A wise man once said, "Lethargy, bordering on sloth, should remain the cornerstone of an investment style."
That man was none other than Warren Buffett, an investor who has done fairly well for himself in equity markets. Those words are especially apt in this economy, which has caused many intelligent people to deviate from their personal styles -- styles they may have used for decades.
The economic situation has caused pundits and prognosticators from D.C. to Timbuktu to rant and rave to the point where you’d almost be justified in thinking that the stock market is in fact controlled by Satan himself, and that the apocalypse is near. But have faith, dear investor, that this is not the case; what has caused you to succeed in the past will once again lead toward profitability in the future.
So as the storm continues to rage over the issue of whether the tried-and-true practice of buying and holding is "dead," you should heed the advice of the man whose net worth is roughly $37 billion (which is approximately $37 billion more than mine). What’s more, Buffett and I are not the only people in this crazed economy who believe buying and holding is still very much alive; just take a look at these comments from fellow Fools.
Bernbern0 shared his experience as a "long term buy and holder," and offers a perfect example of why you shouldn’t panic but instead hold onto your preferred method of investing:
(NYSE:IBM)was going down the tubes many years ago, I bravely and slowly bought 600 shares for a cost of $39,000. A couple of months ago I finally gave in and sold my complete position when IBM was around $94, for about $234,000, because I was beginning to think this buy and hold stuff is no longer good. Guess what? IBM reached a high of about $108 recently. Am I sorry I sold? No. But buy and hold does work if you have patience, and of course, the right investment.
User Daveandrae also believes in a buy-and-hold strategy -- as long as it's combined with patience and a thorough understanding of the company involved:
(NYSE:MCD)has been a wonderful buy and hold investment for me since I began purchasing it at 13, in 2003. … [Philip] Fisher was preaching Dow Chemical (NYSE:DOW)as a long term investment way back in 1956, and it took 53 YEARS before that company cut its dividend. Thus, there are certain companies that do stand out, as outstanding long-range investments. Of course, these companies are dwarfed by the many thousands of mediocre stocks listed each year on the NYSE. It seems to me that the key to success, with regard to buy and hold, is knowing the difference.
Buying and holding isn't simply an arbitrary process (a common misinterpretation), and LngTrmVw (an appropriate name for this discussion) made that clear:
Buy and hold is short for: Do research…BUY when you feel the price is appropriate for that company and its future prospects in the current economy, continue to follow that company and continue to research the economy, the industry, and the company to verify it is still a worthy investment, and HOLD, as long as your research indicates it is a worthy investment, and sell when you believe the company is no longer a worthy investment.
Many Fool community members also commented on the fact that anything other than a buy-and-hold method can in fact destroy wealth, as it can lead to rushed decision-making and high transaction costs. As ScottieWP09 said:
Stocks remain the best way to build long-term wealth and will continue to be so in the future. Invest for the long term, at least 1 year out, to minimize short-term capital gains, and above all minimize your costs (brokerage, adviser, expense ratios, transaction)…Be an investor, not a trader. The first generates wealth for you, the other for your broker.
Finally, goalie37 echoes the sentiment of Mr. Buffett and the alliance of buyers-and-holders the world over (myself included):
Is Buy and Hold dead? I would argue that this market is exactly what Buy and Hold was intended for. Many of the world's most profitable, dominant corporations are available at dream prices! The caveat is that you can not forget about these stocks -- you must follow them closely for the duration of the time they are in your portfolio. The idea of abandoning a proven thesis at the exact wrong moment is the herd mentality that Fools seek to exploit. When people panic, I want to be the guy they sell to.
Sure, over the past 30 years, for every Johnson & Johnson
But with due diligence and, most importantly, a plethora of patience, buying and holding can be a key to success in the market. Disagree with me and the comments above? Leave your own Foolish opinion in the comments section below, and let the debate continue!
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