If you haven’t heard of the technical indicator with the stock market symbol VIX it is now time to pay some attention to it. When the number is running low, as it is now, around 15 to 18 it means everyone is happy and thinks the stock market is going to continue up or at least continue on its current path and there is no need to sell anything. This is a measure of complacency. When the number goes above 35 it means everyone is very nervous and thinks the market is going to fall. It is considered a contrarian indicator.
1. a Stop Loss Order
In almost every profession or athletic event there is some kind of safety net available and this is true in the stock market for all investors. There is never any reason for investments to fall to the point the investor is hurt. Is there a net that breaks that fall and keeps the investor from losing all or part of his money? Yes there is.
It is called a Stop Loss Order. People don’t like them and never recommend them because it means he must watch your account and the average broker has too many customers to do that. However, you can instruct him to place an Open Stop Loss Order that means it is automatically in every day protecting your shares from loss. If you are not allowed to place this kind of order you should move your account to another brokerage house. They obviously don’t care about protecting your money.
There are literally thousands of stocks that have lost 80% and 90% of their value. For those poor people (pun intended) who did not have a safety net they are badly hurt and some are just about dead. Sorry, folks, it did not have to happen.
2.the stock market symbol VIX
The average investor buys with a greed motive when the VIX is low and sells only after fear sets in when the number is high because he is afraid of further loss. These are emotional moments and the market is an emotional animal. The truly smart investor has a planned exit strategy before he buys anything; he knows when to sell even before he buys.
Notice that the higher and smoother the movement of the market the more complacent the investors become. The investor becomes overconfident that his stocks will always go up. It is a truism that investors buy with only thoughts of how much they will make and never consider that it is possible to lose. When I was a broker and a member of the exchange I would only keep customers who would place stop-loss orders as soon as they bought something. I always stressed protection of capital.
When you are a serious and reasoning investor you must always think about loss first. If what you buy goes up you don’t have to worry. Winning takes care of itself. Losses don’t.