Weasley Panic

Well, the stock market dropped 3% Thursday and Friday, and sure enough, S&P500 futures were trading down over the weekend. The market opened lower this morning, and immediately dropped. All the panic orders placed over the weekend. In short order, the major U.S. stock indices were down more than 5%. The Dow Jones Industrial Average had dropped over 1000 points from Friday’s closing price.

Now, as I write, not so much. The DJIA has regained over 850 points, and is down less than 1% from Friday’s close.

I am now in my 50′s. I hope I can retire early — perhaps at 60. Yet still, I am fully invested in the stock market, and that is where my 401(k) contributions go. I do not buy and sell on hype or panic. I just buy. (I will admit that my portfolio is in desperate need of re-balancing, but that’s another topic.)

The fact is that, long term, stock prices driven by only two forcing functions: inflation and profit. But even ten years from retirement, I’m still investing long-term, because I plan to live long-term! That means stocks.

And market volatility, rather than being a Bad Thing, is actually a Good Thing for those of us in the “accumulation” phase. With a 401(k), one is dollar-cost-averaging into the market, so higher volatility around the long-term forcing functions increases long-term profits.

Just one more example of how those whose actions are driven by facts and logic make money from people whose actions are driven by their emotions.