So if you were one of the ‘smart’, but unfortunate, investors that pulled out in December of 2008 as things were collapsing in the financial markets you have missed a roughly 300% move to the upside. Wow. Ten years later and you would be still waiting for ‘the big one’ to hit and markets to fall. I know a few folks that have followed this path and for the most part their spirits are not what you would call sunny. Now, unfortunately for many folks, we are at the other end of the spectrum as individual investors begin to pile into stocks as, with every passing day, risk becomes a faded memory. These folks too will be sorely disappointed as the late money will be the biggest losers. As sure as the Ferris wheel at the state fair stops spinning when the fair leaves town this market will correct, and, the longer it defies gravity, unfortunately the larger the fall will be. Investors with the 300% gains will not like it, but take it in stride as they know they are living on borrowed time. The newbies to the markets, the ones without the 300% cushion to fall back on, will become jaded to this game and maybe not return until the top of the next bull run. This puts advisers between a rock and a hard place as they continue to advise investors to keep investing, knowing full well what may lie ahead for them. But Wall Street doesn’t function month-to-month on ‘what may happen’ down the road. Listen to the commentary on the financial news shows today and there is no end in sight for stocks as it is ‘different this time’ from the way markets worked in 2000 or 2008. The economy is strong, earnings are stronger and the bull will run a lot longer. Today’s headline in the Wall Street Journal sends a signal to investors to jump right in as if the water is fine. JP Morgan offers free trades! That’s right, open an account at JP Morgan and get 100 free trades a year. They say this is a way to entice the millennial generation to get started investing (and then fleece them later on with high fee banking products). Oh, and Fidelity now offers zero cost indexing too! Talk about a couple of screaming sell signals! Just as legalized sports gaming is now legal in this great land of ours you can trade 100 times a year at no cost on the days the Patriots don’t look to cover! Nice lessons we are teaching are newbie investors. Good luck kids. And good luck to JP Morgan and all the others racing to zero. Once the proverbial wheel stops and trading dries up, zero doesn’t look too appealing any longer.

By Joseph Harowski

Published January 30, 2019

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