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Eternal sunshine (05/26/2004)
By Al Thomas


     
There is a current movie entitled "Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind". It is about a man who has had a painful love affair and will do anything to rid his mind of those pain thoughts of a former love. He sees an advertisement that offers just such a service. It seems his former lover has the exact thoughts and she goes through the same treatment. Guess what? They meet again, do not recognize each other, and fall in love again.

Does any of this sound familiar?

May I gently remind you of what happened to your stock portfolio in 2000 to 2003? Please. Don't shoot the messenger. You fell in love with the stocks or mutual funds in your 401K and became wildly emotional about all the money your were making and how you thought about buying one of those islands in the Bahamas for early retirement. Then came the road crunching detour and you are left with a broken down portfolio by the side of the road.

Along came a shiny red tow truck and a mechanic who said he could fix everything. Slowly you began to forget the previous gut-wrenching journey and your car is now running (not as well as it used to) and seems to be getting better as this mechanic from Maul Street is working on it.

Hey, I think I'm in love again.

If you cannot remember what happened in the past you will those same errors in the future. Every great statesman has been a student of history. Every great investor has studied the history of the stock market to try to determine what the future will bring. Cycles continue to repeat and repeat because people forget the past. Those who are smart enough do not fall into the repetitive trap and instead take advantage of it.

One of the most predictable is the long cycle of the stock market. It usually runs about 16 to 18 years. There is the up cycle which is invariably followed by a down cycle of equal length. Within each long cycle are several short cycles of 6 month to 2 years with a resumption of the downward move until the cycle is completed.

Do you realize we just completed an 18 year up cycle in 2000? Now the market is completing a one year advance within that cycle and may be getting ready to head down again. How is your spotless mind doing? Have you forgotten your lesson from 2000? Are you willing to make that same mistake again?

If you choose to forget you are doomed to repeat your losses. This time use your whole mind to learn from a past mistake so you will not see your money disappear - again.

Copyright 2004 Albert W. Thomas All rights reserved. Author of "if It Doesn't Go Up, Don't Buy It!" www.mutualfundmagic.com comments to al@mutualfundmagic.com 

 

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