Policies Over Politics: Financial Strategy in an Election Year

Policies Over Politics: Financial Strategy in an Election Year

March 29, 2024

As we step into another election year, we are faced with anticipation, controversy, and, inevitably, a fair share of apprehension. Political discussions, both at the dinner table and in boardrooms, veer towards the future, with an eye on how the outcome might ripple through the economic landscape. Yet, in this whirlwind of political discourse, it’s important to remember a fundamental truth in financial planning: it’s policies, not politics, which shape the future of markets.

The Political Climate and Financial Concerns

2024 unfolds with its characteristic political spectacle, sparking widespread public and media interest. These discussions often trigger concerns about the potential impact on financial markets, stirring investors' worries about the immediate future of their portfolios.

Recently, at a conference full of investment professionals, a recurring theme emerged from the stage: despite the political fervor, it's the underpinning policies that determine market movements. This consensus among seasoned money managers serves as a reminder of the essence of financial dynamics.

Policies vs. Politics: What Matters More?

Historical market analyses reveal an enlightening trend: financial markets thrive on policy decisions rather than the ebb and flow of political regimes. Dr. David Kelly, the Chief Global Strategist and Head of the Global Market Insights Strategy Team for J.P. Morgan Asset Management, stated on stage and in his podcasts that policies are where we need to shift our focus. Whether it is regulatory changes, fiscal policies, or economic reforms, these elements hold the reins of market dynamics. A retrospective glance at market performances across various administrations showcases those economic fundamentals, coupled with policy initiatives, drive long-term trends, not the political emblem that graces the White House.

This distinction between policy impact and political noise is critical. It underscores the need for investors to sift through the sideshow of political debates to focus on policy substance — the actual driver of change in market landscapes.

Emotional Decision-Making vs. Strategic Planning

The realm of investing is not immune to emotional biases, especially in politically charged times. Political developments often tempt investors into reactionary stances, clouding judgment and leading to decisions that might not align with their long-term financial goals.

Combatting these biases requires a steadfast focus on strategic planning and rational decision-making. We partner with clients and advise them to anchor their strategies in the bedrock of diversified portfolios. Investors should consult with advisors who can provide an unbiased perspective, steering clear of the ever-changing winds of political developments.

Practical Tips for Investors During Election Years

Navigating the tumultuous waters of an election year demands a measured approach:

  1. Stay Focused on Long-Term Goals: Allow your financial objectives to guide your investment decisions, not the fluctuating political climate.
  2. Be Adaptable: While keeping an eye on the political sphere, adjust your investment strategies based on substantive policy changes rather than mere political outcomes.
  3. Seek Professional Guidance: Financial advisors can offer the clarity and objectivity needed to make informed decisions, untainted by the prevailing political narratives.

Conclusion: Staying the Course

In conclusion, the path to successful investing in an election year, and beyond, is paved with rationality and a clear focus on policies over politics. The allure of political drama, while captivating, should not dictate financial strategies. Instead, a disciplined approach, grounded in the understanding of policy implications and a commitment to long-term financial goals, will navigate investors through the uncertainties of election years.

As we brace for the unfolding political saga, let us not lose sight of the horizon. The markets have weathered storms before, growing over decades, and they will continue to do so. The key lies in staying the course, fortified by sound decision-making and an unwavering focus on what truly moves the needle: policies, not politics.


Mark J. Modzeleski, CFS, CLTC, AIF 

President, Legacy Wealth Advisors of NY