The Small Changes You Don’t See

  • The imperceptible change in your son or daughter as they grow up.
  • The growth in the shrub you bought as a young plant that has now matured in your garden.
  • The young, excited puppy you brought home that is now a faithful companion by your side.
  • The experiences you have witnessed and lessons learnt every day of your working life as you have become older and wiser.

Every day has seen small, insignificant changes that on their own count for nothing but added on top of one another, like the bricks of a wall, amount to significant and lasting growth.

These are the single steps on a journey to significance.

This is also how your money should grow; insignificantly daily but monumentally over decades.

The chart below (click to expand) shows the daily change in the S&P500 index in the US over the past 52 years.

You will notice that apart from a small number of large swings; -20% on Black Monday in 1987 or the period around the Credit Crunch and more recently, COVID,  most of the daily returns fit into a very tight corridor of +1.5% to -1.5%.

In fact, the average return, even allowing for the double-digit days is a barely detectable 0.04% (the green line).

But, like the child growing up or the shrub maturing, left long enough those seemingly inconsequential changes grow into something of great consequence.

This second chart (click to expand) shows the accumulated growth on those daily returns since 1979. Not, a percentage point here or there but 3,700%!

It is changes like this, by participating in this growth, that makes the difference between a future full of choice and opportunity or one that requires penny-pinching and going without.

And, even if you are in the final chapters of your career, it doesn’t mean you have missed out. During a retirement that spans multiple decades, the rewards of stock market investing are available to retirees too.

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Photo by Bekka Mongeau: