• Midterm Elections – What Do They Mean For Markets?

    Studying the history of stock market returns relative to midterm elections will give you a sense of how impactful they are to your own portfolio’s potential gain or loss.

    This article was written by Dimensional Fund Advisors and can be found HERE.

    It’s almost Election Day in the US once again. For those who need a brief civics refresher, every two years the full US House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate are up for reelection. While the outcomes of the elections are uncertain, one thing we can count on is that plenty of opinions and prognostications will be floated in the days to come. In financial circles, this will almost assuredly include any potential for perceived impact on markets. But should long-term investors focus on midterm elections?

    Markets Work

    We would caution investors against making short-term changes to a long-term plan to try to profit or avoid losses from changes in the political winds. For context, it is helpful to think of markets as a powerful information-processing machine. The combined impact of millions of investors placing billions of dollars’ worth of trades each day results in market prices that incorporate the aggregate expectations of those investors. This makes outguessing market prices consistently very difficult.¹ While surprises can and do happen in elections, the surprises don’t always lead to clear-cut outcomes for investors.

    The 2016 presidential election serves as a recent example of this. There were a variety of opinions about how the election would impact markets, but many articles at the time posited that stocks would fall if Trump were elected.² The day following President Trump’s win, however, the S&P 500 Index closed 1.1% higher. So even if an investor would have correctly predicted the election outcome (which was not apparent in pre-election polling), there is no guarantee that they would have predicted the correct directional move, especially given the narrative at the time.

    But what about congressional elections? For the upcoming midterms, market strategists and news outlets are still likely to offer opinions on who will win and what impact it will have on markets. However, data for the stock market going back to 1926 shows that returns in months when midterm elections took place did not tend to be that different from returns in any other month.

    Exhibit 1 shows the frequency of monthly returns (expressed in 1% increments) for the S&P 500 Index from January 1926–June 2022. Each horizontal dash represents one month, and each vertical bar shows the cumulative number of months for which returns were within a given 1% range (e.g., the tallest bar shows all months where returns were
    between 1% and 2%). The blue and red horizontal lines represent months during which a midterm election was held, with red meaning Republicans won or maintained majorities in both chambers of Congress, and blue representing the same for Democrats. Striped boxes indicate mixed control, where one party controls the House of Representatives, and the other controls the Senate, while gray boxes represent non-election months. This graphic illustrates that election month returns were well within the typical range of returns, regardless of which party won the election. Results similarly appeared random when looking at all Congressional elections (midterm and presidential) and for annual returns (both the year of the election and the year after).

    In It For The Long Haul

    While it can be easy to get distracted by month-to-month or even one-year returns, what really matters for long-term investors is how their wealth grows over longer periods of time. Exhibit 2 shows the hypothetical growth of wealth for an investor who put $1 in the S&P 500 Index in January 1926. Again, the chart lays out party control of Congress over
    time. And again, both parties have periods of significant growth and significant declines during their time of majority rule. However, there does not appear to be a pattern of stronger returns when any specific party is in control of Congress, or when there is mixed control for that matter. Markets have historically continued to provide returns over the long run irrespective of (and perhaps for those who are tired of hearing political ads, even in spite of) which party is in power at any given time.

    Equity markets can help investors grow their assets, and we believe investing is a long-term endeavor. Trying to make investment decisions based on the outcome of elections is unlikely to result in reliable excess returns for investors. At best, any positive outcome based on such a strategy will likely be the result of random luck. At worst, it can lead to
    costly mistakes. Accordingly, there is a strong case for investors to rely on patience and portfolio structure, rather than trying to outguess the market, to pursue investment returns.


    1. This is known as the efficient market theory, which postulates that market prices reflect the knowledge and expectations of all investors and that any new development is instantaneously priced into a security.
    2. Examples include: “A Trump win would sink stocks. What about Clinton?” CNN Money, 10/4/16, “What do financial markets think of the 2016 election?” Brookings Institution, 10/21/16, “What Happens to the Markets if Donald Trump Wins?” New York Times, 10/31/16.

    In USD. Indices are not available for direct investment. Their performance does not reflect the expenses associated with the management of
    an actual portfolio. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Diversification does not eliminate the risk of market loss.


