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The only FOMO trade worth chasing: Morning Brief

This is The Takeaway from today's Morning Brief, which you can sign up to receive in your inbox every morning along with:

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Everywhere you turn in financial markets right now, there's a trend that feels worth chasing. As Yahoo Finance's Julie Hyman recently wrote, the "number go up" phenomenon isn't just limited to crypto right now.

But arguably the only FOMO trade worth chasing right now — or ever — is saving for retirement, even if it feels like the least exciting thing an investor can do.

Last week, Yahoo Finance's Kerry Hannon flagged the surge in 401(k) millionaires seen during the fourth quarter as retirement savers rode the market's standout year.

Some 422,000 account holders at Fidelity are now sitting on at least $1 million in retirement savings, a tally topped only once before — the third quarter of 2021, before the pandemic-era market fever broke in 2022. The market's continued recovery this year suggests this record will be surpassed later this month.

Retirement savers benefiting when the market rallies isn't, on its face, breaking news. After all, those market gains must accrue to someone. And as the old cliché goes, time in the market is more important than timing the market.

At the same time, even the most disciplined savers with a firm actuarial understanding of the process minting these 401(k) millionaires will be tempted in these markets.

Nvidia's (NVDA) market cap closed above $2 trillion for the first time last week, cementing the chipmaker's primacy as the biggest stock market winner from the AI trade. And the company is far from alone in being delivered these spoils.

New entrants to the GLP-1 market are seeing their stock double on positive trial data. Wall Street now sees Eli Lilly (LLY) as the next company to approach the $1 trillion market cap club.

And bitcoin (BTC-USD), of course, continues to ascend toward a record high.

The response Kerry received to this story, however, reveals both a necessary reminder and actionable advice for folks not quite feeling the market's buoyancy in their day-to-day lives.

The reminder is that the power of compounding isn't just an abstract concept that leads to a great-looking chart. In your 70s, diligent saving will deliver all of compounding's power to you.

Retirement timing chart by JP Morgan
(Source: JPMorgan Asset Management)

The action is to do it and not stop.

Do create a budget item for this saving the same way you'd plan for a car payment, meals out, or vacations. Meet any matching contribution offered by your company. And don't think it's too late to start.

One reader told Kerry that after serving as administrator for their company's 401(k) plan over 25 years, they saw dozens of folks with $2 million balances. Only one of them had ever made six figures.

Regular consumers of financial news — like many of the folks reading this newsletter — are likely familiar with this advice, these stats, and this entire mindset.

But nothing worth hearing once isn't worth hearing twice. So remind a friend, a colleague, or a family member to stay the course. Or, as the author Nick Maggiulli wrote recently, just keep buying.

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