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Comments

Sara R

Well, 10 years is a long-term time horizon, isn't it? So let's go in the way back machine and look at the S&P 500 index now, compared to 10 years ago:

http://finance.google.com/finance?cid=626307

Down 7.57% as of today. Not adjusted for inflation.

When are financial planners going to change the advice they give based on the current behavior of the stock market? How much integrity do you guys have?!?

Peak Dow

Methinks it would have been a good thing last Monday to have gone into cash.

I went to cash last December. I have played the market with never more than 10% of my pool. Always short term, generally with Puts.

I have made a decent amount of money since December. But even having it sit in a MM account at 2% would have been so much better than losing 30% of the principal.

Return of principal is worth 10 times the return on principal. And you can sleep at night.

Letting your money sit in the market at a time like this is painful. It was not until 1954 that the Dow finally got back to its 1929 high. The 5000+ that the Nasdaq hit in 2000 will not be hit again probably in my lifetime. I lost a lot of money that time when I left my money in the market. Never again.

Sara R

The results of 10 years of dollar cost averaging into SPY: http://www.mdmproofing.com/iym/weblog/2008/10/10-years-of-spy-dollar-cost-averaging.html

Alien

could you be so kind as to tell us how your buys on monday (and what they were) have performed on the week?

of course this short term action in no way would reflect on the accuracy of your long term (1 year) call.

The Financial Philosopher

Sara R / Peak Dow / Alien:

First, thank-you for sharing your thoughts and opinions. I did not fact-check your information but I will not doubt its accuracy...

You certainly demonstrate that investing is a personal decision as well as a personal experience, which is why I will share my own personal experiences (as briefly as possible):

I've been an investor for 15 years and an advisor/planner for 10 years.

Personally, I have made the most money -- not by dollar-cost averaging or "buy and hold"-- but by INCREASING my contributions when stock prices are extremely depressed.

My most recent experience with this type of environment (as for most other investors) began at the beginning of the last bear market (2000 to 2002). On the day after 9/11, I increased my 401(k) contribution from 8% to 30% of my pay for as long as I could possibly afford it (I obviously had no children or mortgage at the time)!

Also, if you read through some of my posts, I had suggested building cash back in January of 2007.

I estimate that I have netted about 50% total return in the past 5 years... and not because of market timing, fundamental analysis or technical analysis...

It's called "buying into weakness and selling into strength..."

There's nothing scientific about it...

At the core, I believe in the virtues of patience, simplicity, moderation, and focusing only on those things that I can control and not worrying about things that are not within my control.

Ultimately, as you would know if you read my posts that money does not bring meaning and it certainly should not create extreme frustration or anger.

Somewhere in the world, someone just found out they will die of a terminal disease in six months. Do you think they care about their stocks?

I don't think so...

Perhaps it is time for us to reflect on what is really important in our lives...

I think you all just provided inspiration for my next post...

Thanks for sharing your thoughts. Now go hug your family and have an enjoyable weekend!!!!

Kent

Peg

Kent - I thank you, once again, for sharing all your thoughts.

Once upon a time, I was a philosophy grad student. Today - I call myself the "Philosopher-Realtor" (yep, I sell houses - or - at least try to do so!) And, I really do live both my life and do my work with a philosophical bent.

Although, like virtually everyone else, I prefer feeling as if I have some measure of wealth, and I love having nice things - at end, they are only "things." At times like this, we need to "ride out the storm" and reflect on what really does matter.

The man I mentioned in my first post died way too early at 73. Although his wealth afforded him the best possible medical care, even that could not save him.

So. In days like this, I will think about what I have, rather than about my paper losses. All in all - I'm really pretty fortunate.

Frank Farbenbloom

The series of comments above are fascinating in their variety and intelligence.

Some random thoughts as I read -

"They" may have more more access to information than the small investor but that does not mean they make better decisions! (witness what we are going through now).

My belief in investing is that one buys the business. As a small businessman (retired) I always said the only difference, in fundamentals, between my company and IBM was a few zeros.

If I don't understand how the business makes money I don't buy.

We always have to keep in mind the difference between an "investor" and a "trader". The latter in my definition is someone who earns his money somewhere other than from the market and invests his surplus.

For the trader, trading the market is his business. He is no different than the antique dealer who makes his money by constantly turning over his inventory for reasonable profits with the occasional "big hit"

Another thought -

Every transaction has two parties - both may be right in their buy or sell decision depending on their perspective at that moment.

As markets go down - Who is Buying? and Why? Are they all stupid or are their horizons a few months longer than the next quarter?

Finally -

One of the most memorable pieces of advice I received from a teacher was the definition of the "Purpose Of Education" - to teach how to find the information you need, when you need it and how to interpret what you find.

Excuse the rambling post, these are just some of the thoughts evoked as I read this excellent conversation.

Again my thanks for such an intersting blog.

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

Frank:

Thanks for sharing your thoughts, which I feel to be quite valuable...

I especially agree with your thought that either the buyer or seller "may be right in their buy or sell decision depending on their perspective at that moment."

This market environment is led primarily by emotion. Fundamentals (i.e. P/E ratio, Price/book value) are thrown out the window.

Risk management is prudent in all environments...

I really appreciate, above all, your shared thought:

"Purpose Of Education - to teach how to find the information you need, when you need it and how to interpret what you find."

That sums it up in one sentence! You are fortunate to have such a wonderful teacher in your life...

Here's one of my favorite thoughts on learning and education:

"Every person, all the events of your life, are there because you have drawn them there. What you choose to do with them is up to you." ~ Richard Bach

Cheers...

anon

I would love to see proof that you are still holding...it is the internet so it is not possible...I would love to know your holdings too

Kent @ The Financial Philosopher

Anon:

This post from over one year ago pretty well sums up my personal strategy, not necessarily that of my clients:

http://financialphilosopher.typepad.com/thefinancialphilosopher/2007/10/socratic-model-.html

I have been "selling into strength and buying into weakness" for several weeks. For example, I put cash (about 5%) in the market last week. When the market rose 11% on Monday, I trimmed a bit off for more opportunities later.

I also reduced bond exposure to generate more cash for stock purchases.

I am 39-years old; I don't make large moves in the market; I am primarily a "buy and hold" investor; I trade infrequently (perhaps a dozen times this year) and I have remained between 85% and 100% in stocks for my entire investing lifetime.

Currently, I am around 90% stocks and 10% cash. The stocks are diversified between Large-cap, Small-cap, Foreign, Real-Estate, Health Care, and Financials (buying into weakness, especially micro-cap financials).

I only share specific investment ideas with clients.

Generally, as you may deduce from reading my blog posts, I am not an active investor and believe in the 2500-year old wisdom of simplicity, moderation, and contentment.

If all of my investments were reduced to Zero, I would still be content as long as my family is healthy and we have food, shelter and clothing (however, if my investments were reduced to Zero, it would mean the world is coming to an end)!

I should also disclose that my largest "investment" is my Investment Advisory Firm, which I started almost exactly two years ago, and has increased revenue 8 quarters consecutively. Since I can control this investment to a large degree, I place most of my intellectual and financial energies in it.

By the way, how are you invested?

I appreciate your interest and look forward to further discussion.

I wish you the best...

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About Kent Thune


  • Kent Thune is a wealth manager, a writer and a philosopher... Read More

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  • The information on this site is provided for discussion purposes only, and should not be misconstrued as investment advice. Under no circumstances does this information represent a recommendation to buy or sell securities.