Our family’s love of theme parks began when Launa directed the Dixie Children’s Choir and took them on a performance trip every year. We enjoyed watching the kid’s excitement as they passed by us throughout the day, hurrying to the next ride. From those days we have continued our theme park tradition, even taking time out of our last Italy trip to try out an amazing park at Lake Garda.
One day I decided to statistically analyze our typical theme park visit, (of course I did), and came up with the following numbers. On a normal day, we spend 8 hours in the park. During that time, we average about 8 rides. The rest of the time is spent walking around, eating or shopping. Though it varies, I estimated the average ride wait time to be 30 minutes while the average ride lasts only 3 minutes. This means that we spend four hours waiting in line and only 24 minutes of our day actually on a ride. Spending half our time at the park waiting in a boring line does not seem like a very good value proposition.
Despite the poor ratio of wait-to-ride times, rarely would our children not be laughing while exiting the ride, thrilled with the experience and wanting to run quickly to get in another line. They even developed a phrase to sum up the entire ride experience. While coming out of the ride they would yell, “Totally worth it!”
The investing world is one that goes through three main cycles, each one presenting a unique risk to investors. They are up, down and sideways. Up markets can be dangerous because emotionally driven investors become greedy. Down markets are dangerous because investors become fearful. Neither emotion leads to good decisions. However, I have found that sideways markets generate a unique emotion that brings its own risks – boredom.
A 2019 report by JP Morgan revealed that during the 20-year period beginning January 1999, if you missed out on the 10 top days in the stock market your returns would have been cut in half. Think carefully about the implications of that research as several other studies found similar results. My observation is that investing is often boring, much like waiting in line for a theme park ride. In sideways, boring markets, there is a strong temptation to jump out of line and go find something more exciting. If you give in to the temptation you may miss out on the 10 or 20 magical days that make it all worthwhile. Occasional boredom is a price we pay for those days. Additionally, the “excitement” you find elsewhere might not be the type you were seeking.
The market indexes today are pretty much where they were when summer began. The news is repetitive, and things are feeling a little boring. Hang in there investors. Our family will spend 8 hours at a theme park for those 24 amazing minutes, but oh what a thrill those minutes bring. As my kids would say, “Totally worth it!”
Dan Wyson, CFP® is author of “The Gold Egg,” and “21 Financial Myths” and owner of Wyson Financial/Wealth Management 375 E. Riverside Dr. St. George, UT 84790 – 435-986-9525 – Securities and Advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network, member FINRA/SIPC, a registered investment advisor www.wysonfinancial.com.