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Surviving a Bear Attack: What to Do During a Bear Market

Nov. 1, 2014

Here’s the best tip for surviving a bear attack: play dead. It will be good practice for when you’re actually dead a few seconds later.

OK, maybe we aren’t talking about this kind of bear attack, but seriously…get some mace!
We mean the kind of attack that happens when the stock market is down. The important thing when it comes to anything bear-related…do not panic.

So, what is a bear market?
A bear market is simply a period in time in which stock market prices are falling. Simple as that. A bear market is a time when most investors panic and run for dear lives like the cunning wolf above.
But bear markets aren’t for panicking. In fact, there is a lot of opportunity in bear markets. As the famous investor Peter Lynch once said,
You get recessions, you have stock market declines. If you don’t understand that’s going to happen, then you’re not ready, you won’t do well in the markets.
So, if you’re unsure of what is a bull vs. bear market, this article will help clear up the difference. Are we currently in a bear market? Maybe, maybe not—but we’re certainly not in a bull market.
I know many of you are logging into Betterment and freaking out, even if just a little. And, I’ll include myself in that list. My first foray into investing and the number is negative.
But we’re all in the same boat so don’t panic, this isn’t the Titanic. The ship will right itself. But not overnight.
This is why we preach buy and hold. Even if that number is down, it’s still better than having that money sitting in a savings account collecting zero interest. And remember, investing is only one piece of your overall financial picture.
You can’t single-handedly cure Ebola or defeat ISIS. Unless, of course, you’re John Rambo.

Those biceps can conquer anything!
What you can do is focus on the other areas of your spending. Throw a little extra money at your debt, tighten up your spending leaks, take on a side hustle.
If you just have to do something, then buy now! Remember, be greedy when others are fearful.
If you are just overwhelmed by it all, ignore it. Tune it out, don’t watch the news, don’t read the financial section of the paper. Just turn a deaf ear and let it happen.
Still not convinced? Okay, if you act of out fear or irrational optimism, you are handing over your money to the investment banks and sophisticated investors. This is when the professionals make mad bank.
Don’t give those greedy jerks any more of your money!
Similarly, selling has tax implications and the government shouldn’t be getting any more of your money either.
So the takeaway is, do anything constructive. Go for a run, read a book, refinance your student loan. But leave that investment account alone!
Bull vs bear market
First, what is a bear market and how does it work? At its core, a bear market is fueled by pessimism. While there tends to be some kind of economic event, such as falling securities prices, to kick off bear market conditions, the issue is perpetuated by a pessimistic outlook from investors.
Because of this pessimism, selling increases and there is a lower rate of investment in the market overall.
A bear market is not a technical definition as much as it is an neither hosts nor alters podcast files. All content © its respective owners.