Trading Desk: The Ground Game And The Grand Slam

Filter out all the noise and it’s been a stunning 12 months for investors with clarity and courage. The S&P 500 is up 27% in the past year, which is somewhere between double and triple its usual return rate. The NASDAQ is beating that score by close to 10 percentage points. Even the sluggish Dow industrials are participating.

This is when the boom happens and this is how the boom feels. We’ll talk about what’s driving the bulls in a few minutes, but up here I want to pose a question. Don’t worry. There’s no wrong answer. It’s about your personal investment orientation.

How much gain is “enough?” Think across any time frame you like: a lifetime, decades, years, months or minutes. What rate does your money need to move over that period to make you happy?

It’s a key question right now when most investors are making money. The world might feel lousy, but the mood in the market is pretty good. Fear of missing out has replaced the fear of losing your capital.

And that means that the tension in the market shifts from “can we make money” to “are we making enough to keep up.” The danger now is envy. People chasing gains they see elsewhere can take on too much risk and ultimately stand to have a bad time when the cycle turns sour.

That’s why I’m asking: not looking at anyone else, what kind of return path would satisfy you? What would make you happy?

For some people, the target is extremely modest. They’re looking to preserve their purchasing power from inflation and maybe earn enough to pay the bills.

Maybe that means taking 4-5% a year to cover required retirement account distributions without cutting too deeply into the principal. That’s not the kind of situation where you want to take a lot of risk . . . and it’s not the kind of situation that requires a high-risk posture.

We do that in Value Authority. If that’s you, check it out. It’s not a sprint. We never try to hit home runs. It’s a ground game where the goal is simply to keep running the bases to ensure we get as close as possible to that 4-5% a year and, under the right conditions, beat it.

Say you want a little more . . . maybe 8-11% a year over the long haul. You’ll need to accept volatility along the way. Some years will end with a temporary dip but you hang on because you know that throughout history they’ve always recovered and made investors richer and richer.

That’s the S&P 500. I can’t help you there. Buy an index fund and don’t let go.

But maybe you’re looking enviously at all the stocks that have soared 100% or more in the past year and that’s what you want. I get it. Settling for 8-11% a year is OK if you’re saving for retirement but it’s “only” going to double your money every decade or so.

My GameChangers portfolio is up 55% in about 5-1/2 months. That’s easily enough to double in a year. While the level of speed comes and goes, we’re beating the S&P 500 average over the past decade.

Want to see for yourself? The details are here.

And maybe you want to keep hitting base hits . . . again and again and again. They aren’t big in themselves but they keep cash flowing. Maybe you rack up 10-15% in a few days.

That’s how the options market works. If you’re new to it, I can teach you. We’ve made money on our last 15 High Octane trades in a row, an unbroken streak going back to February. On average, 16% apiece.

You probably don’t want to compound those wins because sooner or later the trend goes the wrong way and we end up scoring a loss. But take the profit off the table and then roll the starting stake into the next trade? You’ll add that 16% back to your account at a rate of roughly one trade per week.

Not bad. It’s different. It can be volatile. But lately it’s been a long way from settling for 4% a year. The grand slam starts with the first single . . . and then the second . . . and then the third.