It’s important that you understand the impact that a bear market has on your capital. The give and take of your investment capital is not equal. If you placed $100 into an investment and it declined 50% to $50, what is the rate of return you would need to earn back your original investment of $100?
Once you lose money, it takes a much greater return on the funds you have left to recapture your original investment. In this case, you would need a 100% gain on the remaining $50 to recapture your original $100 investment.
Looking at historical bear markets in the United States, we can conclude that the time to recovery from a bear market can take between six months and twenty five years! Declines in portfolio value have ranged from 20% to 86.7%! Not a good scenario for buy and hold investors. This is why you would be better off financially to never lose money in any one year and to only achieve half of the market’s returns in the positive years. Let us explain how this is possible. If you never lost money in the down market years, you would only need to capture 38.33% of the gains in the positive market years to equal a buy-and-hold position in the Nasdaq 100 index. More realistically, if your losses in the down market years were half the Nasdaq’s losses, you would only need to capture 63.37% of the Nasdaq’s gains in the positive market years to equal a buy-and-hold position.
The point we are making is that you don’t need to equal or outperform the performance of the market in the positive market years if you protect your capital in the down market years. Protecting your capital in the down market years has an exponential effect on growing your capital over time.
The objective of any stock market timing strategy should be to reduce risk and maximize returns – with risk reduction being the most important factor. All other things being equal, you want to invest in the least volatile, highest reward, lowest risk strategy possible.
You may be reading this today because you are tired of giving all of your own assets, or your client’s assets, away to a bear market. You may even be in the position where your retirement has been diminished to the point of having to change your retirement plans.
Whatever the reason, there are better ways to grow and protect your assets than the buy and hold (buy and hope) myth promoted by Wall Street.