Hello. My name is Chad Taylor, Managing Partner with MDT Financial Advisors here in Houston, Texas. Today is Wednesday after the 4th of July, and I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday weekend. Hope you got to relax a little bit, spend some time with friends and family, and watch some fireworks or whatever it is you do during that holiday, and I hope it was a good time for you.

 I wanted to quickly go over some of what's going on in the markets right now. So we ended last week on a down note. Well, we ended on a positive note. They rallied on Friday a little bit, but we were down for the week, giving back some of the gains that we had gotten the week before, which was a pretty good week in the markets.

The bond markets, though, did a little bit better last week because bond yields fell, so bond prices rose, which has been different than this year, where you've had both stocks and bonds not performing very well. And in fact, we ended the half year last week, where the stock market as described as the S&P 500 was down a little over 20%. And the bond market by the Bloomberg Aggregate Bond Index was down a little over 10%. And so it was a pretty rough first part of the year where stocks and bonds didn't perform very well.

So what's going to happen now, or how long is this going to last? And so that's the question that I get quite often, and I had a couple of charts I wanted to share with you on that. Okay, so if you can see this chart here, there's a lot of numbers. Don't get too hung up on it. If you would like a copy of this report that it came from, just let me know, and I can for sure get it to you. But when we look at bear markets, this is looking at the last 11 bear markets, and how long will bear markets last, it always depends on what's going on. If we have a recession, if we don't have a recession, if it's a mild recession, if it's a bad recession, all of that matters, and that's why it's hard to say exactly how long this is going to last, or when will it end.

But if you can see from this chart, over those 11 bear markets, the average length was 16 months. We're a little over five months into this bear market that started at the peak on January the 3rd. But if we have a bear market without a recession, so if we don't go into a recession, on average it's been about a little over five, almost six months, before it turned. And if we did have a recession, it was almost 19, almost 20 months. You can see that at the bottom. But it doesn't always play out that way. In 2020, we had a recession and a bear market, and it lasted one month, and it took almost five months to get back to where we were. So it always doesn't play out the same way.

But one of the things that I always try to keep in mind is what happens after we finally do make the turn, and on average, the stock market six months later is up a little over 27%. If we don't have a recession, it's usually up a little over 20% on average. 12 months out on average, it's up 43%. And without a recession, it's up 29%. And so there's a lot of reasons to stay the course when you're going through one of these.

The next thing that always get question of, why don't we get out and then get back in when it gets better. And intuitively, that sounds good. The hard thing is, it's hard to do, and I wouldn't say it's impossible, but it's very difficult, and so that's what this chart shows. And this is a chart from 2001 to 2020, and it's just showing that if you were fully invested in the S&P 500, during that timeframe... Now most of our clients, especially the retirees, are not a hundred percent in the stock market, but you'll understand what I'm talking about here. But if you stayed fully invested, you were up about a little over 7% during that timeframe. But if you missed the 10 best days, so 10 days over that 20 year timeframe, your return was a little over 3% or 3.3. If you missed the 20 best days, you were basically up less than 1% or you averaged less than 1%. And if you missed the 30 best days, you were negative. Your return was negative.

Okay, now you might be thinking, "Well, that's hard to do. How am I going to just miss the 10 best days or the 30 best days?" The problem is, though, usually the best days are coupled right along with the worst days. They go together, and so that's why it's always difficult to do when you're trying to get out and get back in at the right time. You have to make the correct decision twice.

And so what do you do right now? We always say that when you're in times like this, if your portfolio is aligned with your investment plan, a lot of times holding steady is the best thing to do and, historically speaking, has been the best thing to do. But let's say your plan is not aligned, or if you have a big cash need coming up, making changes might be appropriate, or if you're getting very, very nervous. Let's see what making changes to the portfolio does to your plan over time. And so if you see this and you have questions, or if you just want to go over your plan again and talk about it, please let me know, and we can sure set that up.

But with that, I hope the second half of the year is better. I hope everything is good in your world. If you have any questions, let me know, and don't hesitate to reach out to us. Thank you.