Listening to Bob Brinker’s Moneytalk today, I heard a call from a 63 year old retired teacher who was thinking of selling all of her stock funds and putting the money into CDs.
I’ll bet a lot of people feel the same way. They’ve been watching their TSP or IRA accounts going nowhere but down for the entire year.
Consider this. What if you invested $10,000 the day before the stock market crash of 1987. Monday, October 19, 1987, became known as Black Monday, because on that day the market experienced the largest single-day decline in history, dropping more than 22%.
If you had been “lucky” enough to have purchased $10,000 in an S&P 500 index fund on Friday, October 16th, and been willing to hang on through the declines on the 19th and through the end of the month, that money would be worth more than $44,000 today.
Here is the lesson: if you need tomorrow that you’re investing in stocks today, you’re going to lose money, and plenty of it. If, however, you can wait more than 10 years, you’re probably going to make money, lots of it.
Ray Lucia has a great strategy called buckets of money. He fills the first bucket with 7 years of safe money for living expenses in retirement. He fills the second bucket with 7 years of growth and income money, and he puts the rest in the third bucket, the long term growth bucket. Using this stategy you can rest easy knowing that your long term investments have plenty of time to work themselves out, while you maintain the standard of living that you’ve always desired.
Ben Stein likes this approach too. He’s said so on Lucia’s radio show, and on his blog.
So, keep the faith. Don’t panic and keep investing!
“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs…yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…”
Rudyard Kipling's "If"