Should you try to time the market? No! Why? Because it is very hard to do well over the long term and it introduces significant transaction costs to the equation. Beginner investors have trouble staying the course in market downturns but I've noticed that what I call intermediate investors, people who have learned a thing or two about investing, become fearful at market highs and want to sell when the market is at new highs. What they don't realize is that the market is usually at new highs because it is usually going up. You are much better off setting a static asset allocation of a reasonable mix of stocks, bonds and or real estate and rebalancing back to it each year. That way you hold your risk constant, and when the inevitable downturn comes, because it's going to come, you can simply rebalance back to your percentages. That forces you to sell high and buy low because you're selling what did well in the recent past and buying what did poorly in the recent past to get back to your plan percentages, your planned asset allocation. If you look back at market history, you will see that on average, we see a market correction, a drop of 10% or more in the stock market about once a year. So if you're investing career is 60 years, 30 years while you're working, 30 years in retirement, you're going to see about 60 10% drops in the market. So this is not something that's unusual or something that's rare. This is something you should be planning for.
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