In this episode of Your Business, Your Wealth, Paul and Cory discuss an article they recently discovered on the influence that the presidential election cycle has on the marketplace. Specifically, they break down the fallacy that the market can be timed or beaten by analyzing data based on market performance in election years. They take a look at historical data of the S&P 500 Index to strengthen their argument and point out other flaws within this article. Finally, Paul provides some actionable advice and sound strategies to those looking to invest their money.


  • 01:54 – Introducing today’s topic, Does the Presidential Election Cycle Hold the Secret to Beating the Market
  • 02:34 – This Week In Planning
  • 05:28 – The Gell-Mann Effect, revisited
  • 16:17 – Cory points out a huge flaw in the article from This Week In Planning
  • 21:50 – Paul takes the audience through the history of the S&P 500 from 1980 to 2000
  • 23:31 – Paul interrupts the podcast to provide the audience with a special offer
  • 24:34 – Final thoughts on ‘Final Thoughts’
  • 28:02 – Paul provides some actionable advice for the audience
  • 30:54 – Cory reads this week’s featured review



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This Week In Planning


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Full Episode Transcription


Paul 0:00

Like that’s the person that just blindly buys the s&p 500 and then promptly gets lost in the jungle for 42 years and then pops back out like how’s my account doing like, well, you haven’t filed any taxes. So we got to have a conversation with the IRS

Unknown Speaker 0:14

but other than that, we’ll portfolio Yeah, it worked out.

Paul 0:19

Welcome to your business, your wealth, where your host, Paul Adams and Corey Shepherd teach founders and entrepreneurs how to build wealth beyond their business balance sheets.

Hello, and welcome to your business your wealth. My name is Paul Adams. I’m founder and CEO of sound Financial Group and your co host Hear on your business your Well,

Cory 1:02

hold on. Sorry, sorry, that was a very fine introduction. But I have to I can’t even let it go on a minute sooner because folks, friends and fellow country people pause a little amped up today. I just want to get you ready. for this episode. I’m gonna let him introduce it because he found the article and he’s super. So I just hope that I can hang in here with you. I hope you don’t lose us. I hope I don’t lose us in the course of this episode. So get ready. Buckle up.

Paul 1:33

Well, so here’s the thing, Cory. He’s just worried this might be one of our first this would be our first explicit episode, because he’s worried about from our show prep that I could end up cursing on the podcast. And Cory of course is like Well, come on. It’s holiday season. This is not the time to roll that episode out. Fair enough. Now what has me bothered upset wound up already? All the theories that float around about what you can do better with your money. And people don’t take the time to necessarily research out all these things. We’re going into a presidential election year. And so we have presidential election, your theories about investing, we’re going to examine one of those that is academically written that’s peer reviewed about what you can do with your money. And we’re going to be kind of showcasing that and how it’s different. In fact, that whole topic is also this week in planning here at your business, your wealth. So let’s just take a moment and let’s brief you on this article. This is out of the Graziadio Business Review, a peer reviewed journal advancing business practice and is partnered with Pepperdine so these are, you know, no joke academics around finance.

Cory 2:51

Now, real sharp people,

Paul 2:53

yes, real well, and there’s presidential elections and stock market cycles and the author is asking, Can you profit from this relationship and where he lands? It is? Yes, you probably could. And I think we’re going to refute that pretty significantly. In this conversation. What they’re basically saying in this article is, if you bought into the market either at the very start of a presidential term, and then at what point should you sell in that presidential term, to maximize your profits with this energy, of course, 500 is the proxy that they use in terms of returns. Here’s the thing, guys, this is me, communists down just a little bit, because you know, poor Marshall sounds like a great guy. He’s who wrote the article. And while he writes, can you profit from the relationship as part of the title? He’s not actually writing it from a point of view of, here’s how you could implement this to your financial life. It’s not his job nor his purpose, to put this into a format that would make it a strategy for you to actually go run your balance. He’s doing academic research. And he did find some curious patterns that are fun to read about.

Cory 4:07

So I want to honor him for that. And it’s our job to stand in the middle of our clients and our listeners and all the things out there in the mass of the financial world to say, how do you translate this into something that’s going to be useful for you so that I might come back to that topic a couple more, more times, especially if we do become the first explicit episode on your business, your wealth, but I feel Paul I feel I feel good enough. I feel like Martin satin care enough to for us to continue.

