Quotes worth sharing: the smartest things ever said about market timing

There is a lot of evidence that market timing doesn’t yield superior results. Yet, people are always making great comments about timing. In his “MoneyWatch” article “The Smartest Things Ever Said About Market Timing,” Larry Swedroe compiled some of the best quotes he’d seen from some of the most intelligent investors in the industry. Here are just a few of them worth sharing:

Warren Buffett

  • “Our stay-put behavior reflects our view that the stock market serves as a relocation center at which money is moved from the active to the patient.”
  • “We continue to make more money when snoring than when active.”
  • “The only value of stock forecasters is to make fortune-tellers look good.”
  • “My favorite time frame is forever.”

Peter Lynch

  • “Far more money has been lost by investors preparing for corrections, or trying to anticipate corrections, than has been lost in corrections themselves.”­
  • “I can’t recall ever once having seen the name of a market timer on Forbes‘ annual list of the richest people in the world. If it were truly possible to predict corrections, you’d think somebody would have made billions by doing it.”

Jason Zweig

  • “Whenever some analyst seems to know what he’s talking about, remember that pigs will fly before he’ll ever release a full list of his past forecasts, including the bloopers.”

Charles Ellis

  • “’Market timing’ is unappealing to long-term investors. As in hunting deer or fishing for rainbow trout, investors have learned the importance of ‘being there’ and using patient persistence — so they are there when opportunity knocks.”

Jonathan Clements

  • “What to do when the market goes down? Read the opinions of the investment gurus who are quoted in the WSJ. And, as you read, laugh. We all know that the pundits can’t predict short-term market movements. Yet there they are, desperately trying to sound intelligent when they really haven’t got a clue.”

Alan Abelson

  • “Do you know what investing for the long run but listening to market news everyday is like? It’s like a man walking up a big hill with a yo-yo and keeping his eyes fixed on the yo-yo instead of the hill.”

Bernard Baruch

  • “Only liars manage to always be out during bad times and in during good times.”

Mark Rieppe

  • “Market timing is impossible to perfect.”

David L. Babson & Co.

  • “It must be apparent to intelligent investors that if anyone possessed the ability to do so [forecast the immediate trend of stock prices] consistently and accurately he would become a billionaire so quickly he would not find it necessary to sell his stock market guesses to the general public.”

Financial publications

  • “Let’s say it clearly: No one knows where the market is going-experts or novices, soothsayers or astrologers. That’s the simple truth.” — Fortune
  • “A decade of results throws cold water on the notion that strategists exhibit any special ability to time the markets.” — The Wall Street Journal

Umberto P. Fedeli is president and CEO of The Fedeli Group. He is an investor in numerous ventures. He is on the boards of directors of the Cleveland Clinic Foundation, John Carroll University, the Cleveland Chapter of the Young Presidents’ Organization and The 50 Club.