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Old 12-29-2013, 08:46 AM   #41
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During the worst crash in 2009, I was losing about 30-35% of my investments . Really scared the heck out of me. My first thought was to sell and avoid more losses. However, Upon reviewing my portfolio, I realized all my holdings were strong companies (JNJ, GE,XOM,JPM,T among others) that will exists tens or even hundred of years, excellent equity and bond funds and a good asset allocation. I decided not to sell any of them and ride the crisis and put in more money, little by little at a time using dollar cost averaging. besides, I thought it was too late to sell and if I did sell, my paper losses would become real losses and that what was happening in 2009 would not even matter in 5-10 years. I put my faith that America will survive the crisis and would even come out stronger. stopped looking at the news and did not check my portfolio's gains/losses for months. Now, not only I recovered but with this bull market, I almost doubled based on pre crisis value.... Can't blame anyone to panic because those were unusual times. I almost did but thank God, I stayed the course. Hopefully retired in 4-5 more years...would like to do it now as based on my computations would have enough but I still like my Job and my son is still in HS...
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:27 AM   #42
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Originally Posted by bmcgonig View Post
I remember that time. One little country like Greece could have toppled the Euro according to the talking heads. And it wasn't until Draghi came aboard and vowed to do anything it takes that everything calmed down. So I think the fears "about a little country" were real.

I mean who would have thought that the downfall of one single company like Lehman..not even a country..could destabilize the whole friggin world.
Exactly.

I looked back at my records. audreyh1 was correct about the talk of Greece not occurring until after the market plunged. I didn't sell at the very bottom (thankfully). I sold a couple years later in 2011, when the market recovered quite a bit, and when all this talk about Europe collapsing was in fashion, and how it could take the US down again. 2008 was still fresh in my mind, I took this talk about Europe to mean that there were still significant risks and that the worst for the US may still be yet to come.

Fortunately, I was still buying individual stocks in my taxable accounts - things like J&J, P&G, GE, etc. I got into these things before chasing yield became all the rage and did quite nicely so far. The thing is, everyone eventually got the same idea - got into these stocks because they're considered safe and raise dividends annually. Their valuations are now pretty high. And I read recently that a record amount of money has been plowed into stock mutual funds recently. Do I really want to follow the herd? Ugh...
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Old 12-29-2013, 10:34 AM   #43
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Originally Posted by Vincenzo Corleone View Post
Exactly.

I looked back at my records. audreyh1 was correct about the talk of Greece not occurring until after the market plunged. I didn't sell at the very bottom (thankfully). I sold a couple years later in 2011, when the market recovered quite a bit, and when all this talk about Europe collapsing was in fashion, and how it could take the US down again. 2008 was still fresh in my mind, I took this talk about Europe to mean that there were still significant risks and that the worst for the US may still be yet to come.

Fortunately, I was still buying individual stocks in my taxable accounts - things like J&J, P&G, GE, etc. I got into these things before chasing yield became all the rage and did quite nicely so far. The thing is, everyone eventually got the same idea - got into these stocks because they're considered safe and raise dividends annually. Their valuations are now pretty high. And I read recently that a record amount of money has been plowed into stock mutual funds recently. Do I really want to follow the herd? Ugh...
Well that's much better then. By 2011 the market had recovered much of the 2008/2009 plunge, so you didn't sell anywhere near the bottom.
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Old 12-29-2013, 12:09 PM   #44
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Originally Posted by Vincenzo Corleone View Post
...(snip)... The thing is, everyone eventually got the same idea - got into these stocks because they're considered safe and raise dividends annually. Their valuations are now pretty high. And I read recently that a record amount of money has been plowed into stock mutual funds recently. Do I really want to follow the herd? Ugh...
I'm not a fan of buying dividend stocks but rather of looking for a value tilt to get the extra bump. That strategy takes in some of the dividend yield too.

Regarding following the herd, one never knows how the future world economy will go but there seems to be a bias towards growth. Now I wonder why that would be? If one asked this question in say 1987 about 5 years after the previous SP500 low then they would have gotten out before the 1987 crash. But the full year results for 1987 were actually up slightly. Then came the great 1990's period. I'm not saying this will happen again (unlikely to have a PE expansion) but something good could occur like a long steady upward market.

Refusing to follow an up trend might be a bit futile. If I were going to time the market, I would be wary when stocks had run up and the Fed was tightening so we had a flat yield curve. The later condition is definitely missing.
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:49 PM   #45
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For some reason the idea of a conservative balanced fund sounds less scary although I recognize that a 60/40 or 40/60 simple portfolio is not much different. Maybe it is the advantage of not seeing the equity funds out there by themselves in plain view plummeting in a downturn that makes that approach feel better.
Although I have not been ER during a big downturn (which I'm sure is psychologically harder than a downturn during the accumulation phase), I tend not to look at the individual components of my portfolio anyway. It consists of just 3 index funds and a cash portion (~ 60/35/5). I log on to my Vanguard account regularly, look at the total balance, and then log out. Occasionally, I will look at individual balances and/or the AA but if the market is acting a little scary, I simply look at the overall balance. If the market is looking particularly scary, I don't log on at all.

The nice thing about simple portfolios consisting of either balanced funds or index funds is that sticking your head in the sand is often good practice
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Old 12-29-2013, 01:52 PM   #46
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Log on log off wax on wax off. Even caveman can do it.
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Old 12-29-2013, 02:33 PM   #47
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First, let me give my qualifications to speak unintelligently about this subject (selling out and not buying back in - in time.) I sold out in '75 and never really bought back in in a traditional sense until a few years before ER. I ended up with company stock over a 30 year period through my 401(k) which enabled my 2005 retirement. None of this is recommended, but it worked out for me - quite well, in fact. Then, I learned some "stuff" and bought into some indexes and balanced funds (pssst. Wellesley) But, because of my proclivities to sell out, I stayed at about 30 - 35% stocks, total. I did one other thing which I have not heard mentioned here. I bought a small stake in precious metals - less than 5%. Fortunately, I did this in the early 00's more as a crisis investment than what it has turned out to be. Bottom line, when stocks tanked in the late 2000's, my PMs kept me more or less even and let my remaining investments make a little money. True, PMs have retreated, but my stocks have appreciated.

Now, I'm not recommending this. I simply have read up on PMs as a "smoothing" investment which tend not to correlate as well with "traditional" investments. I have read that 3 - 5% is the "sweet spot" though, I'm guessing that would be in a port of 50:50 or 60:40 otherwise. Not sure. Anyway, if I have a recommendation, it would be to at least read up on this concept and see if it makes any sense to you. If not, don't do it. It has seemed to work for me as I didn't sell any stocks in the last downturn.

As always, YMMV, so do your own research.
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:51 AM   #48
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He's been wrong on that for awhile now

I think it would be a good thing if US Corporate profits dropped some and wages got stronger. It might even be a good thing for the stock market.

I think the growth in revenues caused by increasing the buying power of the middle class might outstrip the drop in profit margins.


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Corporate America's profit margin is an outrageous 11%. Historically it's around 6%. Warren Buffett himself believes that 11% is unsustainable even in the short term.

I agree with Buffett. We will have 58% non-US equities and 42% USA equities starting 2014. I expect non-US stocks to continue to out-perform US stocks over the short term.
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