Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Crash of 2017 - How many self glorifying books will be sold afterwards?


Prepare for the next crash!

I have been saying that this is ‘one of the longest bull markets in history’ now for so long that it is becoming annoying.  So why not lose all caution and dump all your money in stocks?
Look at the graph below which I captured from the Globe and Mail website. It shows the S&P500 since 1978 up to the 2017 crash. What crash?  The one that is probably coming soon in the U.S. and will drag us along with it even though in Canada we basically had a TSX bear market in 2016. 

S&P500 from 1977 until today  - from Globe Investor

I have to refer to a 2011 post on this blog titled Bull-and-bear-market-analysis.html  to let you see what I am talking about. Remember 2008-2009? Remember all the hand-wringing about how slow the markets would recover?  Much slower than any other recovery in history?  All the headlines about the coming crash which would be worse than anything we have ever seen before?  Well what does the chart tell you?  Right: Poppycock!   The next graph shows you the S&P with 10 and 50 week(?) moving averages.
S&P500 since 1977 with moving averages 
The maximum recorded percentage increase from bottom to peak recorded in the Bull and Bear market analysis post was 142%. Since the lows of 2009 we’re up close to 300%! If you listen to the pundits many don’t talk about a crash any longer and economic data in the U.S. show low unemployment rising wages and the Fed is talking about raising interest. The longer-term rates have been on the increase dramatically so the Fed runs a bit behind the facts. Remember Marty Zweig the legendary investor from Louis Rukeyser’s PBS‘ Wall Street Week’ in the 1980s?  He had the rule: Three subsequent rises in the Fed’s interest rate and a bear market is likely to follow.
I think we’re close to the peak in the U.S. You may say that is the U.S.  but Canada and Europe are not even close!  True but not entirely. Look below. Yes, you see? Europe underperformed both the U.S. and Canada. But these markets often follow similar patterns. Canada is also at an all-time high in spite of the commodity rout. Many Canadian financials are at very lofty prices as well. Example: the banks.  Guess what, in a U.S. crash Europe and Canada may not do as poorly as the U.S. but they will be dragged down as well. Certainly, short term.
 
Comparison of S&P, TSX60 (XIU) and Europe's IEV
What to do?
Look at the long-term chart and find back the infamous 1987 crash. What do you see? Virtually nothing. With a long enough a time horizon the crash meant nothing. But if you lived through October 1987 you probably woke up with a portfolio that overnight went down between 20 to 30%. What a great buying opportunity! Same for 2008-almost anything you bought between October 2008 and March 2009 went up by 300%. So long term the market returns 6 to 7% plus inflation annually. But you could spike those returns if you had cash to buy near the lows. Never forget that over the long term the impact on buying cheap is muted. So that is how you look at crashes and corrections -  they are buying opportunities. Suppose you only buy during lows and sell whenever the market peaks? Then you may miss out on many years of dividends and on reinvestment opportunities – cost-averaging would work well during such market stages. Probably you would have missed more profits than you can ever make up by buying only during lows and selling at peaks. It is, as they say, time in the markets that are an important contributor to profits as well. That is why you never sell ‘everything’ and since you never know which stock will do well and which one will do poorly you have to diversify.

We know a crash is coming – the higher the market the higher the risk as we always tell you! So, take profits in your U.S. portfolio and build up your cash.  Don’t buy a lot of new stock – not even in Europe. Wait for the crash and put your money in the most undervalued assets. Also, count on a big crash in overvalued Canadian Real Estate (I am talking Vancouver and Toronto). If the U.S. tanks oil prices will likely drop again (temporarily). But gold is a chaos hedge so consider it a currency and buy investments underlain by physical gold or buy bullion straight (on the rocks J); don’t buy investments underlain by gold derivatives . Silver may give you even more oompf! Gold and silver are forms of cash and hedge you against big falls in the U.S.  Same for the Canadian dollar. So, put 10% of your cash in Gold and/or silver maybe even up to 10% of your total stock and bond portfolio. During the crash, you will know when the bottom is near – your timing doesn’t have to be perfect – ‘Good enough’ is good enough. That is the time to use your cash to buy cheap. Always diversify there are nearly always assets that do better than others. Don’t panic because long term your stocks will do well and buying at the lows will only spike your returns over the short to intermediate term – there is no real reason that you would miss the opportunity so try not to be in a hurry when buying at the low. You can even wait a bit to confirm the start of a new uptrend but don’t get too fancy. Get ready for the Crash of 2017 (or whenever it may occur).  And... like with every crash before, I make the next prediction with confidence:  Many gurus will come out with self-glorifying books claiming they predicted the 2017 crash with confidence and accuracy. Don't believe a word. 

