Selling In A Bear Market

Selling in a Bear Market

Selling in a Bear Market

Most investors understand that markets go up and down, but there are times when these swings are especially dramatic. During these big swings, investors can be tempted to either BUY when the market has risen or SELL when the markets are down. Intuitively this can make sense. No one wants to miss out on the party when things are going well, and likewise we have been quite rightly conditioned to flee when things look dangerous.
But are these the right things to do when it comes to managing our investments?
The short answer, and one often quoted is “no, of course not”; however this can be easier said than done. The mantra may well be “buy low and sell high”, but the average investor’s behaviour is typically the exact opposite.
As indicated above, it is easier to put money into the market AFTER it has been doing well. This is especially true if that winning streak has lasted 6 months or more. Conversely, it is also much harder to buy securities after a downturn, especially if the sell-off meets the definition of a Bear Market, i.e. down 20% or more.
The biggest sell-offs of equities by retail investors have typically occurred after markets are already down 20% or more. This was true in 1987, 2001 and 2009 (and almost certainly again in March 2020, although the data will obviously not be in for a few more weeks). These same investors then buy back in to the market only after it has had a large recovery. How does this impact their portfolios? They lock in their losses at or close to a market bottom, then miss out on most of the recovery before feeling it is safe enough to go back in.
How would this look in a $1,000,000 portfolio? We will use the crash of 2008-09 as our example with a start date of September 15, 2008 since this was just before Lehmann Brothers collapsed and the crash began*.

Investor One 
Market Value on Sept 15, 2008:$1,000,000
Market value on October 6, 2008 (SELL TO CASH):$ 710,000
Value of cash on March 9, 2009 (market bottom):$ 710,000
Buy again on April 19, 2010 (after 20% recovery):$ 710,000
Market Value on Dec 31, 2019:$1,165,235

In this scenario the investor would be up 11.65% over the entire period. What would have happened if they had stayed invested instead?
Investor Two 
Market Value on Sept 15, 2008:$1,000,000
Market value on October 6, 2008 (DOESN’T SELL):$ 710,000
Market Value on March 9, 2009 (market bottom):$ 630,000
Market Value on Dec 31, 2019:$1,767,182

The client who chose to stay in the market is over $600,000 wealthier than the client who sold midway through the crash and waited until “it was safe” before returning! Yes, the client who remained invested looked much worse at the market bottom, but their patience and courage were more than rewarded.
This story can be repeated with every previous market downturn in history. While this time may be different, we at CH do not believe this to be the case. The stock and bond markets are reflections of the long-term performance of the economy. If we could somehow successfully predict when the economy would go into recession, AND THEN ALSO when it was about to recover, we might be able to perfectly time the market. But the reality is no one (including the best economists and investors in the world) has been able to do this successfully over time. To do so means we would need to be lucky both when we sold, and likewise when we bought back in again. Instead, we believe it is better to remain patient, and trust those investment managers who have successfully navigated through prior market crisis events. The partnerships we’ve created with these managers are very strategic; we trust them with our own personal assets and fully believe in their abilities to make smart investment decisions. This holds true when times are good, and also when they are a bit less certain.
This isn’t the first time the markets have acted the way they have over the last few weeks – and even though these are unprecedented times, so were 1987, 2001 and 2008 while they were unfolding. History has proven time and again that unless you have a crystal ball, the biggest financial payoff in times of uncertainty is to hang tight. Just ask Investor Two!

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Are we a good fit?

We’re looking for aspirational clients who require the whole spectrum of financial services because managing the whole is how we’re able to deliver unbeatable value – it’s our “secret sauce.”If this describes you, let’s set up a meeting andget to know each other.

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I just want to say we have been with your team since 1993, and we have never had any bad advice. The investments you set up for us during this time has paid for university education for our two granddaughters and provided a significant monthly income for us to augment our pensions.

We are with you for the long run and are not going anywhere. Jeremy has told us that at these times the numbers tend to scare you, but you haven’t really lost anything if you don’t panic and sell.

Ken M, Calgary

With CH Financial since 1993

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When I became a client of CHF it was a real game-changer as I was going through a very difficult time both professionally and personally.

I went through a divorce and the loss of a job and a parent, all within a 12-month period. While it was very tough to deal with at the time, I was reassured by the fact that the team at CHF had my back and really cared about me and what I was going through.

Looking back now, I’m not sure how I would have managed without the support of the CHF family.

Jeremy and his team were there every step of the way to help me navigate my way through the complexities of a divorce and inheritance. They got me back on track both financially, as well as emotionally.

I have now been a client of CHF for over 10 years and thanks to their expertise, I know that my family will be well taken care of for many years to come. I am now in a position where I don’t need to worry about money thanks to a solid financial plan.

I would highly recommend the CHF team to others going through life-changing and difficult situations as your financial partner.

Linda, Victoria

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As an investment industry professional, I am constantly on the go and maximizing my peak career earning years in my 40s. With travel and work commitments I am very limited for time to spend with family and do the things I love to do and chose CH Financial to allow me more freedom and lifestyle balance.

Being in the investment industry my whole career and an extremely busy professional, I know I could probably do a good job at managing my money as I work in the industry after all while I rely on and trust the CH Financial team that they will take care of the details, both growing my assets as well as taking care of every aspect of my financial situation, including my tax, investments and insurance, they simply take away the stress of having to worry about it all and help me to navigate the complexities for me so it all meshes together and importantly saves me valuable time and headaches.

At the end of the day, the reality is I truly value my time and the opportunity cost of my time and would rather hire the best in the industry so ultimately my wife and I can do the things that we love to do, have more leisure time, relax and enjoy spending time in the great outdoors, exploring new countries, hiking in the mountains and volunteer work.

Since engaging CHF more than 5 years ago we have enjoyed significant growth in our investments but more importantly, we have peace of mind and sleep much better at night knowing the team at CHF has our financial back and anything financial they will take care of for us.

I would have absolutely no hesitation in recommending the team at CHF to other career-focused busy professionals who really value their time and lifestyle balance.

Kevin & Sharron, Calgary

Financial industry professionals

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Prior to joining CH Financial as a client, I had been partially managing our investments and using a bank-owned broker for many years, with moderate success. When we became clients of CHF, I quickly realized how little I knew about the complexities of managing investments and the importance of seeking out the best specialists in the industry to assist with my family’s full financial picture.

Brian and the team at CHF encouraged us to take an introspective look at our assets and expenditures and even helped us implement a comprehensive budget. The team really stepped up to take care of all aspects of our financial picture, including portfolio design, CH Financial introduced us to a lawyer who took care of everything for us, estate planning and tax, while helping us simplify our financial affairs.

Being of the sandwich generation my wife and I spend considerable time caring for our surviving parents and our grandkids, so

freeing up valuable time is essential to allow us to do the things we love to do. The team at CHF takes care of the details and today my wife and I enjoy a comfortable, stress-free financial situation.

Over the years as a client of CHF, both our portfolio and wealth has grown exponentially, more than we could have ever imagined. Now that we are both happily retired, having the CHF team in our corner helps us to sleep better at night knowing that our somewhat complex financial puzzle is being looked after by a team of people that really care, as opposed to being treated like a number by a big bank.

I would have no hesitation in recommending the CHF team to others looking for a superior financial home in Calgary and a safe place to invest your hard-earned money.

Ian C, Calgary

Comfortably retired thanks to CH Financial