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How to Survive a Bear Market
For investors, bear markets (a stock market decline of 20% or more) are obviously very unpleasant. However, through history they are a regular and recurring feature of the market landscape. As I write this piece on the morning of January 24th, the S&P 500 Index is off to its worst start of a year on record: down 11% in the first 16 trading days of the year. Is a bear market coming in 2022? We don’t know, and neither does anyone else. No one knows the future path of markets
If a bear market should come, however, the most important thing for investors to do is not make big mistakes. The classic mistake, of course, is selling most or all of one’s stocks during a downturn and sitting in cash while markets are bouncing back. Once the market has left the station without you, it is very difficult to catch up.
Many people think the way to long-term investment success is to somehow avoid downturns. But our Cardinal Rule of Successful Investing is this: You must be in the market when it goes up! Thus, it is okay (but not pleasant) to be in the market when it goes down, but it is not okay to be out of the market when it goes up. Here’s the logic: the market has recovered from every single downturn in history (except the one we are in now). Thus, all previous downturns have, in retrospect, been buying opportunities. However, if your portfolio is sitting in cash when the market bounces, say, 10% before you reinvest, then you have lost out on that 10% move permanently.
Here are a few things investors can do to help them weather the storm in today’s markets:
Remember, in the history of markets, money put to work during down markets has had a higher subsequent rate of return than money put to work during buoyant market.
We regularly review portfolios and ask for nothing in return. If you would like an objective opinion on your portfolio or any of your holdings from an experienced and independent investment manager, give us a call at 619-435-1701 or email us at email@example.com.
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