Paul 4:40

Can I go back to being agitating, please, please, please do okay.

Cory 4:44

It’s fun. It’s entertaining. Yes, let’s do that. Yeah, is it What?

Paul 4:49

core he’s exactly right. This guy’s job. He’s not an investment fiduciary to our knowledge. He’s not a licensed financial professional. And even somebody will hit before we’re done is the last line of this article. Even pulls that out and mentions that this may not be a strategy you should implement. But here is the things that I think are potentially most not misleading from the standpoint that he chose to mislead you. But the admittance of certain information, leaves it miss leading, and it’s the non comparative analysis. Now here’s one of the things I want to point out. And this is important for all of us, especially in an election year, is going back to some we spoke about on prior podcasts about the Gell Mann effect. Now, the Gell Mann effect is that when you read a periodical like it could be an academic peer reviewed journal, it could be a newspaper, an article online, or something like Forbes, etc. And you’re reading through and they’re writing about something that you’re an expert in engineering, client relationship management systems, could be in your case could be a political thing. Whatever it is, there’s an area that you are an expert. You read an article about the area for which you are an expert. You read it and you go, this is full of garbage. This is inaccurate, incomplete, insufficient. Okay. I’m not saying that I’m saying that today, I’m saying you might say that when you read an article that is on an era where you are an expert, okay. But then you’ll turn the page, and there’ll be something about the impeachment hearing. Now, you just read an article, where proof positive, that journal you’re reading, did no sufficient work, in fact, checking the things for which you are an expert, but then we turn the page, and it’s about the China trade deals, or we turn the page and now it’s about finance, or return the page and now it’s about accounting, an area for which you maybe you’re not an expert, and you instantly have amnesia, and you read the next article, as if that journalist is equipped to talk about the thing that you just did. Or Maybe Maybe it’s like

Cory 7:01

they were, they know so little about the thing I know a lot about, and they’ve got to know something about something. So this must be the thing they spent all their time researching, and didn’t research what I know about,

Paul 7:14

right? There’s all kinds. But the funny thing is we don’t even consciously work that through, what we do is you just turn the article and assume the next one’s an expert. Now, in this article, it’s very easy, especially because of the authority of we have somebody who’s written this is peer reviewed, we’re in an academic journal. So it’s also easy to just accept this article, and anything you would take away from it as unquestionable academic authority. So let’s just scroll down here because I think one of the things that are most important to take out of this is he talks a lot about market performance since the 1940s, but his actual test doesn’t go into place until the 1950s. But here’s one of the things that I think is most trying number One, the first part of this test is he’s going to do percentage change from October one of the second year of a presidential term through December 31. of the election year. And then he’s going to do the percentage change if you bought in at the beginning of the presidential election year. But you sold out September 30 of the second presidential year. So it’s, it’s a little bit like which part of somebodies presidential term Are you going to buy into? Now, one thing that just immediately jumps out to me here, not a big deal, but October one of the second year of presidential term through December 31. Is 27 months. percentage change from January one through September 30 of somebody’s second year, is how many months is that? 22. So it’s less months. And one of the things they’re gonna find is this scenario number two, gets more returns. So By the way, hold on here for just with me for a moment, we are going to get a touch analytical because we do need to ground some of these topics. What I promise is when we get through the parts of the percentages, etc, don’t tune out. I’m going to land each one with like the conclusion so you can walk away from it. Long story short, every time this is being studied in one scenario, it’s 27 months. Every time it’s studying the other scenario, it’s 22 months, and then they’re gonna compare those over time.

Cory 9:26

And so the overarching strategy is buying in some time before the election and selling out sometime after. Am I reading that Right,

Paul 9:37

exactly. Right. Exactly. Right. Yep.

Cory 9:40

And then money staying out of the market until the next election.

