OT: Just Keep Your Feet Dry

The market has felt extra volatile lately right? I know my own portfolio has. One day it’s up 2%-5%, the next day it seems to fall right back down. I’ve watched my portfolio drop 30% in a matter of two weeks. It has since recovered most of that loss, but it’s admittedly tough to stomach.

It seems like the sentiment has abruptly changed and the tone about the market is now negative. Probably the worst time to invest right?

I don’t think so. I think if we have our basics covered, times like these are the best times to be buying stocks.

For my military job, we do a ton of training and have a lot of cool, high-tech gear. But guess what. If we don’t cover our basics and take care of the simple things like keeping our feet dry, staying hydrated, eating enough, etc, then none of that fancy stuff matters.

We will fail.

I think investing is the same way.

So here’s what I’m changing in the face of this crazy volatility.


I’m sticking to the basics:

  1. I don’t have any money I may need in the next 3-5 years invested.
  2. I’m adding money to my investment accounts monthly.
  3. I’m looking for the absolute best businesses I can find and becoming a part owner of them (with the intent of holding forever).

I’m not perfect (not even close) and I’m still learning. At times, I’ve given in and tried to get too smart, or trade around earnings, or whatever, and it bites me every time.

Some Perspective on the markets: This year really isn’t all that crazy.

Here’s a Tweet from Michael Batnick from Ritholtz Wealth Management:

The percent of days with 1% moves (NASDAQ-100).

2017: 10%
2018: 36%

2017 was the outlier.

The median for all calendar years from 1986-2017 is 36%.

Since 1986, with all that volatility over the years, the S&P500 is up 1,150%. Not a bad 31-year bull market (with the .com bubble, and one of the worst recessions of all time muddying things up to boot).

So what does all this mean for us?

Let’s just keep our feet dry. Make sure our basics are covered and just simply invest according to the cadence that works best for us.



Nice post. I fought forest fires in CA to put myself through college, and our first focus during a lengthy campaign was keeping our feet dry too. After the swings of the last two months, perhaps our mantra should rather be keep you pants dry!

One of the great things about Saul and the older investors on this board is perspective. I started investing during the summer of 87. I was recently married and starting work as a newly graduated chemical engineer. Going from eeking out an existence to the vast riches of entry level engineering made me feel as if I was on top of the world. I wouldn’t recommend starting investing in a state of euphoria. By October 19,1987 it sucked to be me. I believed I was an idiot, and I didn’t know anything about anything.

For those of you that believe the stock market only goes up, because you started investing during the golden age of
Quantitative Easing, clearly it doesn’t. On October 19, 1987, the S&P 500 dropped over 20%. How about the tech wreck of 2000? Took four or five years to pull through. The housing crisis? Well most of you know about that. If you invested in the S&P 500 index in 2000, you were about even in 2010. Have a gander at this chart


Which brings us to Saul’s returns, which have blown past the market’s returns. My returns, pre-Saul have been above the markets by about 10% a year, which is a testament to the benefits of individual stock picks.

Why did I bring up 1987? Because it is thought to be caused by programatic trading. I think programatic trading is largely responsible for the swings we are seeing. Steel yourselves. Stay the course. I think you will be glad you did.

This too shall pass.