When will the stock market stop going down and start up again? If we knew that we'd all be jillionaires. So what do you do now while stocks are going down and stealing away your money every day?
What does history tell us? Here is one very interesting fact. From 1920 to 2000 there were 3 bull markets that lasted about 16 years each. It seems the most recent one ended at the end of 1999. What is most scary about this is that after these long bull markets each one was followed by another period when the stock market went down or sideways for another 16 years. Look on the bright side. We only have 14 more years to wait for the next bull market.
Wait a minute -
Wall Street has been telling us this is only a correction and now is the time to buy. What do you think they are going to tell you? They have stocks to sell and must make commissions or they will be out of business. Someone has to buy that stuff and guess who got picked? Right. You.
There are only a couple of safe places. A government-backed money market fund or some government short to intermediate bonds that will pay you about 5%. Unfortunately, too many people still think the stock market is going to make new high prices, but it ain't gonna happen. The smartest thing you can do is protect your money from further depreciation. If you don't take action now you will see your money disappear at about 10% to 20% (maybe more) over the next couple of years. I know your broker said the market always comes back. Well, I hope it does - in your lifetime. But you have to be smart enough to protect what you have right now.
The few wise men of Wall Street who speak the truth - Sir John Templeton, Warren Buffet and a few others - have said you will be lucky to make 5% over the next few years. To me that means you can be safely in bonds and sleep at night.
The great secret of success in the stock market is not buying; it is selling. Any fool can buy, but unless you know when to sell you are in trouble. Go thru the stocks and mutual funds you own right now and ask yourself this question: Would I buy this puppy now? If the answer is 'NO' then the best thing to do is sell it and put your money in something that will not depreciate over the next 14 years.
Rule one: Don't lose money. What are you doing to protect yours?