bullish or bearish. But we'll keep saving and investing.

In case anyone out there is wondering what worse-than-worthless financial flamflam sounds like, so they can steer clear, Dave has provided us with a wonderful specimen.

The one part that has a grain of truth is that with 15+ years, it all works out...but you'd better buy index funds.

I'm curious how you determine 0 rate of return. I've heard this before, but also people like Geremy Seagle and Cramer say on a 20yr average stocks out perform all other commodities. Who's right?

The market is also discounting a potential win by Obama. Try to name a stock sector that will not be affected by Democrat President and a Democrat House and Senate. We only have to look at the States of Michigan and California to get a glimpse of our fate. I would be willing to bet that if you took the economic data from the State of California out of the USA's economic data for the last 2 years the "recession" would disappear. California is turning into France and that is dragging down the whole of the US economy.

As for when to buy, buy when the cover of Time Magazine says the "Dow is going to 5000." Buy when the local paper that never talks about financial matters puts "The US real estate market is going to lose 50% of its value over the next 12 months." on the front page 2 days in a row. Buy when fear drives down the price of stocks of companies with boring balance sheets, that are well managed and make boring everyday items like soap or beer. Buy value when value is artificially discounted. This has made Warren Buffett a very wealthy man.

Buy when most other people are not buying. Then, hold, unless something dramatically changes with that particular company (if you are buying individual stocks).

For a less risky and more secure approach, but potentially less lucrative, put a little in every quarter (regardless of what the market is currently doing). Then you get the benefit of buying low and mitigate exposure when you buy high. A tried and true approach if not a little boring.

Of course, if you can predict the market (which no one has every done successfully for long periods) then, by all means, buy at the market low...

The 0 rate of return: In early January 2000, the Dow Jones was at 11,700. Today the market closed at 11,446. That's 8.5 years, negative rate of return.

On why I'm not a bazillionnaire by now: I'm working on it. June was a very good month for me as the rate of return on my investments was approximately 12%. However, I'm relatively new to investing and therefore still learning the ropes. Talk to me in a few years.

Re: "In case anyone out there is wondering what worse-than-worthless financial flamflam sounds like, so they can steer clear, Dave has provided us with a wonderful specimen."

People have an understandable fear of timing the markets. I used to be a buy-and-hold type myself. I truly believe that buy-and-hold is the best approach for most people, but as I said previously, only if you have a very, very long term perspective. Most people underestimate their appetite for fear. Are you prepared for your investments to decline by another 15% in the next 6 months? Are you also prepared to see continued negative return on your investment, year over year, for the next 8 years? I'm not saying this WILL happen. I'm saying this HAS happened in 1973 and 1977. People born in the 70s and later never went through an extended period of stock market decline. But it has happened in the past and it will happen again. (I.e., 1937 - 1948.) That's why folks like John Bogle look at rates of return starting from the 1930s.

Personally, I DON'T have the stomach to watch my net worth decline by 10% or more from one year to the next. That's precisely why I'm NOT buy-and-holder anymore. I made the transition to the dark side back in January, and so far it's been working out for me. No guarantees that my success we'll continue, but like I said check back with me in a couple years. In the mean time, be prepared for another sharp drop in the stock market sometime in the next 2-3 months.

"I'm curious how you determine 0 rate of return. I've heard this before, but also people like Geremy Seagle and Cramer say on a 20yr average stocks out perform all other commodities. Who's right?"

Both are right. The key here is the 20 years. On a 20 year average, sure stocks will probably outperform all other commodities. But inside those 20 years, stocks can have a zero or negative rate of return as shown from 1929 - 1945, or 2000 - 2008.

Dave - I bet including dividends, you might have made a small amount of money if you invested in the Dow (exactly according to the price weights) in January 2000. January 2000 is a cherry-picked date, that was the peak of the dot-com bubble. Go forward or backward a couple years from that date, the Dow was lower.

Furthermore, the Dow (and the S&P and Nasdaq) are not the whole universe of investment options out there. Emerging markets have made me some very nice returns in the past four years or so, although I'm taking a bath on a couple of funds this year.

