Investors are more likely to reach their long-term goals if they remain invested and avoid short-term decisions that may take them off course. As the hypothetical example below shows, investors may make suboptimal decisions when emotions take over, tending to buy out of excitement when the market is going up and sell out of fear when the market is falling. Markets do ultimately normalize, and when they do, those who stay invested may benefit more than those who don’t.
To help reason prevail, first make sure you’re comfortable with your allocation to riskier assets and that it makes sense in light of your time horizon. You also need a logical framework for financial decisions and a plan that anticipates periods of market turbulence. A systematic approach for reviewing portfolio results, with pre-established guidelines for selling, may help as well.
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If it bleeds, it leads. This common saying in journalism refers to the notion that the more horrific or negative a story is, the more prominent it is displayed on the front page. This is certainly true of financial news headlines. Most of what you read on a financial websites and in a newspapers is just noise. Investors should never make investment decisions based on what they see in a headline. Rather than help you make good financial decisions, the media is more likely to scare you until you can’t sleep at night or cause you to sell all of your stocks at the first sign of a correction.
It is very likely the stock market is going to have a correction at some point this year and we may already be in one. The S&P 500 is off approximately 3.5% from its recent high. You can bet if that number reaches 6% or 7%, the media is going to begin writing stories about the death of this bull market and a possible recession ahead. Not very many reporters are going to write stories about how corrections are a normal and healthy part of bull markets and that we were overdue for one. Read more »