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Delirium and Self-Control: Riding the Bear Market

by Mona Lazar 3 months ago in history
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Do you like to lose?

Delirium and Self-Control: Riding the Bear Market
Photo by boris krupnik on Unsplash

A bear market is a place where all hope is lost and delirium is your new reality.

Imagine losing all your savings. Followed by a future where you can’t produce any extra money. You are either too ill or too old or the world has collapsed onto itself and that’s it: no income, no hope, no future.

Welcome to the bear market.

Grab onto something, this is going to be a bumpy ride.

According to Investopedia,

A bear market is when a market experiences prolonged price declines. It typically describes a condition in which securities prices fall 20% or more from recent highs amid widespread pessimism and negative investor sentiment. Bear markets are often associated with declines in an overall market or index like the S&P 500, but individual securities or commodities can also be considered to be in a bear market if they experience a decline of 20% or more over a sustained period of time — typically two months or more. Bear markets also may accompany general economic downturns such as a recession.

In the spring of 2021 I sold a house and by winter bought a condo with most of the money.

I invested the rest in the stock market.

It’s not something that I manage myself. I put the surplus into a bank’s investment fund which has been steadily increasing until it reached 40% in the past 3 years.

What a sure deal, right?

I put the money in on January 1st.

For the best part of the first month, I didn’t even look at the account, knowing that the fund has constantly increased for the past 3 years.

What was the point in looking? It was fine, I was so breezy about it.

Just like those easy-going and relaxed characters in a horror movie. The ones that aren’t scared in the least and are the ones that get killed first.

One day, as I was paying my bills, I decided to take a look, out of curiosity, nothing more. You know, that curiosity that killed the cat.

My actual thought was to see how much it had gone up in the course of almost one month.

I had just come home from the hospital, having had major surgery. I wanted to give myself a jolt of positivity and feel better after surgery.

And jolt it was!

The moment I opened the home banking app my heart dropped and I could literally feel my resected organ pulsate.

The market had dropped by 10 percent. And so did my hopes and dreams.

I clenched my jaw and took a deep breath.

And did what I always do — research!

Google: ‘What to do when the stock market drops.’

All the answers were the same: ‘Wait it out.’, ‘Don’t sell.’, ‘Push through the uncertainty’, ‘If you sell you lose’.

I clenched my jaw again. I could feel my teeth pressing against each other and my breath tripping against the back of my throat.

I had invested two-thirds of my money. Two-thirds of my life.

What if I lose? Everything. All I have — what if I lose all my money?

Against the delirium of my thoughts, I had the support of the articles.

I read at least 10 of them and they were all saying the exact same thing: Wait. It. Out.

They said that the market never goes down 100%.

Even the bear market before the great depression went down ‘only’ 80%.

80%! My mind was racing.

But I decided to do as they say.

After that day I started watching the market religiously. Every day, with my heart pounding in my chest.

It was unBEARable.

Or was it?

As I was busy going from nausea to cold sweats to demonic butterflies in my stomach, I had a chance to analyze my feelings and I noticed something very strange.

When the market goes up, it’s a win. It’s a short moment of exhilaration followed by some days of calm. You get a chance to relax.

But when it goes down, it’s a loss. Your heart sinks and you go into stress mode. Your body springs into action. You start pacing around the room. Your brain becomes alive with the infinite possibilities of what you could do to make some extra money. Survival mode: on!

And you know what I realized?

I liked it better when it was going down!

Mind-boggling shock and horror!

What’s going on, did I actually like losing?

It was weird and scary so I decided to analyze it further.

This was the time when I lost my job and I got covid. They were simultaneous. I got covid and had to stay home for 2 weeks because my fever wouldn’t go down. This was a time when covid was already old news and people were only home for about 3 days because of it. As a result, I lost my job.

January through March was possibly the toughest months of my life.

Surgery, covid, relentless fever, lost job, zero income, bear market, depression.

I was afraid. I was an ill and alone woman in my 40s who had just lost her job.

I was spending my days in bed, crying.

The stock market kept going down. Lower and lower and lower… and at one point… I got angry.

Constantly losing, and constantly seeing those numbers go down made me very angry and determined. And it answered my question.

The answer is NO. I didn’t like losing. If you like losing you are actually searching for it and trying to make it happen. You take unnecessary risks just for the feeling of it. You live your life in the light (or shadow) of adrenaline.

What I liked was the thrill. And the power that it gave me. The ideas, the planning, the life that fear infused into me.

I dug my heels and made a decision: I’m going down with this ship!

They say ‘wait it out’? I will wait it out.

I will not check the stocks even if it kills me.

I was determined and I kept my word.

Now I’m only checking stocks once a month at best. I rarely even think about it.

In the meantime, the market went down 28%.

I read a few more articles and nobody said it clearly but I expect it to go down another 25–30%.

And you know what I’m going to do about it?

Nothing!

I’m going to wait it out.

And in this time I’m going to build resilience, patience, and laugh in the face of adversity. Sometimes I might muster nothing more but a crooked smile, but crooked smiles are part of the bear market.

Inconclusion, what do you do when the bears are out and your money is in? Let them have it. If you move, you lose.

Are you a beginner investor? Be patient. Wait it out.

Are you a seasoned investor in need of reassurance? Be patient. Wait it out.

This is the time for apparent inaction. Work on your inner strength. Meditate. Go jogging. Pet your cat. Spend time with your family. Find alternative income. Whatever you do, don’t think about the market.

Don’t take my word for it. Take history’s word. History is never wrong. But it is cyclical. And bear markets will inevitably turn into bull markets.

history

About the author

Mona Lazar

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  • Helen Stuart3 months ago

    I don't know anything about the Market but I hope for your prosperity and good health. You are a great writer.

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