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The Risks of Market Timing

Attempting to pinpoint market highs and lows may result in lower returns for investors.

“Market timing” is the strategy of trying to predict when stock prices will rise and fall and attempting to buy low and sell high. While this seems to make sense in theory, it’s extremely difficult to pull off successfully. Trying to time the market may mean missing out on potential gains.

Typically, you can’t accurately pinpoint a market high or low point until after it has occurred. If you move your money out of stocks during a low period, you might not move your money back in time. By the time you realize stocks are on an upswing, it may be too late to take advantage of gains.

Instead of trying to time the market, you may be better off with a well-coordinated investment strategy that is based on your personal risk tolerance and time frame. While past performance is no guarantee of future results, the stock market has always recovered from every downturn. Keep in mind that rebounds can sometimes occur quite rapidly.

Remembering Rebounds

It’s never clear exactly when the market will recover from a downturn. Investors who move out of stocks at a low point may miss out on
a future recovery. Take a look at these historical examples of market rebounds.

S&P 500 Average Annual Total Return
Year of loss: 1990-3.10%
Following year rebound: 199130.50%
Year of loss: 2002-22.10%
Following year rebound: 200328.70%
Year of loss: 2008-37%
Following year rebound: 200925.50%