Do you remember March 24, 1980?

Bill Parrott |

Do you remember March 24, 1980? I don't. I was 15. I was probably concerned with three things. Was I going to the beach? Were the Dodgers going to win? Where were my friends and I going to eat lunch? I probably went to the beach, the Dodger's undoubtedly won, and I most likely went to McDonald's.

On March 24, 1980, the S&P 500 fell more than 3%, and I am sure the morning newspaper headlines were full of doom and gloom. The index would drop 17% in six weeks, but it finished the year up 26%.


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If you bought the dip on that day and currently own the S&P 500, you're up 4,230% - a  $10,000 investment is now worth $433,000.

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I mentioned I probably ate lunch at McDonald's. What if you bought the stock on that same day? If you gobbled up $10,000 worth of McDonald's stock, your original investment is now worth $2.7 million, producing an average annual return of 14.5%!

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I  believe in the buy-and-hold strategy because it's impossible to time the markets. When markets drop, it allows you to invest in great companies at lower prices. It is similar to flying. The only way to get on an airplane is when it is on the ground. You lose if you are not on that plane when the pilot leaves the gate and roars down the runway.

However, I realize not everybody has the confidence to buy stocks during a market meltdown, so here are a few suggestions to help strengthen your portfolio.

  • If you need your money in one year or less, do not invest in stocks. Instead, keep your money in cash or savings account, US T-Bills, or certificates of deposit.
  • If you're retiring in three to five years, keep three years' worth of expenses in cash, US T-Bills, or certificates of deposit. For example, if your annual costs are $100,000, allocate $300,000 to cash or cash equivalents.
  • If you are concerned about the international turmoil, invest in small or mid-cap companies headquartered in the United States. Small companies typically do not have much international exposure.
  • Add dividend-paying stocks to your portfolio. According to YCharts, over 1,500 companies are yielding 2% or more. The current yield on the 30-Year US Treasury is 2.04%.
  • Asset allocation and diversification still work. A balanced portfolio of stocks, bonds, and cash will perform well over time. Since 1980, a balanced portfolio of 60% stocks, 40% bonds generated an average annual return of 11.4%.[1]
  • If your holding period is three to five years or more, let your stocks run.

Current markets are volatile and not fun, but this can be an opportunity for you to reexamine your investment and financial goals to make sure they align with your long-term financial plan.

Be on your guard, stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13.

October 4, 2021


Bill Parrott, CFP®, is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management in Austin, Texas. Parrott Wealth Management is a fee-only, fiduciary, registered investment advisor firm. Our goal is to remove complexity, confusion, and worry from the investment and financial planning process so our clients can pursue a life of purpose. Our firm does not have an asset or fee minimum, and we work with anybody who needs financial help regardless of age, income, or asset level. PWM's custodian is TD Ameritrade, and our annual fee starts at .5% of your assets and drops depending on the level of your assets.


Note: Investments are not guaranteed and do involve risk. Your returns may differ from those posted in this blog. PWM is not a tax advisor, nor do we give tax advice. Please consult your tax advisor for items that are specific to your situation. Options involve risk and aren't suitable for every investor.






[1] DFA Returns Web Tool – 1/1/1980 to 09/30/2021