Presidential Elections & The Stock Market: Is There a Correlation?
About the author: Lamar Watson, CFP®, is a Fee-Only Financial Advisor in the Washington, D.C. area, that works with clients virtually across the country. Lamar's work with his clients focuses on budgeting, employee benefits, paying down debt, buying their first home, and investing. Lamar is the Founder of Dream Financial Planning, a virtual financial planning firm specifically designed to help young professionals and minorities take control of their finances and fulfill their dreams. Feel free to schedule a complimentary consultation to learn how we use the The DREAM Financial Planning Process ™ to help our clients achieve their goals.
Sex, lies and accusations of corruption - no election year is complete without them. And while the 2020 election has proven to be one of the most contentious in recent history, contention is nothing new in the world of politics. From the political match-up of Jefferson v. Adams to this year’s Biden v. Trump, mud has always been slung, accusations have always been made and many Americans have found themselves uncertain of a future under new (or unchanged) leadership.
While Adams and Jefferson didn’t shy away from printed ads and public debates, there’s something vastly different about today’s political climate - 24/7 access to constituents. Social media, email blasts, phone calls, television ads, radio announcements - today’s candidates and their associated parties have the ability to inundate Americans with their messaging.
Pair this with the fact that 2020 has been anything but ordinary (which, of course, no one needs reminded of), and you have an election year truly like no other.
A Reminder About Emotionally Driven Investing
Whether you’ve been guilty of it yourself or you’ve seen others take part, social media channels like Twitter and Facebook make it all too easy to share damaging, misguided or opinionated messaging. This is true in any instance, but it can be especially effective when these posts are about political candidates.
The problem is, being inundated day in and day out with information about our country’s political future (especially information that’s alarming or scary) can take its toll on anyone watching or listening. You’ve already heard the predictions - “If Biden wins, the stock market is sure to tank.” Or, “If Trump wins, the stock market is sure to tank.” People everywhere (whether they’re journalists or your Aunt Sally) are making an argument for it either way.
As an investor, it’s important to make a conscious effort to drown out the noise, think about your personal financial goals and keep in regular contact with your investment advisor. He or she can offer the educated, unbiased advice you need to stay on track and unswayed when it comes to preparing your portfolio for any potential changes in political leadership.
Historical Stock Market Performance During Election Years
Of course, past performance is no guarantee or indicator of future performance. But as an investor, it may interest you to see how the stock market has performed historically during and after presidential elections years. Below we’ve charted out the S&P 500 returns since the 2000 election:1
|Election Year||Presidential Candidates||Performance During Election Year||Performance For Following Year|
|2000||Bush v. Gore||-9.10%||-11.89%|
|2004||Bush v. Kerry||+10.88%||+4.91%|
Obama v. McCain
|2012||Obama v. Romney||+16.0%||+15.06%|
|2016||Trump v. Clinton||+11.96%||+21.83%|
Additionally, below shows the S&P 500’s percentage of return during a president’s full term dating back to 1981. This information was gathered from YCharts and presented by Forbes:2
|President||Years||S&P 500 Return|
|Donald J. Trump (R)||2017-||+43%|
|Barack H. Obama (D)||2009-2017||+182%|
|George W. Bush (R)||2001-2009||-40%|
|Bill J. Clinton (D)||1993-2001||+210%|
|George H.W. Bush (R)||1989-1993||+51%|
|Ronald W. Reagan (R)||1981-1989||+117%|
Historically speaking, there have been a number of outside factors that determine the stock market’s performance - more so than simply which party is in power. These other factors could include whether or not we’re in a bull or bear market, the business cycle, civil unrest (at home and overseas), trade wars, tax policy changes and more.
If the upcoming election has you worried about the future of your portfolio, take some time now to speak with your investment advisor or financial planner. They may be able to provide important insights into whether or not your asset allocation should be readjusted and review any contingency plans you may have already put in place.
Dream Financial Planning Process ™
Whether you're managing student loan debt, starting a business, or considering buying your first home, the DREAM Financial Planning Process™ is tailored to the unique needs of busy professionals is their 30s and 40s. This process focuses more on short-term goals while you grow and evolve in your personal and professional life. If you're looking for guidance on: Financial Planning, optimizing employee benefits, budgeting, student loans, and managing your 401k or investments we can help.
With uncertainty surrounding the economic stability of our country, it's okay to have fears and anxieties surrounding your own savings and investments. The most productive course of action from here is to reach out to Dream Financial Planning (or whoever your trusted advisor might be) and discuss your options. It's easy to have knee-jerk reactions when it feels like the bottom is falling out, but it is imperative to make decisions using research-backed data and a level head. If you'd like a Complimentary Review and risk assessment of your investment portfolio feel free to send me an e-mail.
On the first Thursday of every month I send out a monthly newsletter with tips and tricks to help you manage your Finances. In the October Newsletter, I discuss how the stock market doesn't historically care who's in the White House. I also share a Fox Business Network article, where I'm quoted, about paying down debt or investing.
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