Happy Anniversary!

You forgot? This is the one year anniversary of the market lows of March 2009. The greatest bear market of most of our lifetimes, and hopefully it’ll stay that way.

From October of 2007 to March of 2009, the “stock market” lost almost 60% and some investors lost a lot more.

Do you remember March 9th of 2009? I might; it wasn’t a good day. It pretty much looked like we were done for. Doom and gloom. Heading all the way down to zero. Time to learn how to grow crops and barter.

The next morning, the sun came out and the market went up. And it kind of kept on going up. Up and up for 60-70% gains over the last year. Who’d have guessed?

So What?

Who cares about some statistical nonsense? One year doesn’t mean anything, and we may not be out of the woods yet.

While short term market behavior may be irrelevant, human behavior is always relevant. Think back to that day one year ago. How did you feel and what were you thinking that day? What were you doing about it?

For most people, doing anything that day was a mistake. The old saying “don’t just stand there, do something!” should have been “don’t just do something, stand there!”

However, many were scrambling to stop the bleeding. Some did it a few months before March of 2009, but they didn’t fare much better (when did they get back into the market – if ever?). Investors often lag behind their investments.

The anniversary is not important as a celebration of market gains, but as a reminder of who we were one year ago. It’s a chance to do a postmortem on our thoughts and feelings – and the actions they spurred – during that difficult time.

Of course it was scary. Don’t let anybody tell you otherwise.

Still… So What?

So most people (I don’t exclude myself) did and thought wacky things one year ago today. Not “wacky” in a bad way, but in an unhelpful way. Look at what you did and why (be honest now), and learn something.

Were you actually doing helpful things and controlling what you can control, or were you just distracting yourself from the pain and possibly making things worse?

Maybe there’s nothing for you to learn. If so, then Happy Happy Anniversary.