Dont Ask Your Broker
Unfortunately, most of you who are reading my column are suffering some substantial losses in the stock market. Whether it is mutual funds or individual stocks everything with mighty few exceptions is going down. Maybe you are just giving back some nice profits, but maybe it is beginning to bite into your original principal.
You are wondering what should I do? I know, I'll call my broker. He knows all about the market. Please! Don't ask your broker. I already know what he will tell you. The usual Wall Street smoke and mirrors answer. "Don't worry. This is just a healthy correction in a bull market. It will come back". It makes me sick to hear this kind of nonsense from a supposedly informed and intelligent (?) person. By the way, what is "healthy" about a 38% "correction"?
If this guy was so smart when he had you buy these stocks and mutual funds then why wasn't he smart enough to have you sell before you gave back 50% or more of your portfolio? He is working under the guise of investment conventional wisdom that is conventional but not wisdom. "Mr. Mushroom, you are in for the long term so don't worry about these aberrations." YUK! That is what you are - a mushroom. Grown in the dark and fed you-know-what.
There are times when you should have on only one position - CASH. Cash is a position, but brokers are not taught that. They never heard of it.
When I was a floor trader guys would come to me and say, "Al, what do you have on?" and my reply, "Nothing" drew a shocked look. "How can you be down here on the floor and not be trading?" It is very simple, I was there to make money, not to trade. Many times you should not be doing anything. It is the same for the average investor. He should be in cash when there is a bear market as there is right now. How long it will last I don't know, but I will know when it is over and the bull has returned. Your broker won't know because he has not been trained to make money, only to make commission.
Every stock and mutual fund you own should be examined regularly (preferably weekly) and a stop placed under each position so (just in case) that hummer decides to tank you will be out with your profit. Never let a winning trade go to a loss. You must protect your capital at all times.