Best way to make money over the long-haul is to keep putting money in at regular intervals and don't worry about the short-term noise that is always going to happen.

Actually, January 2000 is not a cherry-picked date. It's when the stock market was at the levels it currently is at now. In fact, the Dow first hit its current levels around May of 1999 -- nearly a year before the peak. But when you factor in inflation of about 25% over the past 9 years, the market has actually lost quite a bit of value.

I too generally side with Dave. I do believe it's quite possible to beat the market, especially when you're just an individual investor. It's often quoted that 80% of fund managers do not beat the market. I believe this is for two reasons: (1) a fund manager is often limited in what he may invest in by various rules, including the terms of the fund prospectus, and (2) the fund manager has hundreds of millions and even billions of dollars to work with. When you have that kind of money, your options may be limited. There are only so many shares you can buy in an under-valued company before you start affected the stock price.

An individual investor does not have these limitations. So if you're knowledgeable and proactive, I do believe it's possible to outperform the general market, just as it's possible to outperform your peers on an academic exam.

So how much would someone have made if they had invested 15 years ago, taking into considering inflation?

Assuming 3.5% inflation rate per year, and the market rising from about 3800 - 11,400 between 1993 - 2008, using the interest rate calculator at (and adjusting for inflation), that's about 3.8% a year.

The above figure does not include dividents.

Not taking inflation into account, 3800 - 11400 in 15 years is approximately 7.55% a year.

The problem I see here is looking at charts for the DOW, S&P 500 and others for various periods and then equating that with an average investors returns doesn't really connect with reality in some fundamental way. I'm no investment genius but I do have my own experience in that time frame to compare it to.

I'm a pretty average investor with a 401k plan at work and no other investments to speak of. I started contributing to my 401k in Jan. of 1997 when my employer first offered one. I picked a few different funds and started contributing. By 2000 I had maybe 30-40k in there including employer matches, I'd probably put 12,000 of my own money in by that point.

By that time I was making a little more money so I bumped my withholding to 5% and then to 10% as my salary increased. This was in 2000-2003 when the market was tanking. Along the way the funds paid dividends now and again and those were reinvested automatically as most retirement plans do. The funds went up and down with the markets, usually more on the up side and less on the downside but nothing outstanding.

Looking at my records since that January 2000 mark, I'd say I've contributed another 35k myself. I got another 17k in matching. All told counting the matches that's roughly 75k invested over the years. At the peak of the market last year my 401k had about 170k in it and it's worth maybe 150k now. That's roughly double what was invested right? Around 100% return in 11 years or 9% return a year on average. That's slightly above you might plug into a planning calculator, so I'll attribute the extra 1% to my investing prowess if you don't mind ;)

If the bulk of my investing has happened since the beginning of 2000, and looking at where the market is today and applying Dave's logic I should probably have a lot less than that right now. So there must be something broken in that reasoning. I suspect that we are forgetting compounding and reinvestment of dividends over time in addition to share values.

Anyone else care to share their investing experience since January of 2000? I'm curious how this pans out...

Interesting debate going on with a couple schools of thought. I can certainly see the logic in both, and both have claimed to work well. So all things equal, why don't you just take out the timing, research, worry, insomnia, investment costs, etc. Trying to predict market trends lends to that. I'm not going to get into what "history says" as we can talk about that all day. Today is a different world than '29, which was different from the '42, which had differences than'82, that certainly didn't resemble '2000'. Did I miss any? ;)

My humble opinion is, we don't know. That is why I personally feel that is why timing can be dangerous. I'd rather just dollar cost my 401k with index funds and hope for the best when I'm ready to retire. Good luck to all.

Just to repeat myself ad naseum, I am not against the buy-and-hold approach in theory. What I am saying is that if you take this approach you must be willing to let your investment sit for at least 15 years in order to maximize your profits. As I said, I personally can't stomach watching my investments sink 10-20% or more in a year which is why I don't prefer buy-and-hold. As an alternative, I am learning (or trying to learn) how to successfully "time the markets" (for lack of a better term). It IS possible and people ARE able to beat the market. So far, I've had success with this approach but I've only been at it for a few months so the jury's still out. I'll let you know.

