I had to make my 401(k) contribution today and I can tell you the pickings were slim. Virtually every single common stock fund, small cap, mid caps, foreign, domestic, value growth, were awful.
We’ve been greeted with a ton of articles about how beleaguered and anti-stocks the public has become.The tone of the articles is simple: When you see that level of disgust, you want to buy. In fact, I haven’t seen any articles that say when you see that kind of disgust you can’t blame them and maybe they are right.
I have had a very conservative style of retirement fund, basically keeping it in short-term bonds and intermediates for many years because I have always had too much equity exposure. I have always regretted it, always, as it has left me out of the game for so long.
I now look at the chaos out there and I am very glad that I had the diversification. Now I am faced with this year’s contribution and you know what? I’m keeping it conservative. I have much exposure to stocks and I feel like I am double-dipping. I am putting only one-fifth of the money into stocks, and there I am going into worldwide equities because I that’s the best and most diversified that I can find. The remaining four-fifths I’m dividing equally between short- and intermediate-term treasuries.
I cannot blame people for feeling disgust toward the stock market. I am not a big bull on stocks by any means for 2009. I am going to give only my 14 year old the full equity exposure that mutual funds offer.
I share the repugnance of the public. More important, I do not regard it as a contrary play. Sometimes the trend is right . I think the sentiment is right and I am going with it.