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Sunday, March 18, 2018
Article written by Thomas Mullooly

The Point Behind Point & Figure

After receiving the e-mail I sent out last week, a client called and asked “what is the point of all of these charts that you refer to?”

I told her that “point and figure charts, and the strategy that I use with those charts, is designed to prevent you from being involved in a disaster.”

I asked her to humor me for a moment and let me tell her about a gentleman I recently met.

In 1998, he decided that he’d retire in mid-2000, when he turned 65.

Back then, his 401k plan was worth $1,214,000.

He expected to withdraw $80,000 per year from the plan (or about 6 to 7% of the balance), when he figured this out in 1998.

He went on to tell me that he expected this would be a reasonable amount, because the market had returned an average of 15% per year for the previous 15 years.

Even if the market didn’t make 15%, he said, he read somewhere that “over the long haul, the market returned a little over 10% per year, going back to the 1920’s.”

So, since he planned to only take out 6 or 7% per year, and it’s growing at least by 10% or more, he estimated he would never run out of money.

So he made big plans!

He planned to renovate his house, put in a pool. Also do a little traveling, something he never had time to do while he was raising a family and working. His wife also made plans to stop working as well.

His retirement date was Friday, April 14, 2000; his 401K had a value of $1,277,000.00.

One year later, in April, 2001, his 401K plan had a value of $979,000.

By December 2002, his 401k account was worth $764,000.

He had not even made a withdrawal yet, but his solar-powered calculator told him bad news: he’d be scrounging for money by the time he was 76. The $80,000.00 per year he planned to take out would now drain this account entirely in about nine years.

The distribution was scaled back, from $80,000 to $24,000.00 a year.

Going from $80,000 to $24,000 a year was a lifestyle change for him. He felt burned. Dreams of traveling went out the window. Buy a new car? No chance.

His wife has taken a job in the library. He’s now back at work, as a consultant, hustling for jobs. And now he’s just learned that his former company is changing their healthcare plan for their retirees.

What if this were you in this situation?

Right now, he wants to forget about asset allocation, pie charts and “pie in the sky” stories of long-term returns and growth rates. He told me that pretty soon, he won’t be worrying about “pie in the sky,” he’ll be wondering... how to get pie on the table!

Moral of the story: when the point and figure charts go on defense, we should heed the warning!

Please don’t get “sucked in” to the concept that the market returns an “average of ___% per year” and “over the long haul” things will work out OK.

Just know that going on defense doesn’t mean the market will go immediately straight down.

What we DO know is that the risk of losing money in our accounts is much higher when the indicators are flashing defense. This has been the case since the bullish percent charts were created over 50 years ago.

If you want me to show you how these charts can guide you, just call me and I will GLADLY show you in less than 10 minutes.

This is where stock selection is key.

There has never been a more crucial time for you to be working with someone who watches the market on a daily basis. If you have any questions whatsoever regarding our game plan, you need to call me immediately at the office. The number is 732-223-9000.

Since the summer of 1998, there have been four times where the S&P 500 has returned 20% or more. And there have been four times where the S&P 500 has LOST 20% or more. In just seven years!

But if you just sat there and “held on,” no real progress was made. You can look it up; you’re right where you stood in 1998. Pretty soon it will be a decade where the “buy and hold” investor will have made no money.
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