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5 Ways To Thrive In A Stock Market Crash (When Others Are Panicking)

Market crashes can be terrifying. At times, it may seem like it’s the end of the world and there’s no recovering from it. Scary media headlines only compound matters.

These 5 ways will help you to thrive while others are panicking.

1) Know What You Own, and Own What You Know

Have an investment thesis. This should be the number ONE thing you do BEFORE investing into any company.

An investment thesis should include:

  • Your reason for buying the company

  • What can go wrong?

  • Valuation

If you have not done proper research before buying, it is likely that you will end up panicking when the share price falls. Do yourself a favour by putting in the time and effort.

Having a solid investment thesis prevents you from selling perfectly good long-term investments during a market downturn.

2) Portfolio Rebalancing

A market crash is a good time to review and rebalance our investment portfolio. It is a good test of how well you understand your investments. Selling some stocks and buying into others which present better opportunities.

With a bulletproof portfolio, you’re likely to handle market crashes better.

An example of how to structure a bulletproof portfolio:

1) 15% cash - this includes liquid cash and money in the bank to cover living expenses and emergencies

2) 15% broad-based market index ETF- this can be a broad market index fund like S&P500 ETF (SPY) or Vanguard Total Stock Market ETF (VTI).

3) 30% blue chip stocks e.g. AAPL

Some criteria to look out for:

- Market cap- 50 billion and above.

- Profits and earnings for 3 consecutive years

- Assets > Liabilities

- Good management

4) 40% high growth disruptive and innovative companies e.g. TSLA, SQ

3) Have Spare Investible Cash On Hand

I'm sure many of you have heard of the term “Cash is trash”. But without cash, you will not be able to capitalise on market crashes to buy on dips. By cash, I mean investible cash (this does not include emergency funds).

Morgan Housel, author of “The Psychology of Money” came up with a plan on how to invest your spare cash.

It works the same whether you have $1,000, $10,000, $100,000, or $1,000,000. Just adjust the figures accordingly.

While there're no hard and fast rules on how much investible cash to hold, a good rule of thumb would be minimally 10 to 15%. This allows you ample ammunition to deploy your funds when the market opportunity presents itself.

4) Embrace Boring Old Index Funds

Index funds are arguably the most boring invention since sliced bread. You see people talking about that sexy growth stock. But you rarely see anyone get excited talking about investing in an index fund.

The trick is to buy an ETF that tracks the entire stock market. Sure, there are sector ETFs like technology, cybersecurity that might sound more sexy. But you won't go wrong with one that tracks the whole stock market. S&P500 ETF (SPY) and Vanguard Total Stock Market Fund (VTI) are 2 of my favourites.

This is a GUARANTEED to make money over the long run. By long run, I mean decades, not 1 month or even 1 year.

Why does this work? Due to a phenomenon that has existed since the beginning of mankind- Inflation.

Inflation causes prices of goods to increase. Companies selling those goods raise their prices, which results in greater profits. As companies generate more profits, the share prices of these companies rise in tandem. This is a cycle that repeats itself time and again (unless the company in question goes bust).

Which brings us back to why index funds work because you are buying into hundreds of companies, and not just 1 company. Even if 1 company, or even 10 companies in the index go belly up, you can still sleep well at night knowing that the others are fine.

5) Deep Breathing

This is somewhat unconventional and I’m no science expert, but deep breathing is one way to calm your nerves. During market crashes, it is easy to panic and start becoming fearful. Practising deep breathing can calm our nerves and help us navigate through the market volatility.

Breathing is the easiest and most instrumental part of the autonomic nervous system to control and navigate. The way you breathe strongly affects the chemical and physiological activities in your body.

Invented by a guy named Wim Hof, the Wim Hof Method is a breathing technique that is premised on inhaling deeply and exhaling without any use of force. Throughout the years, Wim Hof has developed special breathing exertions that keep his body in optimal condition and in complete control even in the most extreme conditions.

If you want to give it a try, check out the guided breathing exercise here!

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