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Quarry Hill Quarterly Review: Gradual and Sudden Thumbnail

Quarry Hill Quarterly Review: Gradual and Sudden

In Ernest Hemingway's novel The Sun Also Rises, a character is asked how he went bankrupt. He cleverly replies, "Gradually, then suddenly." Things happen gradually and then suddenly all the time. It takes forever, and suddenly, the hockey stick shape takes off. There are long periods of seemingly no progress, followed by sudden jumps in value. There are examples of this everywhere:

The word Artificial Intelligence was invented in the 1950's. For decades, progress was incremental. Then, ChatGPT became the fastest-growing user base of all time, reaching 100 million users in two months.

Music was sold in physical records, tapes, and discs for decades. In 2001, the iPod was released, and suddenly, digital music sales surpassed CD sales just four years later.

Compound interest works this way too. A $10,000 investment at 10% takes 9 years to surpass $20,000. But the next $10,000 comes within 4 years. And then three. And then faster. Gradually, then suddenly.

This happens in the markets, too. Sometimes downwards, like the COVID crisis. Sometimes upwards, like this year. Global stock markets (as represented by Vanguard Total World Stock ETF) posted a paltry 1% return from 2021- October 27, 2023. Check back just two months later, and you're up 18%. Two years and 10 months of nothing, then suddenly, two months that made it worth waiting for.

The key to progress is staying in the game. Between 1990 and 2020, an investment in the S+P 500 grew from $1,000 to $20,000. Someone who missed just the best 25 days (less than a day per year) would only see their investment grow to $4,000.

May 2024 be a year of growth in every good way for you. We are grateful for your trust.