Paul 9:44

That’s exactly right, Cory, what he’s doing is taking the standards and Poor’s 500, investing money in it and then changing which period of time he sells or buys into the standard Poor’s 500. Now, you might wonder, how did I run across this article? Well, what we’ve talked about in In terms of reading financial media in the past, is clicked the hyperlinks to the data that they use, because this came out of another article talking about stock market performance during presidential election years. And all I had to do was click on this 2010 paper he based his article on but this is one of the biggest things that got my attention. He says if you examine the returns of the s&p 500 for each of the 23, election year since 819 28, you’ll see that only four of them it was negative. So let’s pause there for a moment. What’s the impression that you’re left under as a reader in reading that is, oh, presidential election years must be less likely to have a down year than any other year? Because he’s

Cory 10:47

safer. They’re safer to invest in that year. Exactly.

Paul 10:50

Yeah, it’s only down this much. But what you might find interesting is he’s mentioning that only four were down sentence. 1923 if you’re 1928 if you only count election years, which is only 23 years, which is 17.39%. Okay, now you’ll know why I’m giving you the point three, nine in about one second. Because if what I did instead is I just looked at another span of time, they’ll be easy to look at, which is just since 1978. Basically, the s&p 500 has averaged if you just stayed in it the whole time, we’re picking election years, etc. 17.07%. Now, the reason I wanted to give you the slight distinction of the decimals is they’re both basically 17% didn’t want you to think I collapsed my data. But the thing is, it’s leaving us on the impression these are somehow maybe safer years or better years to invest. Except it’s about the same as investing all the time, if all you did was own the standards and Poor’s 500 index. So what we have to consider is what is it he’s saying this is going to do for us? Well, his service. Good. Well,

Cory 12:04

I think we we don’t want to miss what just happened there, which is a giant question that anybody can ask in reading any article, which is, well, how does this compare to the next easiest no brainer thing I could do if I’m gonna do all this work? How does it compare to just, you know, letting my dog pick my socks for me, or

Paul 12:31

are they a dartboard? Yeah,

Cory 12:34

that monkey in a dartboard. This here

Paul 12:36

is why we click through articles, because Sure enough, what we see is number one, no contrasting strategy compared which is totally normal. Haven’t you noticed? When you meet with many people that are licensed financial representatives, or whatever they refer to themselves as most of the time it’s not a comparison of two strategies you get. It’s a sales narrative about one strategy and why to buy it. That’s usually how these articles are selling. up to. But what they’re doing is back to 1952 testing Do you own from the last 27 months of a president’s four year term or the first 21 months of their presidential term, which is 21 months listed later, so I was just doing the math wrong in my head. So now we get down to 2000. So this is just from 1952 through 2000. Had you invested the money every year, and I will tell you the results, quote, unquote, look amazing. look amazing. Let me show you the graph. This is a pretty cool graph. This is if you had done what investor two did, your money basically decreased since 1952 through the end of 2000, meaning you had a negative rate of return on average every year taking your $1,000 originally invested and decreasing it down to about $640. Don’t worry

Cory 14:01

at all.

Paul 14:02

Yeah, that sounds like a terrible idea. Let’s not do that. Let’s do this strategy instead that I put in $1,000. And it grows to $72,000. Now pause right there. We’ve we’ve covered this when we talk about real estate, because it’s just the beginning price and the end price, and nothing that you’ve journeyed in between. And it really looks like it must be a great investment. Well, let’s just examine it a little bit. Here is the return if what you did is exactly what this article says to do is you do their investing strategy, which is you only invest during certain parts of a presidential term, which means your money is sitting in cash in between those deals. You start with $1,000. And despite Now, here’s the other piece that’s important to point out I’m just going to scroll this in the background for those of you watching online. Look at how high these positive rates of return are just crazy rushing it, that I’m going to read those for those of you listening 1952 35% 1956 45 1960 16% 1964 52% 1968 39% like over and over again, these are just returns that are slaying it.

Cory 15:17

Paul, I’m thinking what all my all of our listeners are thinking, which is, let’s see 1000 Let me put 100 grand together. And that’s 7.2 million, not yet at least 72,000. That sounds like a good plan.

Paul 15:31

And it’s super simple. I got this couple of page long paper from this academic and I’ll just do what he’s mentioning, do buy in a certain time get out a certain time, at least historically, look, never a negative return. In fact, I put in $1,000 that grows to 72,000. Again, that’s that scaling problem because we run into a situation where it feels like a lot more than it really is. So what’s the actual return? The actual return for this strategy, investing $1,000 then 48 years later, having said 72,000 is 9.34%. Now number one, the article never tells you the rate of return of this strategy.

