The Wrong Lesson Learned From The Financial Crisis

It’s been nearly five years since the financial crisis of 2008 hit, and MarketWatch’s Chuck Jaffe says investors have learned some lessons from the crisis — the wrong lessons.

The primary ‘lesson’ many seem to have taken from the crisis, Jaffe says, is that stocks are too dangerous and should be avoided. “They didn’t invest in 2009 because the sting from ’08 was so fresh and they saw no quick turnaround,” Jaffe says. “In 2010, the fallout from the financial crisis was creating a debt emergency in the EuroZone, while 2011 saw concerns that the Federal Reserve was inflating a bond bubble at a time when world markets were suffering. In 2012, investors worried about problems that had surfaced in China’s market and the looming fiscal cliff in America. This year, it was ‘Look at how much the market ran without me; you know a correction is coming, and it will happen the minute I am back in.'” Through it all, stocks have surged.

History, Jaffe notes, is filled with examples of reasons why not to invest in stocks — yet over the long term the market has overcome obstacle after obstacle and risen like no other investment vehicle. Having discipline and focusing on the long term is key, Jaffe says. As Donald MacGregor of MacGregor-Bates Inc., a firm that researches judgment and decision-making, tells him, “The discipline that is required is cold cognition and careful reasoning. Doing nothing is simply running a risk, rather than consciously taking risks based on due diligence and good quality judgment.”

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