Your Investments: What Will 2024 Bring?

Tom Hamilton |

Well, the real answer to “What will 2024 bring to Your Investments is very simple; I DON’T KNOW…nor does anyone else, so I don’t feel so bad.


At Hamilton Wealth Management we don’t just “put our money in the market and hope”, like so many other investment firms do.  Oh, I don’t disagree that such a plan has been successful for younger investors with a LOT of time until they need the money, but most clients come to our firm later in life when they can see retirement out the front window or are already there. What about these folks?

Well, first of all, no financial advisor can promise you that if/when the market takes its next big hit (like the 50% drop after the 1990’s tech bubble and after the Financial Crisis) that it will soon recover…or really that it will EVER recover!

Reality: We have no certainty that any stock market or segment will recover in the short term or even long term! None. I know that’s unnerving, but it’s true. In 1989 Japan’s stock market index was beloved by Wall Street. Japan was charging ahead in Manufacturing and Technology; they couldn’t be stopped! Money flowed in like water, and up the market went! Sound familiar?

Then, in the Japanese stock market, the bottom fell out over a period of years, down close to 80% from the peak reached in late 1989.  But here’s the scary part: Today, more than 30 years later, Japan’s Nikkei 225 Index is STILL well below it’s 1989 high! I was just out of college in 1989, now I’m…well…. Let’s just say NOT just out of college.

Am I saying I expect something similar to happen to the U.S. stock markets? No. Am I saying it CAN’T happen here? Nope. That’s why I’m a firm believer that as one gets closer to retirement, “trusting” any market just based on the past is a risky strategy.

Will the S & P 500 continue to recover fairly quickly every time it takes a big hit? Or won’t it? Want to bet your family’s retirement on it? Well, if you want to take that bet, have at it, but I won’t be along for that ride. No thanks.

You may “win” and go laughing off into the sunset, that’s certainly how it’s played out in the past 25 years. The next time the market is down 20%, 30%, 50% (and it will happen again sometime) how will you feel knowing you counted on the past to project the future?

For 2024, just like for 2023, 2022, 2021 and all the way back to 1996 when I started in the investment business, I prefer to pick our investments very carefully, based on earnings, dividends, value, price, and other fundamental metrics. I will always invest our money and clients’ money this way because when trouble brews in the markets, and brew it will, I know what we own and why we own it. Sometimes the markets change the fundamentals, and we need to reconsider what we own, sometimes when the market takes a hit the fundamentals get better (lower price, better value).

It’s not as easy as just hoping for the best, it takes study, insight, and reasoned thinking. I enjoy this challenge, maybe it’s the Mechanical Engineer in me – I’ve always loved facts, figures, math, reasoning. So, while my Engineering professors back at RIT might have figured me for a B+ student of engineering at best, I think that training turned me into a pretty good investor! I learned to think for myself.

At Hamilton Wealth Management, 2024 will bring whatever it brings, and we’ll do what we always do, research, fundamentals, math, and the one thing many investment advisors seem to be afraid to do – we’ll think for ourselves not just follow the crowd!