Unknown Speaker 16:09


Paul 16:11

to tell you the returns in a given year that are sweet, large and double digit four here say, Cory,

Cory 16:18

I’m getting a little more angry over here. I’m getting a little ticked. I love this right? I didn’t think I would be the one that draws us over the line to our first explicit episode, it might happen. So there’s been it’s in here, really tiny.

Unknown Speaker 16:33

Whereas it

Cory 16:34

just says, In addition, commissions and taxes are ignored for the purpose of simplicity.

Unknown Speaker 16:43

Or comparing to reality. I

Cory 16:45

should be the first sentence of the Oh, yeah, compared to for the purpose of reality. So let’s assume that you’re doing this not in an IRA. And there’s capital gains taxes involved capital gains. Taxes. were, you know, what were they in the 70s. They were something like 49% 59% they were high had been much higher than they were today. But even if they were only 20 lowest capital

Paul 17:13

gains rates we’ve ever been in right now, some of the lowest, but the strategy goes back to 1952.

Cory 17:22

You either have fees and trading costs in an IRA account or a brokerage account. Plus you have some sort of capital gains taxes if you’re in a brokerage account. So all I know for sure is 100%. It is not as high as that 9% number.

Paul 17:39

Yeah, enemy, even if you got the 9.3%. The simple fact that you’re totally liquidating the portfolio on December 31 of every election year would significantly erode the returns you would otherwise enjoy, but at least let’s just take them from moose word at the article if you could hold it the entire time. 1000 grows to 72,000 71 9.3% rate of return.

Cory 18:02

Okay, well,

Paul 18:05

here’s probably what a scientific mind would ask. And what you might ask is, Paul, if you could message me right now, could you just show me what the s&p 500 return would have been if we wouldn’t have been monkeying with it trying to get in and out of the market? Because it gives us a scenario of basically owning the back half of a president’s term versus the front half of a president’s term, but never gives us joke in

Cory 18:29

there about owning a presence front and back. I don’t know. We’ll figure it out for now.

Paul 18:35

But that’s but the thing is that it’s what if you didn’t go through all the trouble all the difficulty, all the extra taxes of selling it? No wonder it’s not talked about in the article. Because if you just held the s&p 500 for the entire time, the average rate of return if we averaged the years together would be 13.75. But even actual rate of return which we’ve talked about the difference before on the podcast here is 12.48%. Let me shape that up. That means for every thousand you invested, instead of it growing to 72,000, every thousand you invested would have grown to $318,000 doing nothing. Like that’s the person that just blindly buys the s&p 500 and then promptly gets lost in the jungle for 42 years and then pops back out like how’s my account doing like well, you haven’t filed any taxes. So we got to have a conversation with the IRS but

Cory 19:28

other than that we’ll portfolio

Paul 19:30

Yeah, it worked out that you didn’t have to monkey with you didn’t have play with it. Now. We don’t advocate people just go out and by the standards and Poor’s 500. It’s way too concentrated and not properly diversified portfolio of 500 of mostly growth, US based large cap stocks. So not the best thing to just put your money to, but this guy’s saying bounce your money in and out of the s&p 500 but not completing the story by simply saying if you owned it and not done any of this monkey business, you would have lost Literally still had 12.48% return, which is not like, Oh, it’s a little bit of difference over 42 years, that difference amounts to a quarter million dollars more wealth on $1,000. So let’s examine one more thing here. And then we will go to commercial and bring this all together for you. Let’s instead take a look at like, what if we just analyze this for somebody’s normal investing career like 20 years? Well, we did the math on their strategy, if you just did it since 1980. Seems reasonable. And really, we wanted to be fair to this paper to say, maybe it would have worked out differently. So let’s just bring back up his paper. And I’m going to show you what it might have looked like from 1980 look at this 32% positive 37% positive 19% positive 3860 and then ignite to your 2000. Up 30. Thank you, Reagan.

Cory 21:05

Yeah, thanks gipper.

