"Going to the sidelines"

Most investors have a recurring fantasy they can dodge market volatility. 

When markets start to tank or look scary, such folks want to “go to the sidelines,” which means parking their money in cash or safe bonds, “until the skies clear.”

When you ask them how they know when to go to the sidelines and when to come back, they frequently tell you they just FEEL it.

To that, I have one thing to say–BALONEY!

Feelings tell you nothing about markets, all they tell you is your emotional state.  Those who use their feelings to guide their investment decisions get nowhere.

Many of these people went to cash in the fall of 2008 or the spring of 2009.  In cash, they have earned maybe 2% returns if they were lucky.  If they had invested whole-heatedly at those times, they’d be sitting on 50% gains or more.  Those feelings don’t look too smart in hindsight.

Market prices tank when people get scared.  That’s when the bargains appear–when people aren’t selling for economic reasons but because of their emotional state. 

The same thing can be said on the upside.  If people feel euphoric–like in early 2000 or late 2007–then it might be time to get more conservative.

Your emotions tell you just the opposite of what to do, so don’t listen to them.

My best investments were made when I was scared.  I normally feel sick to my stomach when I purchase investments with the best upside.  My emotions are terrible guides, and so are yours.

When markets get scary or euphoric, it’s time to look at the data.  What kind of returns will I get given current prices and normalized earnings.  When I get nervous, I look at the data.  When I’m feeling optimistic, I look at the data.  I always look at the data, not my emotions.

For those who think they can go to the sidelines until the skies clear, I wish you the best of luck–you’ll need it! 

If you want to make a bundle on your investments, invest aggressively when you feel scared and get conservative when you’re euphoric.

Nothing in this blog should be considered investment, financial, tax, or legal advice. The opinions, estimates and projections contained herein are subject to change without notice. Information throughout this blog has been obtained from sources believed to be accurate and reliable, but such accuracy cannot be guaranteed.

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"Going to the sidelines"

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