This is a Christmas Tree Stock Market
As a way to mentally get myself through the dog days of summer I sometimes enjoy thinking back on Christmases past. As many of you know my mom and dad ran a landscape business here in the Old Pueblo from 1972 to 2014. One of the things my dad loved to do for the holidays was to buy the family a living Christmas tree. He'd pick up a five or fifteen gallon Afghan Pine on one of his many trips to the nursery and bring it home to surprise us.
Now as sweet as this gesture was, my mom, sister, and I were more in the "bigger the tree, the better" camp. So if I'm being honest (and I am), we'd be a little bummed out. But my mom would make the best of it. She'd make it a little taller by putting it up on blocks and then we'd pick the best three ornaments (because that's all that would fit) and voilà, we were good to go!
Sensing we were less than enthusiastic, my dad would always defend that little tree and remind us how environmentally friendly we were being (way before it was cool by the way). He would tell us how awesome it would be to have a big old tree in the yard one day and how bad he always felt having to take the poor dead cut trees to the dump usually before the New Year because they would dry out so fast. Although all of these are valid points, at the end of the day our tree was still tiny.
Flash forward to today and there is a little mini pine grove in my parents' pool area! Imagine that, having a tiny tree actually did turn out to be pretty cool. But it didn't happen over night.
Whenever we planted a tree we would dig the hole at least 1.5x the size of the root ball (which was another thing I kind of hated). Anyone that has dug a hole in Tucson should agree caliche is not a fun time. Anyway, we would dig the hole so the roots had room to grow and we would mix mulch and loose dirt together (50/50 ratio) at the bottom of the hole. We'd make sure there was a nice basin around the tree to hold water. We'd water it in immediately after planting it and continued to water it until it was established. Now, it is self sustaining!
One thing we did not do is sit there beside it and watch it grow. Other than that being a pretty big waste of time, it would have been miserable. We would have been subjected to all of the elements common to Tucson; hot, hot, hot, cold, hot again, wet, attacked by mosquitos, possibly bitten by rattlesnakes, maybe struck by lightening, and finally....hot again. Ignoring it after the initial care we gave it seemed to be the secret ingredient because that little tree along with its brother and sister trees are pretty darn big today.
Over the last several months I have asked you all more than once to please be patient with this market and let me be the first to say you are doing a great job! But remain resolute, I really think we are still a ways away from a brand new baby bull market being born. In fact I really think when the Federal Reserve is done or close to done raising rates is when we might expect mama bull to go into labor. But, I could be wrong and I don't want to risk missing out. So, please keep in mind its time in the market not timing the market that gets the job done. We don't want to miss those random and lately rare "good days'. In fact, according to a piece recently released by Putnam Investments missing out on the top ten days over the last 15 years would cut your long term returns by more than half and "that ain't good" as Frank Sinatra said/sung.
The bottom line and the honest truth is nobody knows what tomorrow will bring and so we remain committed to the business of planning not predicting. We will continue to do our level best for you and will remain laser focused on the things we have some control over like taxes, fees, diversification, and asset allocation.
I am as sure as I can possibly be the stock market will prove to continue to be a great long term investment and one of the better ways to keep up with inflation. But, it will continue to require patience....of the Christmas tree growing variety. I'm confident one day we will wake up and be surprised to find a big ole' pine tree in our back yard!
Thank you mom for the photo...and for always pushing for the big trees. Thank you dad for teaching me patience and for the nice shade!