Paul 21:09

So here’s the thing. What was the money value in 1980 $15,072? Well, if we just grew it for 20 years 1980 through 2000, where it’s 72,000 701, we would have an 8.1% rate of return. Using the presidential election timing strategy written about in an academic journal, peer reviewed, I’m going to have to after this, I’m going to look up peer reviewed, because I’m pretty sure it means people just checked your math, but didn’t check the applicability of the article, or whether or not it was complete. So we’re going to go back now to the history of the s&p 500. And I’m just gonna take it from 1983 Through 2000. And the actual rate of return of the s&p 500 over that same 20 year period of time is not 8.1%. As the strategy said, it would be if you did their really cool thing of moving in and out and getting all these really high double digit rates of return, just not all the time. Instead, the s&p 500, if left alone would have been 16.38%. So instead of growing 15,000 to 72,000, you would have grown 15,000, to whatever 15,000 is times 24. It would just be enormous, a lot more, a lot more. Like it would be 24, like 360,000 ish. If you start with 15,019 80, whereas his strategy we have 15,000 72,000 again, scaling problem. This is why what we want you guys to be able to do is either be in a spot where you teach yourself enough about money you can do this math yourself or put us in the position where you’re working with us or someone like us that can just help coach you on how to work. Does this strategy work or not? So if you’re a client of ours, you look at a strategy like this, just bring it to your next conversation with us. And we will help you do the testing. If it’s a better strategy, we’re going to be the first ones tell you to do it. Okay. All right, I need to take a breath. That’s

Cory 23:19

a good time for a commercial. We have not yet crusted over into our first explicit episode. But we have come close. Who knows what will happen when we come back from commercial? We’ll see you after this short message from sound Financial Group.

Paul 23:35

Hey, everybody, I had to interrupt our show for just a moment to share with you something new. We’ve designed a new white paper that we think is going to add new value in the way that you think about money. It’s three the biggest mistakes we see people make in six ways to fix them. Now for some of you, you might not want the white paper you might be ready to have a conversation with us. And that is okay, you can email us at info at SF GWA calm that’s info at fg WA comm find us on the web at your business, your wealth calm. And anytime on any of our social media platforms send us a message and we can get you this white paper. But in the meanwhile, if you want to just skip over the white paper, have a philosophy conversation with us. We’re happy to do that with you. Just let us know, philosophy conversation, the subject line. And if you want this white paper, just put white paper in there. And we’ll immediately get out to this white paper on the three biggest mistakes that we see people make and the six things that you can do to fix them. And now, back to our show.

Cory 24:34

All right, welcome back to our wild and wide ranging review of a wonderful academic white paper that we’re really concluding is not applicable to our specific financial lives and here’s the thing guys, if the end of the article Final Thoughts is the last couple paragraphs, he even says it himself. So you know, some highlights are It’s not the intent of this paper to forecast the market. Even more patterns exist. There’s enough variability that’s risky to try and to anticipate specific returns. And however, just when you think you’ve figured it all out, you find another pattern that can suggest different possibilities. So he is coming clean for himself at the end here, or just setting the context like he’s not even trying to help you put an actual investment strategy together. And I think that’s really, really important. And, Paul, I think you’ve got some other thoughts for ya can do.

