Today could be the scariest time in years to start investing. Let me count the ways:
- The Chicago Board Options Exchange Volatility Index -- aka the "fear index" -- sat above 50 yesterday. That was an all-time high.
- The recently passed bailout package has yet to show its merit, and the world's central banks can't seem to agree on how to respond to the crisis.
- At one point yesterday, the Dow Jones Industrial Average was down 800 points before rebounding. All 30 Dow stocks lost value, led lower by Bank of America (NYSE: BAC ) , Alcoa (NYSE: AA ) , and General Motors (NYSE: GM ) .
Despite all of these terrifying market events, Fool co-founder David Gardner has charged Motley Fool Pro advisor Jeff Fischer and our team of analysts with managing $1 million of the Fool's money -- starting today.
No, really -- lucky us. Our team is excited to start investing in this turbulent market, because we have the ability to take long and short positions using everything from equities to exchange-traded funds to options. We also see some strong values in the market, but we will be adding money to them slowly.
As I mentioned in a podcast with our friends at Fool UK yesterday, investors would also be wise to keep adding money to this market, but at the same time, they shouldn't panic-buy and invest it all at once.
After all, the market could continue to trend lower over the next year or so, and you don't want to be left holding the bag. It's also important to remember that the bailout will not prevent the recessionary trend we've been experiencing -- it was designed to keep credit markets liquid, not to turn the stock market around right away.
With this in mind, we at Motley Fool Pro will methodically add money to the market over the next one to two years, by making 2% to 4% investments at a time. We have no intention of calling a market bottom, but we do want to start building positions in great companies trading at great prices today. Looking back at our buys a few years from now, we'll be happy we made those investments.
You can do the same
If you have a percentage of your paycheck going into a 401(k) or 403(b) or an automatic investment plan for your IRA, continue to make those investments and be sure you're properly diversified. At the very least, you'll want to have some equity exposure to domestic titans such as Johnson & Johnson (NYSE: JNJ ) and IBM (NYSE: IBM ) , as well as foreign leaders such as BP (NYSE: BP ) and BHP Billiton (NYSE: BHP ) .
In market panics like this one, it helps to remember the words of Warren Buffett: "Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful." These are very fearful times we're experiencing, so don't be afraid to be just a little greedy.
If you'd like to learn more about the strategies we're implementing at Motley Fool Pro starting today, simply enter your email address in the box below.