Sunday, January 1, 2017

2016 the year with a cup that is half full

If you believe the news media, 2016 was annulus horribulus or was it anus horribilis? You see, you don’t have to be Queen E to use such a phrase? But looking back on 2016 it was for me an excellent year and 2017 will hopefully be even better. This is what you may want to do as well: reviewing all the good stuff you achieved in 2016 and maybe review your life and realize that there is so much good to be grateful for

For me, 2016 started as a downer, but really an accelerated oil price down turn only led a to an excellent buying opportunity. And I learned, maybe a bit slowly, that in commodities you have to take profits. Commodities are NOT buy-and-hold,that is for banks and blue-chips. Look at ExonMobil during the oil price downturn!
From  the absolute peak in July 2014 until today it never fell much more than 25% and that while oil prices dropped from over $100 to $26! The stock has been in an uptrend from August 2015 up to now and will likely continue.  But XOM is the exception to the rule. Energy stocks tend to be very volatile. I had sold most of mine by 2015 and they represented a tiny portion of my portfolio 5-7% and that included the savings plan at my employer. So January 2016 was the bottom for oil and what followed was a great buying opportunity.
Gold came out of a multi-year bear market, especially when viewed in terms of US dollars. I bought between February to March but I forgot the lesson of taking profits (I am truly a slow learner). By June, I thought I was a genius and bought MORE. Well, that was not smart. I should have taken some profits, after-all, we’re in nearly the longest U.S. stock bull market in history and one should be prepared for a major downturn, i.e. another buying opportunity, not long from now. And I have done so most of the year but  not with commodities – so I gave a fair bit of my gold profits back in the 2nd half of 2016. Hmmm… so we have to wait a bit longer. Oh… patience… one of the most difficult virtues to  master.
The oil patch with it’s layoffs were grim… I wanted out my of employment which provided less and less fun.  I wanted to start, or better revive, my old consulting company Eucalyptus Consulting inc. Sorry we’re not public. In May there was the proper opportunity and together with some colleagues, Eucalyptus was re-opened. By September we had software, microscopes, computers and a renovated office in place.  The oil industry was grimmer than ever around us… there was truly blood in the streets of Calgary with so many companies teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Try to get work as a consultant in such an environment… you can stand on your head and still nothing will happen. So we started a regional evaluation of no other play than the Montney and since we have nearly every tool I can think of, we are making great progress. By the time the downturn is over, we are experts in the Montney, a play by some referred to as Alberta’s Eagleford. Personally, I think the play differs significantly and that is where Eucalyptus may have a competitive edge (Eucalyptusconsulting.ca).
Really, starting a company in a downturn is not that different than buying shares at the bottom of a bear market. One is private equity, the other is public. So that is how I see all this. Eucalyptus is just part of my investment portfolio. So we made great headway. Real Estate in Alberta is down but there seems to be a silver lining, those same investors that were part of the booming Toronto and Vancouver real estate boom, start to realize how cheap Calgary real estate is. Yes, rents are depressed but real estate prices, except for the upper price ranges are not down a lot. My portfolio is not just in residential but as shown in the blog sidebar, includes part ownership in a Canmore hotel operation. Canmore real estate was hard hit by 2008-2010 but now it is benefiting from the low dollar and stay-at-home tourism. Many locals take the sensational landscapes of Alberta for granted. Now, with Hawaii and even Mexico becoming so expensive, they discover what an awesome area we live in. So Canmore has had one of it’s best years in a decade. I also own real estate in retirement housing and there the waiting lists haven’t declined. The only set back is that the NDP government feels that they can cut back on healthcare and let others carry the costs. A bit counter-intuitive. So are their ideas of imposing rent controls – a sure fire way to promote ghettoes. Calgary has not known ghettoes like those in many other North American cities but now government policies may cause this nastiness to come to our town. It seems as if Notley really wants to try every socialist policy that has failed in Ontario. But overall the diversification helped to have an OK real estate year.
The stock market in Canada was the best in years. Curiously, it were the market index ETFs that performed best while active managed portions of the portfolio under performed. This was in part due to the relative high cash levels and the set back, as discussed earlier, in Gold. I think that Gold will recover especially because of inflationary policies by Boy-wonder in Ottawa and Trump in the U.S.
 I see oil recover just like natural gas has. A normal winter with below average gas production has done wonders.  OPEC finally realizes their blunder – starting the oil-price war -  combined with the poor economics of developing oil plays in the rest of the world, this is resulting in a re-balancing of the oil markets. I think $60 oil is a given for 2017 and $70 is possible. That would result in an Alberta energy industry that is finally developing a healthy pair of legs: Oil AND Gas.
I think 2016 was the year of new opportunities, both privately and investment wise. I hope that 2017 will be even better for all of us. What did we learn? We learned to see the cup as half full rather than half empty!

