By Lyman Howard
Is it any wonder that Americans have become reluctant to buy into the stock market? After the fiascoes of the 2000 internet bust and the 2008 crisis, it has been far more comfortable to remain in cash or bonds, since it hasn’t really “paid” not to be. Major stock indexes have only this year recovered to highs first reached over a decade ago, and it wasn’t exactly a smooth ride back, was it?
Today we hear accounts of stock exchange computer glitches, headline induced sell-offs, and political standoffs that can reduce even the most steadfast investors to being Nervous Nellies. Who wants to be the sucker at the poker table where professional traders with inside information and head starts on news releases are controlling the action?
What’s the solution, then? It is not to boycott the markets in favor of cash, unless you just cannot stand the anguish of uncertainty or will need to access that money within the next few years. With today’s depressed savings rates and long life expectancies it is just plain risky to earn nothing year upon year on long term savings. So to help make yourself a better and calmer market participant and investor, consider these five steps:
1. Reduce the price swings of your investment portfolio by mixing in stocks, bonds, and cash, and while you do this, spread out into many sectors, geographies, and company-sizes, too. This is to avoid being too concentrated on the fortunes of just one or a few enterprises.