This Election is Really Important… Just Not to Your Portfolio

The news is everywhere.  It’s inescapable.  The news cycle is both unending and forever changing.  There is a dizzying array of data and opinion on all sorts of topics.  The sheer number of critically important issues is staggering.

Of course, the issue that is arguably (and rightly) getting the most attention right now is the upcoming election.  In less than two weeks our nation will choose our President, one-third of our Senators, the entire House of Representatives, and countless state and local office-holders. This election has been called the most consequential election in modern history.  Of course, we’ve all heard that before, but this time it may really be true.

To be sure, there’s a lot at stake – how our nation manages its way out of the pandemic from both a public health and economic perspective, the future of the Supreme Court, what changes may (or may not) be needed on environmental issues, how we repair the torn fabric of our society, indeed who we are as a nation.

With such weighty issues on the table, it may seem trite to write a piece about how the markets will fare post-election.  But my job is to counsel our clients on their wealth, so here I am.  I have my own thoughts on the weighty issues of today’s world, of course, but that’s not my role here.

Ok, so just how will the markets fare after November 3?  We get that question daily.  I’ve got lots of credentials, 30+ years of market experience, and have worked with hundreds of clients helping them achieve their financial goals and protect their wealth.  I’ve also been through seven presidential election cycles during my career as a financial planner, and a similar number of mid-term elections where Congress has changed hands repeatedly.

With all that training and experience, here’s my answer:

I don’t know.

But what I do know is this:

It. Does. Not. Matter.

Really, it doesn’t.  I’m not trying to minimize the importance of the election.  But who wins the election, which party controls each house of Congress, even the policies themselves, won’t determine if you and your family are able to achieve your long-term financial goals.  That assumes, of course, that you have a prudent plan in place.  More on that in a bit.

There is no shortage of data that shows that, historically, the market does not perform statistically better or worse under one political party or another.  Take a look at my partner Dave Copeland’s post on this topic from a few weeks ago.  It’s pretty amazing – there’s no pattern to be found in the various combinations of political parties holding the White House and each house of Congress.

But that doesn’t stop folks from thinking they have the answers.  Earlier this week I woke up to an email with this subject line: “10 white papers about the election’s effect on the markets.”  Not blog posts… full-blown white papers!  Not one or two… ten!  All with attention-grabbing titles like, “…Volatility worries rise around election time,” or “What about bonds under Biden?” or “What the 2020 elections mean for the markets-and what they don’t.”

Here’s the truth: the President has little direct, near-term impact on policy or the economy, and certainly even less impact on the financial markets.  The same is true for Congress.  Of course, markets react to the news of the day, sometimes gyrating wildly.  But if you’re a thoughtful investor and not a trader, those daily swings are irrelevant.  Even a bear market that goes on for months shouldn’t sway your well-established financial plan.

The reality is that through good times and bad, recession and expansion, war and peace, high interest rates and low…. over time the financial markets function well, and yes, the stock market goes up.  The key phrase here is over time.  I am in no way predicting which way the stock market will go after the election.  It’s quite possible we’ll be in for a lot of volatility in the days and weeks immediately following.  It could be painful.

Or maybe not.  I don’t know.  And neither does anyone else.  Even the most plausible prediction of what’s to come doesn’t mean that the markets will behave as expected.  Markets have a way of making humans look foolish time and again.

So that brings me back to having a plan.  It’s what we do for our clients – create a sound financial and investment plan that stands the test of time.  Any money that’s invested in “risky assets” (i.e., stocks) is designed for long-term growth.  Not for a few months from now or even a year or two.  Long-term means at least several years.

What happens in the interim is just background noise and we need to tune it out.  My partner Tom Buhrmann posted this piece just last week encouraging investors to focus on that small subset of things that matter and that can be controlled.

All that noise is just a distraction.  Don’t fall for it.

Regardless of what the next days, weeks, and months bring, my amazing colleagues and I are here to guide you, to look out for your well-being, making sure to be your partner and keep you on the right path toward your financial future.


This is not an endorsement of service providers and we assume no responsibility for any information, advice or services provided. This article contains general information that is not suitable for everyone. The information contained herein should not be constructed as personalized investment advice. Reading or utilizing this information does not create an advisory relationship. An advisory relationship can be established only after the following two events have been completed (1) our thorough review with you of all the relevant facts pertaining to a potential engagement; and (2) the execution of a Client Advisory Agreement. There is no guarantee that the views and opinions expressed in this article will come to pass.

Strategic Wealth Partners (‘SWP’) is an SEC registered investment advisor with its principal place of business in the State of Illinois. The brochure is limited to the dissemination of general information pertaining to its investment advisory services, views on the market, and investment philosophy. Any subsequent, direct communication by SWP with a prospective client shall be conducted by a representative that is either registered or qualifies for an exemption or exclusion from registration in the state where the prospective client resides. For information pertaining to the registration status of SWP, please contact SWP or refer to the Investment Advisor Public Disclosure website (

For additional information about SWP, including fees and services, send for our disclosure brochure and Client Relationship Summary as set forth on Form ADV from SWP using the contact information herein. Please read the disclosure brochure carefully before you invest or send money (

Financial Planning
Cloudy Crystal Ball
As we start the new year, especially after a challenging 2022, the most frequent question we are asked is: What is your prediction for 2023? Admittedly, our crystal ball is cloudy. It always has been and always will be when it comes to short-term predictions. Still, there is no shortage of “experts” – supported by research, sophisticated models, and persuasive reasoning – that routinely broadcast what’s in store for the next twelve months. The harsh reality: it’s fool’s gold – entertaining but rarely actionable.
Read More
A Closer Look at Private Markets
As you are likely aware, ongoing volatility and rising interest rates made 2022 a very challenging year in the capital markets. We believe that this past year has highlighted the need for advisors to explore investment opportunities that exist beyond the traditional stock and bond markets. The private markets are one such opportunity set. In this article, we discuss what the private markets are, how these investments may fit into a diversified portfolio, and how we use them.
Read More
Current Events
What We Have Been Reading – Market Commentary & Beyond
Our team regularly reads articles from industry peers and trusted resources to stay up to date on financial markets. We enjoy reading about topics related to economics, investments, current events, and financial planning. In addition to circulating some of the best pieces internally, we thought our clients, partners, and friends might enjoy reading some of the same articles as us. We received great feedback on the articles we circulated in the first two quarters of 2022, so we wanted to follow up with some more! Here are eight recent pieces that our team members have read, along with some commentary on why we found the respective articles interesting.
Read More