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The Bulls and the Bears: How today's market environment is an opportunity to get back to the basics

The Bulls and the Bears: How today's market environment is an opportunity to get back to the basics

July 13, 2022

If you've watched 30 seconds of financial media in the last few months, there is a good chance you've heard the phrase "bear market" or "bull market." A young sports fan might think the news anchor on their television is referring to a sports franchise in Chicago but here's what they mean and what it could mean for you. 

  • Bear Market: When securities prices fall 20% or more from their recent highs.
  • Bull Market: When prices are rising, typically over a longer period of time. According to Investopedia, "the commonly accepted definition is when stock prices rise by 20% after two declines of 20% each.”

So, where have we been and where are we now?

I'm in the 10th year of my financial services business where I've worked with clients in a variety of industries. So, for me, it's natural to look back in a 10-year increment even though in the history of the stock market, 10 years is more like 10 months in the grand scheme of things. 

In the last 10 years, we've had what many would say is one of the biggest bull markets ever seen. According to historical data reported by Yahoo Finance, a U.S. Large stock index, such as the S&P 500, experienced a 10-year annualized return of 13.14% and a U.S. Small stock index, such as the Russell 2000, experienced a 10-year annualized return of 10.13% during the last decade (Yahoo Finance, 2022).

The common investment industry phrase of "past performance is not indicative of future results" rings true today. 2022 has been a different story compared to the last 10 years, with U.S. large and small stocks down more than 20% YTD as I write this, officially putting us in a Bear market. 

So, what does that mean for you?  

In crazy times like we're in now, I'm especially proud of the work that we do for our clients because our philosophy shines through "when the chips are down." Here is what we believe and how it applies today.

Protection First: In a bull market, it's easy to mainly focus on your returns and the money you're making but when the economy is tight, it's a good reminder to protect what you're working so hard to build.  These conversations will especially come in handy during the next bull market we inevitably find ourselves in and this time, you'll have the confidence that what you're building is in a better position to be insulated from catastrophic loss.

  • When was the last time you reviewed your insurance coverages?
  • You might have been a parent for a while now, is it time to finally get a will, trust or estate plan in place with your attorney?

World Class Savings: At our firm we define world class savings rates as 15% or more of gross income. When we say savings, we mean across all "buckets" whether its retirement, taxable investment accounts, your business, whatever as long as it’s for your future self because as a mentor of mine once said, "Your future self is real and 100% reliant on who you are today." If you're not saving enough for your future, rate of return is only going to take you so far. You must be putting enough away for it to matter.  

  • Are you saving enough for your future? Where are you saving? 
  • Do you have a good balance across your assets? Or do you mainly save to just one account, like a 401k?

Disciplined Investing: Our rules of thumb are simple and yet have stood the test of time.

Own Equities or Stocks, use fixed income to help manage risk and volatility.

Diversify. "Don't put all your eggs in one basket."


Behave, this is the hardest part and, in my opinion, one of the biggest value adds a financial professional can bring to the table. 

  • Are you diversified? Or chasing what's been hot? Are you allocated across the globe or mainly just large U.S. companies?
  • Are you considering selling? Even if your situation hasn't changed.

This bear market, like the others that have come before it, won't last forever. If we look historically, a bear market may last on average for roughly one year. It’s important to make a plan, stick to it the best you can and maintain flexibility so that you can adjust and adapt as life throws you the curveballs that will routinely come your way. 

Financial professionals will generally tell you to "stay the course" or "never sell into a down market" but that can sometimes feel like jargon if not considering your individual situation in mind. If you are considering selling, I find it's helpful to review these questions that you may have asked yourself when you began investing in the first place:

  • What is my time horizon as an investor? Am I retiring next month or not likely for another decade or two?
  • What is the purpose of these assets? Am I saving to make a big purchase in the next few months or are these assets for my future?

If you have any questions about the market and how it might impact your balance sheet or your family, please reach out to me.

Thank you for taking the time to read this, I hope you and your family have a great summer.


Data and rates used were indicative of market conditions as of the date shown. Opinions, estimates, forecasts, and statements of financial market trends are based on current market conditions and are subject to change without notice. References to specific securities, asset classes and financial markets are for illustrative purposes only and do not constitute a solicitation, offer, or recommendation to purchase or sell a security. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Links to external sites are provided for your convenience in locating related information and services. Guardian, its subsidiaries, agents, and employees expressly disclaim any responsibility for and do not maintain, control, recommend, or endorse third-party sites, organizations, products, or services and make no representation as to the completeness, suitability, or quality thereof.

Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS). OSJ: 900 Ashwood Parkway, Suite 400, Atlanta, GA 30338 (770)-390-2600. Securities products and advisory services offered through PAS, member FINRA, SIPC. Financial Representative of The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America® (Guardian), New York, NY. Park Avenue Securities is a wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Ashford Advisors is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. Ashford Advisors is not registered in any state or with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission as a Registered Investment Advisor. CA Insurance License #0L38754 AR Insurance License #AR#:16751360.  2022-140133 exp 06/2024