The Winter Games for the Olympics are coming up soon and many will want to go to see the giant slalom event. That's the one where the skier starts off from the little hut at the top of a long slope, picks up speed and makes his way around poles on the way down. Each turn about a pole is precarious and some fall on the way down and are wiped out.
Kinda reminds me of the current stock market. Starting off slowly down from the safety of the top and as it become steeper it picks up speed. Each turn on the way down looks like a place to rally, but shortly thereafter it heads down again at even higher speed. And many are wiped out - financially.
If you are not an expert you should not be on the course. If you are a beginner you better head for the "bunny" course where you won't get hurt. Safer, not as thrilling, but you will get to the bottom all in one piece. The "bunny" course in the retirement race is all in CDs and T-Bills; however, everything is guaranteed. It takes a long time to get there and you won't win any gold. You will have some silver.
Many have tried the steep championship financial course and been wiped so they hired an instructor such as a broker or financial planner. It is unfortunate that most of these instructors cannot make it to the gold at the bottom of the hill. How do you make it safely to the bottom with all your cash and yet do better than the CD people?
The next safest place is in no-load mutual funds, but there is a catch. You have to review your mutual funds every month. And what do I mean by that? Review? You must keep yourself from being wiped out on one of those steep downturns by selling any fund that goes below its previous 3-month price level. It is really that simple. If your fund went from $40 to $90 and was then trading at $80 with the previous 3-month low of $70 you would sell it as soon as it closed below $70.
This is as simple as it gets, but it means YOU must DO something and not sit there and watch your money disappear like the melting snow.
The secret of success in the stock market is selling. Learn to protect your profits and also protect yourself from losses when you buy. It's your money.