The real value of a bear market may be that it gives investors, temporarily frozen within its grip, the opportunity to learn or relearn important lessons regarding risk and diversification.
For savvy investors, a bear market also creates a period for looking beyond emotional headlines and studying the hard facts – facts that can ultimately place them in a position to take advantage of coming opportunities.
Periods of falling equity prices are a natural part of investing in the stock market. Bear markets follow bull markets and vice versa. They are considered the “ebb and flow” of wealth accumulation.
Bear markets create apprehension in the minds of many people. That’s natural. However, investors should balance those feelings of anxiety with reason.
Anyone dubious about the need for a stable outlook should consider that virtually every bear market was followed by a better than average annual rate of return from the subsequent bull market.
Instead of taking a “time out” from the market, and missing out on potential opportunities, investors should focus on five key lessons the market has repeatedly been trying to teach everyone during its naturally occurring economic cycles:
Remember that you’ll be inundated with financial information during bear and bull markets.
There will be reports about inflation, interest rates, and unemployment figures that may entice you to either give up on the stock market or invest in it to exclude investments paying relatively smaller returns.
To avoid being lured to either extreme, develop a financial strategy that accounts for risks you find comfortable.
Review your investments regularly to help ensure they are still relevant to your overall financial plan and that you’re staying on track.
Then trust yourself and stick with the plan.