It appears that about half the population thinks Trump should be voted out next year and the other half thinks the opposite. The anti-Trump half likely sees lots of reasons the president will have a negative impact on stock prices (tariffs, anyone?), while the pro-Trump half sees no reason for the bull market to end (tax cuts work).
Remember that when you own stocks, you own mostly large corporations who can look back on wildly successful product and service launches; they’re big companies because they’re selling a lot of something we want. You do not own the U.S. Congress.
Sure, politics have some impact on economic activity, but mostly the economy moves due to the sum of the efforts of everyone in the country. After all, “the economy” is an estimated total sum of the value of all our activities from buying and selling stuff to teaching 8-year-olds English to running a lawn care service company.
“But, but, what about all the bad stuff they’re doing in D.C.?”
Before you look up real estate in Canada, remember that the economy and the markets are driven by forces far greater than that of a single politician or even of a political party. Of course, politicians will want credit for the good and blame opponents for the bad. We know that, and we can choose to see through it.
In November 2020, roughly half of all workers will be very disappointed when the presidential election is history. The other half will be ecstatic. I expect practically all of them will continue working and do their best to do a good job. It’s easy to forget this obvious but important reason corporations will be able to go on chasing larger profits, which could lead to higher stock prices.
If you still fret over politics and world events ruining your investments, just look at trouble spots of the last decade: Grexit (remember how Greek trouble was going to unravel our financial system?), U.S. national debt downgrade, Brexit, oil price collapse, Japanese nuclear accident, Ebola, Gulf oil spill, and on and on.
All ended up in a long list of speed bumps — nothing more.
My point: there are always things that go wrong, and more things that can go wrong. We adjust to what goes wrong. We fix problems. We’re actually pretty good at fixing our own messes. When it comes to predicting problems, however, we’re pretty poor.
This is why I think we should slow down when people want us to worry about what-ifs and remind ourselves that the bad stuff may not happen, or it may play out differently — and if it does indeed happen, we’ll do our best to try to fix the outcome.
When investing, first of all focus on your own plan, not on political or global news.