Paul 25:36

But here’s the problem that should have been the first line of this article. If your first line of this article should have been this is not investment because by the way, if you’ve read this whole article, if you’re actually reading through looking these data, all that where do you land by the end of it, Where has your framing gone? Where is your mental headspace? In all likelihood, you’re sitting there going, Hmm, well, this is a presidential election year. So what I’m going to do I’ll go out of the market at the end of this year, and then I’ll wait until October 1 it’s doing the math and where would I keep my cash and and then there’s Final Thoughts thing and except you’re now you’re reading his final thoughts through the filter of having already partially applied the strategy to your future. It’s not saving anybody on the back end This is general financial services and academic industry See ya. But would you see a See ya this big? It’s a really good idea to see your a also. So here’s, here’s what I mean by that. You look at this somebody, there’s an outside event, there’s gonna be a presidential election. And based upon that, you can predict the market as China trade deal. And based upon how that’s going, we can predict the market. There’s a weather system moving into the Midwest that’s going to have record cold record heat, some kind of drought and you can trade like there’s articles on every of every stripe saying what you can do to beat them. market. Why? Because nobody wants to have the conversation that none of these active managers, none of these strategies can consistently or predictably been proven to work, including this one in an academic journal. His last line is, however, trying to figure out such patterns can certainly make life interesting. Yes, but in implementing them, can make you significantly more poor. On a consistent and predictable basis. Now, for what we’re thinking about is that there’s all these outside situations where somebody is saying, because this is happening, this is what you should do with your investing. Because this is happening. This is what you should do with your investing. And they’re constantly trying to market to you a set of strategies for what you should do your future. At least this gentleman back, tested it and gives you all of the data. Most of the articles you could read don’t give you that level of data. For instance, the article that led me to the white paper didn’t go this deep on data and just kind of left it out there and hanging. So here’s what I think all of you can do listening, we don’t want to leave you hanging. You want to be in a position when you’re reading articles like this. And you see an interesting idea. Set up a folder on Google News, you can save it to, or send an email to yourself, send an email on it to your advisor and coach and I say that very specifically, if you have an advisor and a coach around things financial, not a financial product salesperson, which is different. We’ve talked about that before. Get somebody who can coach you help you do the math, and do the kind of double checking with their financial tools on a strategy like this one, where all we had to do was look for the dog that wasn’t barking. There’s a Sherlock Holmes piece that talks about, well, I know that this resident who is murdered, was murdered by someone he knows because no one reported the dog barking. The dog that wasn’t barking. This article is the thing that’s harder to see, which is what would the s&p 500 have done if we just didn’t do anything? And I’ve got some kind of silly news for you. A 70% stock 30% back tested bond only portfolio was like 14.04% since 1980. Meaning staying academically allocated and globally diversified, did better than even the s&p 500 and way outperformed this unique strategy of trading in and out based upon where the markets going. So our encouragement for all of you listening today is capture these articles read financial things. This is not to read any of them. They will contribute to your thinking but what’s going to contribute to your thinking even more is when you if you’re a client of ours, if you’re not a client of ours, email us info at SF GW a.com. We’ll at least have a short conversation with you to see if there’s any reason for us to talk further. But find someone who can help you do this math, not to tell you that to dominate Article not to give their opinion not to cajole you for listening to this or they just throw in an overcoming of objection, the way the financial services industry teaches them. Instead, somebody who’s going to do the math with you help you understand it, just like we did here on the show today, and put you in a position that you can better understand each financial decision you’re making. Because all of that knowledge builds as you ground one assessment grounded another grounded another, you get better financially. So definitely take these in. Share them with whoever your coaches, share them with us. And we’ll be happy to pull apart from these articles pull apart from these academic theories about investing, and find out if it really works and more importantly, does it really work for you?

Cory 30:44

Paul, I am so impressed. I’m so relieved. This is not the This is not the time that we crossed that line, as they say, well done. Before we end for today we have another great featured review that I am I’m really excited to to read for you all. This is from a mean Elle, whose title is please publish to Spotify. Great podcasts with a wealth of honest advice that isn’t discussed elsewhere. Please publish to Spotify so I can listen on all my devices. Well, I mean, my guess is by the time you hear us reading your review, you’ll be listening to it on Spotify. So thank you for that recommendation. And we also want to remind everyone these reviews help us more than you could could know and we would like to you know, encourage you to do that by offering a book of your choice clockwork by Michael mccalla wits. Paul’s book, sound financial advice, my book aid not required anything that you want just by leaving an honest review, send us that screenshot to info at SF GW a.com along with your address, and we’d love to say thanks for just getting on there and helping more people here. Your review of our episode,

Paul 32:02

Paul, with that, Jordan, since he’s here doing all the video switching and engineering is certainly going to get it on Spotify. I’m sure by the time you get this review, that’s that’s my way of making sure Jordan does it. It is already. Jordan, literally read the review got ahead of it already put it on Spotify we didn’t even know. God bless you, Jordan. With that. It was great spending time with all of you today. Thank you for putting up with our antics and we hope that we make it fun to learn about finance. But more importantly, we just hope we’ve offered you something today. It’s gonna contribute to you being able

Unknown Speaker 32:39

to design and build a good life.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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“Legends Are Made” Copyright 2017. Music, arrangement and lyrics by Sam Tinnesz, Savage Youth Music Publishing SESAC and Matt Bronleewe, UNSECRET Songs SESAC


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