Peaks and Valleys.

Bill Parrott |

Last summer, my wife and I hiked to the top of Estes Cone located inside the Rocky Mountain National Park.  Our hike started in a valley at the trailhead to Long’s Peak and marched along the Eugenia Mine Trail towards the summit of Estes Cone at an elevation of 11,006 feet.   It wasn’t a fourteener but it was still taxing.  

For most of our hike we were in a valley surrounded by gigantic trees and massive rocks and unable to see the top of Estes Cone.  I had faith that we were on the right path because we had a trail map, a compass, our friends and a guide.  I knew that if we stayed on the trail we were going to reach the summit.  The hiker that always gets into trouble is the one who does not pay attention to their map or decides to leave the trail.   

Once atop Estes Cone we were treated to an amazing 360-degree view.   From the top of the cone we were able to see Long’s Peak, Twin Sisters, the town of Estes Park and much more.  Our time on the summit, however, was short lived because a lighting storm was fast approaching.

When the stock market is in the valley it is easy to lose sight of your goal.    It’s in the valley when investors are most likely to make poor investment decisions and abandon their financial plan.  It might appear safe and wise to seek shelter of a savings account or money market fund and wait for the storm to pass but this mistake could leave a long term mark on your portfolio.   The Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped over 11% to start this year.  Since February 11th, the Dow has climbed about 7.5%.   The market is still not back to the peak of the year but it looks a lot better today than it did a few weeks ago.    An investor who left the trail during the market trough and disowned their plan missed out on this nice little rebound.

If you stay on the trail and follow your plan you will arrive at your destination.   It is the time you spend in the valley that will allow you to enjoy the view from the summit.   As a matter of fact, you can’t reach the summit unless you go through the valley.

Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.  Psalm 23:4.

Bill Parrott is the President and CEO of Parrott Wealth Management, LLC.

Source:  Yahoo! Finance, Dow Jones Industrial Average interactive chart.   National Geographic Rocky Mountain National Park trail map.