Does Holding for 3-5 Years Make Sense?

Does the advice to hold for 3-5 years --all the while sustaining horrific losses-- make sense, or it merely a way to hide problems caused by lack of a credible investing strategy in the hopes that the Fed/Treasury cartel will continue to prop up asset prices long enough for a stock buyer to get back to even?

Obviously, that could be debated and decided if TMF could publish a multi-decades track record of successful, real-time, real-money money trades, instead of just a hypothetical track record based on an average of lucky guesses that get endlessly repeated while losers are oh so conveniently buried. But don’t take my word for it. Read what reviewers --and former subscribers-- say about TMF, of which the following is just a snippet.

“If you take the 30-day trial review and cancel, Motley Fool will unleash their spam and phishing excellence on you.”

“Motley Fool in my opinion is full of speculative advice. I have yet to see any advice with real substance behind it.”

“I subscribed to Motley Fool in the Fall of 2021 and purchased 10 different stocks based on their monthly recommendations. Virtually every stock lost a minimum of 40% and some upwards of 60%. I am cancelling my subscription and avoiding their recommendations at all costs.”

My advice to one and all? Buy a copy of Ben Graham’s intro to value investing, The Intelligent Investor, and work your way through it, pencil in hand, making notes. His advice --if followed-- will prevent you from suffering the long waiting periods and horrific losses that our dear forum hosts seem to think are acceptable.

The “bottom line” is this. In the old days, when TMF was published on AOL, discussions on investing were free ranging and helpful. These days, most boards have become just another marketing tool. As someone who has been posting in these forums --under a variety of handles-- a lot longer than this board’s current monitor, I’d like to turn things around, so that investing beginners are helped, not just encouraged to spend money on “newsletters” they shouldn’t try to afford, not when their local library has shelves of investing classics, all free for the borrowing.

In '84, my liquid net-worth was $4k, and everything I owned fit in a VW. These days, liquid net-worth --i.e. excluding a very over-valued, primary residence-- is $1.2 million, and every penny of that was gained, one trade at a time, following Ben Graham’s advice, not from following the “advice” offered in “newsletters”. That’s not an exemplary track record, but it is a decent enough one that I can be skeptical of the demonstrably bad advice of Buy-and-Hold, especially when it is so easy to prove that the strategy fails, especially when applied across multi market cycles. You’ve gotta get in when prices are low and and get out prices are high. Timing matters, as does ‘value’. Meanwhile, taxes and inflation have to be subtracted from gains, and the net benchmarked against a suitable measure of ‘risk’, for which the Sharpe Ratio is commonly used, but the Sortino Ratio is the better measure.

Some, of course, might disagree. But then, that’s something we could talk about, which is supposed to be the reason these forums exist.