By Brad Beckstrom
As I’m writing this the S&P 500 just passed the 3000 mark. It only took five years for the index to reach this new high from the 2000 point milestone in 2014. In contrast, the rise from 1000 to 2000 required more than 16 years.
I like to think of myself as an optimist. So, I’m always confident that the market will go up over time. I just get a bit concerned when I see politicians taking credit for market gains and large companies using federal tax giveaways to buy back shares, propping up share prices.
All this while the US deficit is moving up in hockey stick fashion. Trade wars also pushed market volatility to new highs in 2018. It’s always easy to find bad news from good sources if you’re looking for it.
The case for optimism
On the other hand, experts have been predicting the next market crash since about 2012. Currently, we are 10 years into a record long bull run in the US stock markets. The point here is that no one can predict the direction of the markets. As much as governments may try, they even have trouble disrupting forward progress. Time marches on, things do eventually get better over time. Stay optimistic. When the next bear market or correction comes along, hang on tight and tell yourself this too shall pass.
Expect the best, plan for the worst
Optimism definitely has its place. For those of us that retired early, are financially independent, nearing retirement, or just hanging out on a beach somewhere, now is the perfect time to be a bit of a pessimist. Over the past two years, as this bull current bull market has gotten a bit long in the tooth, I’ve found myself looking at how specific investments performed during the 2001 and 2008 bear markets and recessions.
If we were to have another major bear market, how would my portfolio perform and what should my asset allocation be before it comes? I look at this as sort of conducting your own financial stress test, similar to what the Fed asks banks to do.
If you’re retired or financially independent and source part of your income from dividends and capital gains, ask this question: What could you do now that would enable you to get through the next recession and bull market without having to sell dividend producing stocks or stock market index funds while prices are dropping?[Read more…] about Building a Financial Bridge Over Stormy Seas