Thinking of Moving Back Into Stocks? Be Careful

At the beginning of the year, The New York Times profiled several investors. Their stories were similar.

As a result of the market plunge in 2008, Cindy and Eric Canup had to put off their dream of “buying land in Northern California or Oregon.” Joe Mancini had to put off his retirement. Robert Paynter, a retired Wachovia executive, said the past year made him feel as if he were witnessing his own death.

Recently, The Times went back to find out how these folks are feeling now. The answer: “A whole lot better” about things.

That’s typical. When market values were scraping bottom, they were afraid to invest. Now, after a 55 percent run-up, they are ready to roll.

They all want to recoup their losses. And how did they say they would they do that? By taking more risk.

But, as Bob Irish has pointed out in Investor’s Daily Edge, that is likely to get them deeper in the hole. Especially, he says, after such a strong rally.

There is a place for intelligent speculation. But if you need to rebuild your portfolio, fight the urge to add more risk.

Instead, you should take a more conservative approach — one that makes sense in today’s market. Steve McDonald recommends select corporate bonds. Andrew Gordon likes high-quality, well-managed, and diversified companies that pay you cold hard cash in the form of dividends.

Pick your time frame — short-term, medium-term, or long-term. It doesn’t matter. These are your safest investments. And over the long run, they have also proven to be the most profitable, by far.

Investing aggressively in stocks now is nothing more than gambling. And gambling with your retirement portfolio is just plain dumb.

[Ed. Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.]