Andrew, I'm not sure I know enough about your situation but it sounds to me like you continued contributing to your 401k between January 2000 and now. If you are saying that you had 75k in your 401k in January 2000, DIDN'T PUT IN A PENNY MORE for the past 8 1/2 years, and it's now grown to 150k, then that would be very impressive indeed. However, I suspect that you've continued contributing to the fund (and getting matches from your company) through this time. If so, then it's not accurate to say that you've had a 9% rate of return. (To take an extreme example, if you've contributed an additional 75k to your 401k over the past 8.5 years, then your rate of return would essentially be zero!)

Andrew, you outperformed the market because of Dollar Cost Averaging (buying a little each month).

With DCA, volatility is your friend. With your fixed amount of dollars, you buy more shares when prices are low and less when prices are high. Your average share price is LOWER than the average DOW has been over that period. How much lower? Depends on volatility; the more, the better!

And of course, like you said already, dividends are also a reason. Dividend yields are generally higher in down markets, so automatic reinvestments will buy more shares at lower prices than at higher.

"Personally, I DON'T have the stomach to watch my net worth decline by 10% or more from one year to the next. That's precisely why I'm NOT buy-and-holder anymore."

And that's why you're taking a strategy with enough risk that it returned you 12% in one month (which was a bear month for the market)? You need to re-examine your risk tolerance as it relates to your trading strategy.

FYI, Benjamin summed up my position fairly accurately.


Jake makes an excellent point, to which I'll add this: If your reason for trying to time the market is risk aversion, you shouldn't have much in the stock market at all.

Risk and return go hand-in-hand. That's not to say they're perfectly correlated (it's easy to take on more risk than the return justifies) but once you've got your portfolio diversified enough that it's somewhere near the efficient frontier, and your costs are as low as possible, there aren't any more free lunches.

That's not to say that strategies that take time into account can't outperform pure lump sum buy-and-hold: dollar-cost averaging, as discussed above, is the most common one. Value averaging ( is probably even better. But notice that neither tries to look into a crystal ball and act on what it sees. They're formulaic and, in the case of DCA, completely automatic.

My advice is to walk away from the craps table while you're ahead. Read all three pages of this: And then read The Intelligent Asset Allocator by William Bernstein (

There are plenty of people who say that you can make money with market timing, but only a very few succeed. And they aren't giving away their secrets. The ones who write the books about it or give seminars are trying to make money by convincing you that it is a sound strategy.

Let's be clear. Anyone who times the market is a speculator, not an investor. People who buy and hold over the long term are investors.

What do you buy and hold? The answer is low cost index funds. Not individual stocks.

Next you need to figure out how much money you should stick in bonds and how much you should stick in equities. The answer for each person is different. It depends on their risk tolerance. Unfortunately, a person's risk tolerance is not written on their forearm. They have to experiment a little bit before they find it. This single decision about the equity vs. bond allocation is responsible for the vast majority of a person's investment performance.

Finally, how much do you stick in international equities and how much do you stick in US equities.

I suggest 20% short term bonds, 56% US equities and 24% international equities for younger, aggressive investors. Those who are less aggressive should own more bonds. Always keep at least 30% of your equity positiion in international equities.

You can do all this with three Vanguard index funds. It's a piece of cake (once you've figured out your risk tolerance). The hard part is sticking with this plan through the ups and downs of the market over the long haul.

I don't understand why "volatility is your friend" for DCA? As I understand, DCA only works if the final portfolio value is higher than the average. It is also possible to DCA all the way down.

Jake/Matt H: The difference is that as an active investor, I have more control over my own funds rather than passively reacting to what the market gives me. For some people this significantly increases risk but for me I feel like it significantly decreases it.

And yes I know all about dollar cost averaging. I've read A Random Walk Down Wall Street, and the Bogleheads Guide to Investing. You don't need to sell me on the benefits of buy and hold. I just think it's only for people who are willing to not sell no matter what for 15 years or more.

Paul: I think even long term investors are ultimately speculating that the market will, in the long run, go up and not down. Also, every time you change your asset allocation you are speculating.

