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Jan. 29, 2022, 8:48 a.m. EST

Are you prepared for a crash? Here’s how to protect your investments.

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By Al Emid

This article is reprinted by permission from  .

One of my favorite folk tales centers around a landowner hiring a farm hand. In their first meeting, the applicant explained his qualifications by saying “I can sleep through a storm.” A week later, a violent storm tore through the area and the farmer tried vainly to wake up the farm hand. The next day, the farmer found that the shutters had been fastened, tools had been securely stored, the wheat had been bound and wrapped, the barn had been locked and the animals were calm with plenty of food. Suddenly, the farmer understood the young man’s words:  “I can sleep through a storm.”

He had prepared ahead of time and could sleep peacefully during the tempest. Sleeping well is the second goal of investing and becomes easier with the right preparations. (The first goal is not to lose money and the third goal is to make money.)

By taking the right precautions now, you can sleep soundly when the stock market drops precipitously and stays there for a while, something that’s bound to happen sometime.

“The proverbial Wile E. Coyote moment lays ahead,” says James Athey, investment director at Aberdeen Standard Investments in London, referring to the speedy roadrunner who looks down to see that he has run off a cliff, realizes he no longer has ground beneath him and plummets.

What’s behind fears of a stock market correction

Stock market volatility, caused by a range of factors including worries about inflation, interest rates and supply chain problems, amplify fears of a coming market correction (that’s a drop in stock prices of more than 10% but less than 20%) or even a crash (a sudden and precipitous drop).

See: Risk of ‘hard’ stock-market valuation correction is growing, says Deutsche Bank — here’s why

The markets (and by extension investors) suffered a gut-wrenching day on Wednesday, Dec. 1, when the Dow Jones Industrial Average /zigman2/quotes/210598065/realtime DJIA +0.55% dropped by 652 points or 1.9%. The S&P 500 /zigman2/quotes/210599714/realtime SPX +0.88% closed down 1.2%, its worst one-day drop since mid-May. Stocks fell again sharply in mid-December. But the S&P 500’s total return for 2021 was impressive — roughly 25%.

Preparing for a correction starts with understanding the inevitability of small-sized corrections and lesser likelihood of a major correction, says Alex Klingelhoeffer, a financial adviser at Oklahoma City-based Exencial Wealth Advisors.

A correction is always around the corner,” he notes. “Typically, we have a garden-variety correction once every 18 months.” Deeper corrections happen less frequently.

“What keeps folks up at night is the big one. Major corrections of more than 20% have happened seven times in the last 100 years,” Klingelhoeffer says. They were in 1929 , 1937, 1939, 1946, 1973, 2000 and 2007.

See : This veteran analyst hears echoes of the 1929 crash in today’s stock market

The best defense for investors

Diversification is the best defense. That means having enough cash and bonds in your portfolio to cover all foreseeable expenses for five years. That means trading off the low income generated by those assets against having to sell off stocks eroded by a correction.

The current 1.21% interest rate on, say, five-year Treasury bills “is a terrible rate,” Klingelhoeffer says, but “if the market corrects and you have a 30% drop, your bills are not going to drop.”

See : Your portfolio is not as diversified as you think, unless you are utilizing this powerful strategy

US : Dow Jones Global
+170.89 +0.55%
Volume: 24.57M
May 20, 2022 9:34a
+34.21 +0.88%
Volume: 113.90M
May 20, 2022 9:34a
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