Markets End a Wild Day Down About 4%

Lughnasa                                                                       Labor Day Moon

Third phase folk pay attention to the stock market, at least those of us lucky enough to have investments. I spent a bit of time 15 years or so ago trying to get up to speed on investing. Bio-tech stocks seemed real attractive to me. After a year or so I realized investing was not my thing. A real stunner, that, since I had only a few years before resigned as the development minister for Unity Church in St. Paul, one of the dumber career moves I’d ever made.

Kate and I have learned to manage money, not easily, not without pain, but we’ve got it now. What buddy Scott Simpson does, manage money for others, is a high-dive act, a constant immersion in a chaotic realm. Being able to do it consistently and for others means he’s mastered a very complex and often cruel domain.

On days like today, when markets shake like the San Andreas getting ready for the big one, those of us retired and depending on our investments for a certain portion of our monthly living expenses can over react. Markets correct when they go down at least 10%, and they enter bear market territory when they hit 20%, off a previous high.

Market corrections, on average, last about two months. In other words, sell now and you sell low. If you go into cash, you then have to decide when to buy back in. Most people wait till the market ticks up again, often resulting in buying high after having just sold low. Some people’s portfolios never recover. That happened to many, including friends of mine, in 2008.

So. Take a deep breath. Do nothing. Wait. Often difficult, but the wisest course of action now.