We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
I refuse to get involved in any financial market be it equities, bonds, annuities, etc,. I learned my lesson right before 9/11 when I invested in a nicely spread portfolio with all levels of risk and it was diversified exactly how it was supposed to be diversified.
It went nowhere for nine years - flat as a pancake with minor, and I do mean very minor, profit taking. However the broker made some change from it as did the mutual fund I was also in and the ETF. Always it was "it's turning around - it's right around the corner - just hang on - we're going to adjust your portfolio to take advantage of...."
Then I happened to be watching CNBC in the morning and they had Abbey Joseph Cohen on and she was touting how this was working and that was a safe bet, etc. That afternoon, I was watching the end of market show and Cohen was on and said the exact opposite - less that eight hours passed between the two statements.
I sold everything two days before 9/11 making a grand total of $500 for four years on a seven figure investment fund. I know people who still haven't recovered from the 9/11 downturn and those that did, were killed in various "flash crashes" and economic down turns what seem to always benefit brokers, traders and big time money men (not to mention making Goldman Sachs richer by leaps and bounds) leaving the small time "investor" sucking wind.
No sir - my money is in cash, gold and silver coins, gems and various other hard currencies. I'm fact, dumb and happy making minimal money because when it all goes downhill, I'll still have something to show for my life long efforts.
I just liquidated an old IRA, from a very good equity fund that has had its ups and downs over the years, but up lately. Best just keep cash balance to buy at the next big drop, or something. Other IRAs etc are still mostly equities and some bond index, where else can it go if you don't want everything in cash? No easy choices here. Like Tom Francis there were a bunch of years with no net return, until the Benster turned on the spigots. Fake gains, but gains for now
The stock market (and most everything else you might invest in) is cyclical. Not always or even usually predicably cyclical but in it's own way it cycles through highs and lows and even booms and busts. If you have the bad luck to invest in the market during it's boom cycle then it is likely that your investment will take a dive sooner or later. The best advice is to diversify and dollar cost average over a couple of years or more. Plan ahead so that if you are going to need to take out money from your investment that you are not forced to do it during a bear market. You cannot predict the market and neither can your advisor or broker. If you cannot stand the risk then you don't belong in the stock market. The best advice is: When everone else is buying and the market looks strong; sell. When everyone is bailing out and the news is bad; buy.
i'm holding what i was holding when LEH went over the cliff. I quit buyinhg and selling for the most part, at about 70% stocks and 30% cash --not knowing what to do, i chose nothing, and i'm more or less right where i was in total dollar value now as then, half a decade ago. I could say "i'm supporting the system by staying in it" but truth is, i'm just thunderstruck and dumbfounded at the scale of the scam --and frozen to the ground where i stand.
Stocks, bonds, Mutuals, etc. - they're overpriced, heavily leveraged, and ticking timebombs.
Also, with all the digital trading (odd how 40k transactions can be done in 1/20th of a second - the average investor has no power equal to that...) is gasoline on the trading floor. One wrong keystroke, and this house of cards comes down.
Probably good advice --precious metals certainly for yesterday's money --but too many people took that advice, and now they're rolling over in a correction of unknown duration and severity.
Gold is funny --emotions shift like lightening, depending on of course the usual variables. One minute it's the ONLY investment, and the next minute, it's just something thqt needs guarding, that people will kill you for, that you can't eat it, that you can't hide, really (if a barbarian, acting on info he bought from whoever sold you the gold, gets the drop on you, and he will unless you're in a fortress, you'll have to dig it up or open the safe and hand it over or he shoots the family).