You say that the people who succeed with market timing aren't the ones writing books and giving seminars. I happen to agree with you there (although you'd be surprised at how much good, quality information is out there available for free on the internet). My question to you is: If you concede that a small percentage of people do succeed, how did THEY learn how to succeed in the market?


I think a pretty good analogy for the difference between active and passive investment is taking a plane vs. driving a car. You may have more control actively driving a car, but the statistics show that you're much safer passively riding in a commercial airliner. If somebody says they FEEL like their risk is lower driving a car, we can be fairly certain that their feeling is not consistent with reality.

There is a grain of truth to what you're saying, that buy and hold is only for people willing to not sell no matter what for 15 years or more. But that's true of stock investing generally. No one is clairvoyant, and that's what you'd have to be in order to consistently time the market successfully.

The people who appear to have won timing the market were simply lucky. It's like winning the lottery. SOMEONE is going to win, but that doesn't mean you should buy tickets.

Matt H,

I think we're getting to a point of impasse, where we may have to agree to disagree.

I think our fundamental disagreement is that I believe it is possible to make money as an active investor while you don't. Let me be clear: I will wholeheartedly agree with you that for many people, active investing is a fool's game. But are you willing so say that ALL people who successfully time the market were "simply lucky"? If so, then here's why you're wrong:

First, simply as a historical statement that's simply factually erroneous. History has shown that there have been people that have successfully "beat the market." And they have successfully done so over time. These people exist. And they are able to beat the market because (1) they have discipline and (2) they have a system that works.

Let me put it this way: If someone win's the lottery once, then they got lucky. But what if that person wins the lottery again and again and again? What if that person wins the lottery 1 in 3 times they play? I think you would agree that such an individual's fortune cannot be attributed simply to luck.

It's up to you whether you agree or not whether there are individuals who can beat the market. But to say that there aren't, or to attribute their fortune to blind luck is putting blinders onto reality.


You're right that the 75k I invested was spread over the time period and employer matches are included in that total. If you take the currently value of my 401k and subtract the original cost basis I get roughly 100% return divided by 11 years = 9% annual roughly. I didn't count reinvested dividends in the cost basis because they didn't come out of my pocket. Some might feel that throws things off. I prefer to look at it that way.

My point is that your argument compares the equal values of a broad index at two points in time and assumes that some amount invested at the first point will not have appreciated at all by the second point. I guess you are assuming that investing in a corresponding index fund during that period would earn exactly zero.

If we assume that initial investment held for the entire period, the face value of the shares might be exactly the same at both points in time, but you would still have many more shares than you initially started with assuming dividends during the intervening time were reinvested.

My point I guess is that growth in value doesn't just come from the face value of a stock or mutual fund since hopefully they pay dividends during that time period. The longer the time period in question, the greater the growth derived from those dividends correct?

In fact my situation is certainly different because as PJ pointed out, I was purchasing over time and consequently bought even more shares when the market was down. This means I had different rates of return for each contribution, Many of the intervening purchases might have been when the funds were lower in value. So looking at the end point, all those purchases DID appreciate in value didn't they? That's the way most of us invest - slowly and over a long period of time. That's my point I guess, that focusing on the ups and downs of stock value, we forget about the other ways our investments grow.

You point about a long time horizon is the key one i think. If you have a short time horizon, then you can't take advantage of fluctuations over time or compounded dividends and the like and the raw face value becomes paramount. I can see that if I had a large chunk of cash I wanted to invest all at once, I'd be very interested in what I anticipated the market to do after that point, because investing all at once I could get creamed if I had the misfortune to invest at the wrong time.


I think you're doing fine with your investing and I really have no problems with your approach. You say yourself that long time horizon is key, and I agree with that.

The reason your rate of return is 9% and not 0% because you continued investing between 2000-03 as the market went down. With dollar cost averaging those investments provided you with a far greater than 9% return which offset the losses from your investments up to 2000. It's meat and potatoes buy-and-hold and I applaud you for it. I suspect your current rate of return is lower than it was in October 2008 (and I suspect it will continue lower before it goes back up again). But so long as you hold on and don't sell you'll be fine. That has always been my point from my first comment--that buy and hold works if you're committed to the long haul. (In my opinion, at least 15 years.)

