All this market noise and attention could make even the most staunch “buy-and-hold” investors begin to question their financial strategies:

“Should I ride the wave and buy more stocks?”

“Is the stock market overvalued? Is it time to move my money into bonds?”

“What’s in store for 2017?”

We believe that milestones such as Dow 20,000 are the perfect time to remind yourself to stick to your investment plan. Because, quite frankly, the answer to the headline is less about “now what” and more about “so what.”

Our outlook for 2017

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It’s not about a closing-bell number

The markets are uncertain and cyclical. Long-term success can’t be measured at a single closing bell.

In our experience, the majority of investors tend to have portfolios balanced between stocks and bonds, so any kind of comparison with—or reaction to—an all-stock index (such as the Dow) is bound to disappoint. And, don’t forget, the Dow is composed of only 30 stocks—not exactly the type of broad diversification we believe in.

The real benchmark for your success

What matters is that you’re making progress toward your goals. Your investing plan needs to account for your financial needs and aspirations, risk tolerance, tax circumstances, spending needs, and expected savings, among other things. All those factors help inform a diversified asset allocation that’s right for you and your goals.

Investing can be emotional. So it’s understandable that at times it’s hard to maintain a long-term perspective and a disciplined approach. That’s why you need to keep your emotions in check and try not to chase returns or overreact to an arbitrary market milestone.

In the end, the only milestone that rings true is when you reach your long-term financial goals. And staying focused and tuning out the daily market news—both good and bad—can help you get there.

Notes:
All investing is subject to risk, including the possible loss of the money you invest.

There is no guarantee that any particular asset allocation or mix of funds will meet your investment objectives or provide you with a given level of income.