They Say Timing is Everything. And the Same Goes for Market Timing. But is it?
When we bought our Golden Retriever as a puppy, we also had a 5-year-old boy starting kindergarten in two weeks, and a 3-year-old girl who never stopped talking or moving. Oh, and my wife, a high school counselor, started back at work the same week week after having the summer off, while I’d be away for four days, attending our annual Cabot Wealth Summit conference. All of this got me thinking about timing.
On the surface, throwing an eight-week-old puppy into the busiest month of the year for my family may have seemed like a hasty decision. It sure felt like it when the puppy started yelping to go out to pee at 1:30 in the morning … and when my daughter entered our room at 4 in the morning for her nightly visit … and again when the puppy was up for good at 5:30.
And it would really feel like it to my wife the rest of the week as she shuttled kids and puppy to and fro by herself while dealing with the usual stresses that come with working at a high school as a new school year begins.
Perhaps our timing could have been better.
Similarly, there have been better times to buy stocks than the current one. But market timing is an imperfect science. This could be a good time to buy some great growth stocks while they’re trading at a discount. If you’re a long-term investor who is unperturbed by the ebbs and flows of the market, now may be just the retreat you were looking for to create an ideal entry point. “Buy on dips,” we always advise.
Besides, if the long term is your investment timeline, you probably won’t care much if the current market is more than just a pullback. If volatility continues and stocks are knocked back for another month or two, you’re OK with it. You’re betting that prices will be higher a year from now, five years from now, and 10 years from now. They usually are.
If that’s the case, then market timing may not matter to you. You might be fine buying stocks regardless of what’s going on in the market.
And that’s how I rationalized the timing of our puppy purchase.
Sure, the first week may be hell. Sure, we could have waited another week. Sure, my wife may have needed an IV and an impromptu 48-hour spa getaway the second I got back from the Cabot conference.
But a year later, we won’t remember how physically, mentally and emotionally exhausting the week was. We’ll just be happy we have a dog, reassuring me that timing is overrated.