The strong rise in the stock market, led by big gains in the financials, energy, and industrials sectors, has dominated the news recently. Dubbed by some as the “Trump Rally,” widespread anticipation of less regulation, lower taxes, and pro-growth policies have pushed major stock indexes to record highs. While the most aggressive, risk-on investors have reaped the full scope of these gains, the effects on the retirement and brokerage accounts of the average investor have been more moderate. The reason why is simple.
In theory, successful long-term investing seems pretty straightforward: buy a diversified set of companies with solid business prospects and reasonable valuations, patiently monitor them over years or even decades, and watch your money grow. Simple, right? If only it were that easy.