So aim to build a war chest for a future market meltdown by accumulating cash. It's probably best not to overdo it, though, because the market may not crash for another few years, in which time all the cash you've amassed will not have been growing for you in stocks. You might just accumulate enough cash to establish meaningful positions in a few stocks. In general, it can be good to have no more than 10% of your overall net worth in cash for investments.
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The month began with more bad news. The Labor Department reported that the economy had lost a staggering 240,000 jobs in October. The AIG bailout grew to $150 billion. Treasury announced it was using part of the $700 billion bailouts to buy preferred stocks in the nations' banks. The Big Three automakers asked for a federal bailout. By November 20, 2008, the Dow had plummeted to 7,552.29, a new low. But the stock market crash of 2008 was not over yet.
The NASDAQ has surged by a similar percentage. In other words, the winds that brought Trump to the White House fueled some $5.0 trillion into Wall Street’s market capitalization. How much more energy can this already remarkable—and improbable—rally have? Chances are the rally will taper off. It could do this gradually or with a bang—that is, a crash.
It's true that higher interest rates preceded the housing collapse in 2006. But that's because of the many borrowers who had interest-only loans and adjustable-rate mortgages. Unlike a conventional loan, the interest rates rise along with the fed funds rate. Many also had introductory teaser rates that reset after three years. When the Federal Reserve raised rates at the same time they reset, borrowers found they could no longer afford the payments. Home prices fell at the same time, so these mortgage-holders couldn't make the payments or sell the house.
Indeed, Buffett's ability to tune out the noise and remain optimistic amid these downturns has played a vital role in his unrivaled performance over decades. Between 1965 and the end of 2017, Berkshire's market value has increased at an annualized rate of 20.9%, more than doubling the S&P 500's average annual growth of 9.9% during this same period. This 20.9% annualized growth rate for Berkshire's market value translates to a total return of 2,404,748%, obliterating the S&P 500's 15,508% gain during the same timeframe.
In 2014, Henry Blodget wrote that stocks were 40% overvalued and that he couldn’t find any data to suggest that the market would continue rising. Although he didn’t state that a crash was coming, he did tell us that stocks were likely to give “lousy returns” over the next ten years. He also concluded his article with some technical analysis from John Hussman, which cautioned that the S&P 500 could collapse after it reached 1,900.