    There is no guarantee investment strategies will be successful. Investing involves risks, including possible loss of principal. Investors should
    talk to their financial advisor prior to making any investment decision. There is always the risk that an investor may lose money. A long-term
    investment approach cannot guarantee a profit.


    All expressions of opinion are subject to change. This information is intended for educational purposes, and it is not to be construed as an
    offer, solicitation, recommendation, or endorsement of any particular security, products, or services.


    Dimensional Fund Advisors LP is an investment advisor registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

  • Social Security Gets Biggest Boost Since 1981

    The Cost of Living Adjustment, or COLA, from the Social Security Administration (SSA) is announced every fall and has major implications for the 66 million people who receive benefit checks. With inflation surging, retirees need help maintaining purchasing power. The agency announced its 2023 COLA will be 8.7%, the highest since 1981.

    For those concerned about medical costs eating into this increase, Medicare – the health insurance plan for older Americans – said last month it would drop its premiums next year by about 3% for its Medicare Park B Plan.

    For more information and context, please read this article from CBS News.

    For instructions on how to sign up for a “my Social Security” account with the SSA, which is the fastest way to find out when and how much you will receive, watch the video below:

  • Cyberattacks in 2022: What You Should Already Know

    As the conflict between Russia and Ukraine continues, the United States Government is warning American companies to be vigilant about cybersecurity and to protect themselves against malicious cyberattacks. In a statement on March 22, 2022, FBI Director Christopher Wray said they are “concerned” with the possibility of Russian cyberattacks against critical U.S. infrastructure in the wake of Russia’s war with Ukraine.

    “The reason we’re concerned about it is not just based on our longstanding understanding of how the Russians operate, but it’s actually the product of specific investigative work and surveillance work that we’ve been doing all together,” Wray told an audience at the Detroit Economic Club.

    The United States Congress recently passed legislation that has since been signed into law that mandates critical infrastructure sectors to report cyber security incidents, involving but not limited to, phishing attacks, malware, and ransomware, to the federal government.

    What is Phishing?

    Phishing is the fraudulent practice of sending emails or text messages appearing to be from reputable companies or trusted individuals to get recipients to reveal personal information such as passwords and credit card numbers. Phishing attempts are usually urgent-sounding, legitimate-looking emails or texts designed to trick you into disclosing personal information or installing a virus on your device. These scams can be sent as attachments or links that, when opened or clicked, may trigger malicious activity, or take you to fake sites that resemble the real business websites. According to CISCO’s 2021 Cybersecurity Threat Trends report, roughly 90% of all cyber attacks start with a phishing email.

    14 phishing red flags to watch for in 2022

    What is Malware?

    Malware, or “malicious software,” is a catch-all term that describes any malicious program or code that is harmful to systems. Hostile, intrusive, and intentionally nasty, malware seeks to invade, damage, or disable computers, computer systems, networks, tablets, and mobile devices, often by taking partial control over a device’s operations.

    How to tell if you’re infected with malware

    What is Ransomware?

    Ransomware is malware that employs encryption to hold a victim’s information at ransom. A user or organization’s critical data is encrypted so that they cannot access files, databases, or applications. A ransom is then demanded to provide access. According to cybersecurity company Emsisoft, ransomware attacks affected at least 948 government agencies, educational establishments, and healthcare providers in the United States in 2019, at a potential cost exceeding $7.5 billion. Ransomware attacks were up 92% last year, according to the 2022 Cyber Threat Report from SonicWall, a leading cybersecurity firm.

    While it is important for small and large businesses to protect themselves and their data from foreign and domestic hackers, it is equally important for individuals to be just as cautious.

    How can you protect yourself?

    • Be suspicious of unexpected or unsolicited phone calls, emails, and texts asking you to send money or disclose personal information.

    • Be cautious when receiving money movement instructions via email.

    • Keep your technology up to date, as well as your firewalls and anti-virus software.

    • Back up your data and ensure you have offline backups beyond the reach of malicious actors.

    • Be strategic with your login credentials and passwords.

    • Add two-step verification, which requires you to enter a unique security code each time you login to a website, mobile app, or access your financial accounts.