Concerned About Timing the Market?

Buy low. Sell high.” While this age-old investment advice may seem simple, it can be extremely precarious due to its emphasis on market timing. During a bull market, investors following this advice may be reluctant to invest and too eager to sell.

During a bear market, investors may be reluctant to sell and too eager to buy. Other investors waiting for the right to time to act may simply stay on the sidelines while missing out on valuable opportunities. No matter how you look at it, timing the market is not an effective strategy for most long-term investors. During market volatility, you may feel nervous about your finances. This nervousness can lead to knee-jerk reactions. You may even be tempted to try and time the market to minimize your losses or manufacture gains. History tells us succumbing to this temptation would be a mistake. According to Stifel’s Investment Strategy team, a $100 investment in the S&P 500 on May 31, 2002, would have been worth about $510 on June 30, 2022. However, if you missed the S&P 500’s 30 best trading days during this timeframe, your return would be close to 0%.

A dollar-cost averaging strategy can help you avoid costly mistakes during periods of market volatility. Dollar-cost averaging is a systematic and disciplined investment strategy that is designed to reduce the impact of market fluctuations. This strategy requires you to invest a specific dollar amount on a regular basis. The price of the desired holdings will determine how many shares you are able to buy. This disciplined approach to investing will discourage emotional decisions, dissuade attempts to time the market, and help you continue to confidently pursue your financial goals.

History has consistently proven that time in the market is more important than timing the market. Creating and maintaining a comprehensive financial plan can help you maintain focus on your long-term goals while ignoring the static caused by daily market fluctuations. Though it may not always seem like it, investing in the stock market has historically proven to be an effective way to pursue your financial goals.


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