Approximately 6 months ago I came up with a nonscientific plan for my 401(k).  At the time I felt that the market was reaching a high it had to come down from and I should put my contributions into cash rather than my balanced portfolio.  I would then allocate the cash reserves when the market corrected itself or took dips.  If this sounds like marketing timing…it is, and it is not a long term strategy for my 401(k).  Notwithstanding, since I have been doing it and since I always want to hold myself accountable I should share the results.

Market Timing with my 401(k)

I have said it in the past, but I am not a particular fan of my 401(k) choices, but since I am getting a match it is what it is.   The choices are expensive but overall I am in four funds:

  • RGACX – American Funds Growth Fund R3
  • OPSIX – Oppenheimer Global Strategic Income
  • OPGIX – Oppenheimer Global Opportunity
  • CRSXX – Oppenheimer Cash Reverses
  • CGRWX – Oppenheimer Value
  • QVSCX – Oppenheimer Small & Mid Cap Value

So for the past 6 months or so I put my contributions and match into the Cash and Strategic Income Fund selecting when to pull it into the market.  Most of the time I would spread it among the above funds evenly but one or two times they were top heavy to one or two funds.  I wish I did it a bit more strategic in terms of how to allocate so I could really measure if I had a positive impact.

401k returns

In case it isn’t clear from the picture between 11/6/2014 and 5/28/2014:

  • RGACX – 2%
  • OPGIX – 5.74%
  • CGRWX – 7.53%
  • QVSCX – 7.67%

If weighted equally the average return would have been 5.735% and the median return would be 6.635%.  My actual return was:

Actual Return


While an extra 1% over the long term could be the difference of tens of thousands of dollars over the course of my working career I don’t think this is a long term plan as I already reallocated my future contributions to a much more balanced approach.


Do you ever market time within your 401(k) or retirement account?