Is It Safer To Take Your Money Out Of The Stock Market Or Continue Investing For Now?

Major Points

  • After declining, stock market valuations are now returning to a more typical level.
  • Selling now locks in losses, but the market may not continue to decline.
  • It is always a good idea to keep your portfolio allocation in line with your goals and how much risk you are willing to take.
    Is It Safer To Take Your Money Out Of The Stock Market Or Continue Investing For Now?

In a bad market, most investors ought to refrain from selling.

Bear markets are critical junctures that can fundamentally alter the success of long-term investments. It goes without saying that a market meltdown can quickly undo years of diligent saving and wise investing.

However, leaving the stock market now could prevent you from receiving significant profits when it eventually rebounds. Before you can decide which path is safest, there are a few things to take into account.

The state of the stock market

According to the majority of individuals, the market is currently in a bear market. The S&P 500 has fallen 20% this year, while the NASDAQ has fallen 30%. These kinds of declines are sometimes associated with companies whose prices have fallen precipitously, but that isn't exactly the case at the moment.

The recent decline has just brought stock prices back to levels that are consistent with historical norms since they were close to all-time highs in 2021. The S&P 500's average dividend yield has yet to return to its pre-pandemic levels.

The S&P 500's future PE ratio, however, recently dropped below 18. The pre-pandemic level, which was itself reached at the conclusion of one of the best decades for the stock market ever, is just a little below that.

These criteria are undoubtedly influenced by the emergence of high-growth, low-dividend tech stocks within major stock indices, but that doesn't fully explain the situation. Even so, we can draw the conclusion that stocks aren't exceptionally inexpensive overall. Simply put, they are no longer outrageously expensive.

Individual conditions

The setting is crucial. We can't generalize about the market being costly or inexpensive right now. Even if we can make reasonable forecasts about the market's future when values are neither exceptionally high nor exceptionally low, doing so is challenging.

This means that your unique situation has a significant impact on the safety of stock investing. The optimum course of action depends on a number of factors, including risk tolerance, time horizon for investments, and financial objectives. Short-term risk is something that investors who have low risk tolerance and short time horizons need to be considerably more cautious about. Investors who can handle a lot of risk and have a long time horizon need to think carefully about the long-term opportunity costs if they decide not to invest.

You should generally avoid selling stocks right now.

But for the vast majority of investors, now is a terrible time to sell. It's easy to feel the pain of the most recent market meltdown, but withdrawing money now would be a reaction that would be too late.

Humans are prone to a common error that can seriously impede the examination of investments. When we observe current trends, we often presume that they will continue. In truth, the capital markets' environment has radically transformed. Some of the factors that contributed to the beginning of the 2022 stock market meltdown are now far less powerful.

Market tremors were caused by the Fed's potential to raise interest rates. Investors noticed prospects for higher yields and developed concerns about a slowdown in the economy. The market actually increased following the Fed's impulsive boost in June, showing that Wall Street accurately reflected the Fed's very radical adjustments to its monetary policies. Expectations and reality are now more in line. Falling stock prices also took the steam out of the sell-off. As the celebration comes to an end, a sizable number of growth investors who had flocked into tech stocks over the previous two years have subsequently closed those holdings. Simply said, there is less room for the negative.

That is a lengthy way of stating that just because the market has had a difficult six months, it isn't obligated to keep declining. Pulling money out of the market at this time would just lock in those losses. This is not to suggest that the market won't decline further; quite the contrary, in fact. The world's supply chains are still recuperating from the COVID-19 disruption; a recession appears to be just around the corner; and consumers are still suffering the pain of rising inflation. Today, it's hard to see what could cause prices to go up, and it's possible that corporate earnings for the next few quarters will be below average.

When you should think about leaving the market

Only individuals who have too much exposure to stocks should really consider selling. Retirement-bound individuals should have a well-balanced portfolio that includes both equities and bonds. The same is true for investors who have a personal aversion to risk or who have relatively short-term cash needs. Limiting your volatility may be a good idea if your investment allocation is out of line with your unique situation, even if it means locking in some of your most recent losses.

In this extreme scenario, it's still not a good idea to give up on stocks entirely. Long after retirement, stocks can still play a part in most portfolios; they simply need to be appropriately balanced.


 Social Security Benefits Aren't Taxed in 38 States.