Last year (2008), the Dow Jones Industrial Average fell about 34% (www.djindexes.com), then dropped ANOTHER 20% in the first 2 months of 2009.
It is estimated that investors accounts have declined in value by about $10 TRILLION DOLLARS TOTAL. http://www.businessweek.com/mediacenter/podcasts/cover_stories/covercast_03_05_09.htm
Severe recessions such as this one can test the resolve of even the most experienced investors.
It is easy to say "This time its different." Many people are still feeling that way.
However, it is important to keep in mind a few points.
* Financial decisions (any financial decisions) should not be based on emotion.
* Historically, after every past recession, the market has gone on to hit new highs.
* Declines in the market & economy, even our most severe ones, have been temporary.
* Since 1926, the Dow Jones has had TWICE AS MANY positive returns as negative ones.
Despite more than 12 recessions dating back to 1926, $1.00 invested in the Dow in 1926
would have been worth $2045.00 at the end of 2008.
The late Sir John Templeton, founder of Franklin Templeton Investments liked to say, "The Four most expensive words in the English Language are 'This time it's Different.' "
The National Bureau of Economic Research www.nber.com http://www.nber.org/cycles/
states that the United States has weathered a recession EVERY decade since the 1920's. https://financialprofessional.hartfordinvestor.com/planco/om/P7135.pdf - Page 4.
As painful as the recessions are, when we are experiencing one, they have always been short lived, about 11 months on average. It can be difficult to predict when one will end, and announcing the "end" may take a while. According to NBER, they have waited an average of 15 months before declaring an "end". This way they avoid confusion. If there is further economic turmoil, it can be linked to a new recession, rather than the old one.
While we are "waiting to see what will happen" rebounds are often quick and robust. Stocks tend to recover about 6 months before the economy does. According to Morningstar www.morningstar.com, stocks are referred to as a leading indicator. On average, stocks have returned about 25% from market lows to the "end of the recession".
Did you know that the Dow Jones has increased by nearly 30% since its low point on
March 9, 2009? Have you been "in" the whole time, or did you go to something "safe"?
3/9/2009 - 6547
7/1/2009 - 8504
"The most expensive words in the English Language are 'This time it's different'."
Sir John Templeton
If you went to cash, thinking you were being "smart", think again. Cash can actually slow your recovery, and make it much harder to get your savings back.
In a recent study, Hartford shows data from the recession of 1973-1974, which had been our most severe until the present one. The study (please contact me at www.helpmy401k.us for more information) shows 4 seperate scenarios, each starting with $100,000 invested in equities on Dec. 31, 1972.
(Equities are represented by the S & P 500 Index. Cash is represented by the 30 Day Treasury Bill Index.)
In the study, they wanted to see how long it would take to recover the original $100,000 for the Low Point in the Market (Sept. 30, 1974)
Investor A (stayed in Equities) - back to $100,000 in July 1976 (1.75 years)
Investor B (moved to cash for 6 months, starting 9/30/1974) (5.3 years, or Jan. 1980)
Investor C (moved to cash for 12 months, starting 9/30/1974) (also 5.3 years)
Investor D (moved to cash for 18 months, starting 9/30/1974) (6.2 years, or Nov. 1980)
Yogi Berra sometimes said, "Its deja vu all over again."
In a challenging economy such as this one, isn't this precisely when you need a financial professional working side by side with you?
For more information, please contact me at http://www.helpmy401k.us. You may also follow me on Twitter at www.twitter.com/deanvoelker.