And on a final note:


Of course it's possible to make money as an active investor. My only claim is that in the long term, active investors' performance will trail well-diversified, low-fee passive investors' performance, especially when transaction costs are taken into account.

Who are these people that have beat the market long-term by timing alone? So far you've asserted they exist, but I'd like to see something I can independently verify.

When I was talking about successful market timers being lucky (on par with winning the lottery), I meant the ones who are successful over a long period of time. It doesn't take very much luck to guess right a few times, even 1 time in 3.

Imagine a game where players flip coins 21 times. The big prize goes to anyone who gets heads all 21 times. With a few players, the odds of anyone winning that game are very low, but when you have several million players, it actually becomes likely that someone will win, maybe even a few people. Millions of people invest in the stock market too. That doesn't mean those who appear to have won by timing are especially disciplined or have a system that works. They could just be lucky.

Now another question for you: where do you get the idea that we're "in a bear market rally that may taper off as early as August"? And that "after that will be another big downturn in the market"? And how could you possibly know "we still have another 8 years of near zero return before the market gets going again"? Which tea leaves told you that?

If these are things that anyone with discipline and a system could know, they'd be reflected in the price already, and there would be no advantage to exploit.

Matt H,

John W. Henry, Larry Hite, Ed Seykota, Richard Dennis, William Eckhardt, Victor Sperandeo, Michael Marcus, Paul Tudor Jones, and George Lane are all individuals who at least have claimed to have amassed fortunes beating the market over the long term. I couldn't tell you whether these claims are true since I have not seen their bank accounts or watch them trade with my own eyes. But since you asked me to name names, here they are. Brian Shannon and Tim Knight are also individuals who also seem to have done well beating the market over the long term.

The reason I think we're still in a bear market rally is because I believe in the Dow Theory and applying the Dow Theory we haven't had confirmation of rising averages in both the DJIA and DJTA. Therefore we're still in a long term secular trend. Fundamentally, there is still a massive amount of uncertainty regarding how much more needs to be written down by the banks (particularly the regionals), which also leads me to suspect that we haven't seen a bottom in financials. Also, housing is still a big mess.

The reason I think there will be another big downturn is for the same reason I think this is a bear market rally. If you believe my premise that this is a bear market rally, then it stands to reason that the market will turn south and head lower.

Finally, I never claimed to believe we still have another 8 years of zero return. Go back to that sentence and you'll see I start the premise with IF we still have another 8 years... That was merely a hypothetical and not a prediction.

Dave --

Glad to see there are about 10 people who can beat the market out of the millions who have tried. See why index funds can be a good option? ;-)

FYI -- here's what one very successful active investor has to say about them:


I think that's a distorted conclusion. I never claimed to have an exhaustive list of individuals who can "beat the market." I would imagine it's a fairly smaller percentage. But I was merely rebutting Matt H's claim that ALL active investors who do well do so based on luck.

Re: Buffett's bet, according to a Fortune magazine article I read a couple months back even he only estimates a 60% chance of winning. The hedge fund he's betting against said it believed it had a 95% chance of winning. So as far as confidence goes, Buffett is much less confident he'll win than the hedge fund. Only time will tell.

Also, I don't disagree that index funds can be a good option. Just so long as you have a minimum 15+ year horizon.

Dave --

As long as we can agree that only a small percentage of individuals can beat the index, I'm good with that.


Good luck with the Dow Theory (you'll need it). I'll stick with the far more academically respectable Efficient Market Hypothesis.

I wouldn't be at all surprised if we haven't seen the bottom yet in financials, and it's true, housing is still a mess. The problem is that the part of what you're saying that is generally agreed upon is already factored into the price.

The rest (i.e. the technical analysis) is financial pseudoscience. If you've seen enough pseudoscience, it all starts to look and sound the same. It's full of jargon, because things that are complicated and esoteric seem more believable. It seems to have evidence going for it, but virtually all of the evidence turns out to be of the emotionally satisfying anecdotal variety (like the Market Wizards you listed above). Most obvious of all, there are ample opportunities to spend money on it (books, seminars, etc.)

