Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Two-Year Anniversary of Market Bottom

Today marks the 2-year anniversary of the bear market bottom on March 9, 2009, when the S&P 500 closed at 676.53. Today, March 9, 2011, the S&P 500 closed at 1320.02—an increase of about 95% from the bottom (it’s almost doubled), not including reinvested dividends.

Although the S&P 500 still is about 16% below the closing high of 1565.15 on October 9, 2007, those of us who continued to invest in stock index funds during the darkest days of the bear market have more than recovered our losses. Those who panicked and sold at low levels, and who remained fearful and did not buy back in before the tremendous gains in 2009, have suffered severe losses. Of course things could have turned out differently, and there certainly are more bear markets in our future, but at least for now, those of us who braved the storms can pause and reflect on our good fortune (at least with respect to the stock market over the last 2-3 years).

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

What Do You Think About Investing in ___________ (fill in the blank)?

I sometimes get asked what I think about investing in a particular type of investment; here are examples:

  • Emerging Market Stocks
  • REITs (Real Estate Investment Trusts)
  • Gold
  • Futures or Options
  • Trust Deeds
  • Annuities

The simple answer is that you should have an investment plan and stick to it, and not jump into a particular type of investment just because you’ve heard something about it from a friend, salesperson, or news article. For most people, a rational investment plan involves investing in low-cost stock and bond index funds, and using FDIC/NCUA insured deposit accounts, such as CDs and high-yield savings and checking accounts, for short-term reserves.