You’ve heard a lot from me in the past week. I shared a month-by-month review of 2023 (here), a deeper dive into the markets last year (here), and my 2024 outlook, The First Shall Be Last. So, I'll keep this intro short and to the point.

If you’re reviewing your portfolio and returns for 2023, remember that the S&P 500 index is not your benchmark.

It always feels self-serving when I say that—particularly when my Portfolios (or at least my Aggressive Portfolios) fall short of that yardstick. And, yes, you can now buy “the market” via funds like 500 Index (VFIAX) or Total Stock Market Index (VTSAX) for pretty much free. (As I say, it’s a great time to be an investor.)

But look at the chart below. The average Vanguard investor earned 16.7% last year—well off 500 Index’s 26.2% pace. And guess what? There’s nothing wrong with that!

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