If you're thinking about spending money on any seminars, consider taking a statistics course instead. Before you buy another technical analysis book, try Fooled By Randomness or Innumeracy instead.

Matt H,

You say that "part of" what I'm saying about financials/housing that is "generally agreed upon" is already factored into prices. What "part" of what I am saying is agreed upon? By whom? How do you measure this? What proof do you have?

Generally speaking you seem to be quite confident about your conclusions and assumptions. You make widely general statements such as technical analysis is "financial pseudoscience," and that "virtually all of the evidence turns out to be of the emotionally satisfying variety."

I'm not going to argue with you about the virtues or vices of technical analysis. But I do find it surprising that you are so sure of your conclusions when reasonable and educated people disagree widely. Given the great amount of uncertainty out there, I would be far less sure of making such extreme conclusions if I were you.

You've asked me to identify individuals who have succeeded in beating the market long term, which I've done. Your response is to label them "Market Wizards," suggest that their techniques are merely emotionally satisfying and anecdotal, and generally speaking disregard them. Again, I have to wonder how you are so sure of yourself so as to so easily dismiss the facts in front of you.

So I guess I'll have to ask: If it's true that technical analysis is financial pseudoscience based virtually on emotionally satisfying anecdotal evidence, and if you also agree that those individuals I identified have been able to beat the market on a long term basis that cannot be attributed simply to chance, then how do you explain their success? This seems to be a glaring and irreconcilable inconsistency within your worldview.


Ah, but I do not agree that those individuals' long-term success cannot be attributed simply to chance. If it's a one in a million shot, and millions take a shot, some will probably hit it.

I haven't had time to research everyone on your list, but even the first one leaves plenty of room for doubt. According to the article about him in Wikipedia, the company he founded based on his trading techniques did very well for 20 years, but then in 2005 started to perform poorly. Its assets under management fell to a fraction of what they were.

I am surprised that you disagree that the long-term success cannot be attributed to chance. Again, your analogy of one in a million shot is not correct. It's more like, a one in a million shot, but a small group of people hit the bulls eye again and again and again (and again and again...).

Think of it like a casino: If someone goes gambling and wins big one night, then it's probably just luck. But what if that person came back the next day and the next day and the next day and just kept winning? What if he won big 4 nights out of 5? If you were the pit boss of that casino you would throw him out, because you know his winning could not be based on chance.

So John Henry had a 20 year winning streak before his fund started performing poorly. That's pretty darn good. That's better than Legg Mason's winning streak. And who knows why they started performing poorly? It could be because his fund got too big. Or because he started getting lazy. But if you are going to say that 20 years of beating the market was based purely on chance, statistically speaking, that is an incredible statement. I can't give you the specific calculations, but I would imagine it's infinitesimally unlikely.

Also, you never responded to my question about why you think that "part" of the finance/housing crisis has been factored into the market. Why would an efficient market only factor in "part" of the crisis. By using the word "part" you are acknowleding that there is more to come. But if you know that there is more to come, then why wouldn't that already be factored into the market? Again, how do you measure what "part" has been factored in and what "part" hasn't? I suspect this is just a generalization based purely on your own gut instinct.

By the way, Henry's fund was founded in 1981 and did well until 2005 so it's more like 24 years.

I suspect neither of us will be able to conclusively change each other's minds on this. If I really cared I would provide you will detailed statistics which show that the chances of someone beating the market in the fashion that Henry did for 20 years running is probably less than 1 in a billion (in other words, far less than the total amount of individuals on the planet who have ever invested in the US stock market). Sure it's possible that, as the adage goes, given enough time, a random group of monkeys, randomly typing on a typewriter, could one day type the entire manuscript of Hamlet. But you would nead a near infinite amount of time for that to happen by chance alone. The U.S. stock market has barely been in existence for a couple of centuries! Not nearly the amount of time necessary for chance to explain how some have succeeded.

So I will stand by what I have said from the very beginning: (1) For most people, buy and hold is the best approach, but only if they hold for 15+ years. (2) A small number of individuals can succeed in beating the market over the long term. Their success is NOT attributable merely to chance. I come to these conclusions based on the empirical evidence I see.

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