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Friday, June 26, 2009

Market Timing That Actually Works

Many people look for ways to time their entry back into the market. Even though their timing was lousy on the way out, they are still convinced that they can time their way back in!

Why did so many folks lose retirement funds in their IRA's and 401k's? Because they are still holding fast to the old buy-an-hold strategy.

In watching CNBC this morning I saw an example of the very thing I have been preaching about for years now. Mark Haines and Erin Burnett anchor their show "Squawk on the Street", from the New York Stock Exchange. They are always asking investors and corporate executives if it is safe to go back into the market yet. This morning Erin said something like, "With all these professionals trading and going in and out of the market, how does a regular person like me time their entry into ETFs or stocks? Does the buy and hold strategy even work anymore?"

The answers to her questions are not important here. Her statement reveals a LOT, and is what we have been telling folks for years. The Professionals are "Trading" their money. They don't buy and hold, so why should you?

During the meltdown, they were shorting the market and riding it down. During the rally they were riding it back up. The same thing we were doing as index traders. Yes, there is market timing involved, but not in the sense of "is it safe to get back in yet". That is a foolish game in our opinion. The short daily swings in the market are MUCH easier to predict than the overall long term direction. Even while folks are waiting during a several day rally for the right market timing to get back in, traders are riding it up or down many times on the smaller moves.

Sure, there are many things you could trade, and they all involve timing to some extent or another. In fact, the index trading that we do is all about timing. The big difference is that we are NOT looking for some magic moment to get back in the market and hope it keeps up trending for years to come. We will take whatever the market throws at us. That is market timing that really works. If it changes we can quickly get out and go the other way if we choose to.

You can do the same thing with your IRA, 401k, or other retirement account if you want (we like the Roth, so that all of your trading income can be Tax-Free). Don't wait for the magic moment to get back in, and get your account growing! Pick up some trading skills, and use the type of market timing that really works!

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