As the stock market has reached all-time highs, it may have crossed your mind about getting in the game or even grabbing your share during market pullbacks. Beware as investment decisions during periods like this are challenging because the biggest enemies in money management – fear and greed – influence your decisions at times like these.
With a bull market now into its tenth year despite frequent threats of a looming correction, how can you avoid making rash decisions amid market highs?
As the calendar gets ready to turn, think about your original goals
As we enter December, it’s important to keep the past 11 months in perspective and remember your original goals from the beginning of the year. Sure, it’s been an interesting year – more volatility, market corrections, new market highs, and tax reform – but unless something dramatically altered your circumstances, remember the basics.
Here are some thoughts for you to consider as you begin looking forward to 2019:
Have you ever embarked on a home improvement project? …One perhaps that you are confident in completing, but unfamiliar with the details. A “how to” clip is usually available on YouTube, but there isn’t a practical way to reach out with follow-up questions. What you may need is guidance from a caring individual.
This is where your local home improvement store comes into play. I usually have good luck with Home Depot. The employees not only know their craft exceedingly well but are excited to share their ideas. I'm always impressed with the greeter at our local store who welcomes guests and can direct them to the exact aisle of the item(s) that they're there to purchase. You can see it in their body language and the sparkle in their eyes when they explain the nuances of a project. Plus, they are happy to share any problems you might encounter and how to sidestep pitfalls.
They are, in one word, educators. What they have taught me and what I’ve learned through various projects in life is a fairly simple concept: “Experience isn’t the best teacher–someone else’s experience is.”
There is a common misconception that mutual funds, index funds and ETFs are all the same type of investment vehicles. And while there are similarities, there are also some significant differences for investors to know about. Let’s explore.
Active vs. Passive
Investors can select from two main investment strategies: active and passive portfolio management. Active portfolio management is exactly how it sounds: the portfolio manager(s) focuses on outperforming an index by “actively” making buy/sell decisions, adjusting asset allocation ranges and employing other portfolio management techniques.
Passive portfolio management on the other hand simply aims to replicate an index – not to outperform and not to underperform – but rather replicate. Therefore, there is no portfolio manager making buy/sell decisions.
Mutual funds are either active or passive – if passive, then they are called index funds. ETFs can also be considered either passive or active.
One of the oldest stock market strategies is to “Sell in May and Go Away.” But what does this phrase mean? Is there any supporting reason for selling stocks in May and leaving the market? What are the risks?
“Sell in May and go away” is a well-known trading adage that counsels investors to sell their stocks in May to avoid a seasonal decline in the stock market. An investor selling his or her stocks in May would then buy stocks again in November because the November through April period shows significantly stronger growth in the market than the other half of the year. However, this seasonal strategy flies in the face of the buy-and-hold strategy of investors like Warren Buffett, the wildly successful “Oracle of Omaha.”