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

'Doing nothing' is so difficult to do

Doing nothing is one of the most difficult things for an investor to do. A portfolio is like a garden. You have taken out the weeds (as much as you can); you have seeded your garden for the hot summer that is hopefully to come and, really, how can you protect your garden from an occasional hail storm? Somethings are just beyond your control.
Your portfolio is as diversified or concentrated as you want it; you have eliminated the bad performers; by taken some losses from past mistakes (yes we all make those) you have built up a tax cushion for future capital gains. You bought value stocks to enjoy the next leg-up in the commodities market and your long-time holdings are balanced so no individual holding exceeds 5%.  Now it is waiting for the investment world to unfold – hopefully most beneficial to you. You have also cash just in case that once-in-a-life-time opportunity knocks on your door.  There are always other investment ideas coming past you but should you switch holdings just because you have nothing else to do?
No. It is the time between seeding and harvest. It is difficult to sit on your hands, clipping bond coupons and receiving dividends. What else can you do?  You may get second thoughts; things take longer than you hoped for. Sometimes just sitting there waiting for things to come your way seems make time crawl at a snail’s pace. Your fingers itch; you want to do something; after all you are a person of action and decisions, although carefully thought out, are usually easy for you to make. But… right now anything you do is not really adding any value, except waiting for the market to take off. What if? No, you are waiting for the harvest; changing things now is running the risk to make matters worse instead of better. This is the time where somethings gnaw in your belly; why are things not happening? Did you make a mistake after all?  Is there something you overlooked?
Doing nothing is oh so difficult but probably the best thing to do in many cases. Investing is not about perfection; things have only to be more often right than wrong. But… but… just let your seedlings grow and above all; cut your losses and let your profits run. If there are no losses; be a man and do NOTHING! Really, for many of us this is soooooo difficult but when things are in place, good is typically good enough. If it isn’t broke don’t fix it… that only costs money.
Once things happen they often happen fast and like a world champion you have already thought over all the scenarios and how to react if they come to be. Waiting for the ‘New Year’ is typically one of those times that you should only review your portfolio and do nothing. Just spend time with your family; relax and enjoy the holidays.  I know, you feel you should not relax, but that is why we have year-end: to do nothing and enjoy with your loved ones those last days of the year. Nobody else is working! Why should you?
Merry Christmas and a Prosperous 2017. 

Tuesday, December 13, 2016

2017 Here we go!

Bullish or Bearish doesn’t matter. This market turns on a dime or cheap rumor. We had a fabulous yearend-trumpish rally. Some say it will stop after Jan 20 – inauguration day; others say whatever… I can’t remember so much noise that is directed at investors these days. Don’t only turn off the TV but also your email! A lot is speculation about the impact of Trump politics but it may take a while before that is implemented. So, don’t get too excited. In fact, if you own Canadian banks it may be prudent to take profits… especially so if your portfolio allocation is a bit off after their enormous rally.
Next year will be another good year for energy… and I hope that Alberta Gov noise will dim a bit sooner rather than later. I was willing to give Nutley … really the spell checker lets me not write that differently… a chance but the more I hear the more I pray for a one-term government so that Albertans learn not to elect those people for another 40 years. And then we have that guy in Ottawa with pretty curls and apparently as corrupt as past liberals. Where is this country coming to?
But the good news is that oil and gas are coming back. So is inflation. Stay away from bonds, even short term bonds. Especially after tax they are just a liability. If you are afraid of the stock market just stay in cash. Yes, I am still bearish with the seven-year bull market getting tired. Yes Trump may bring in new optimism but we need increasing earnings not cheerleaders. The odds are good for Calgary and Alberta to turn around next year, provided She-in-Edmonton (see how deftly I avoid that nasty spellchecker?) does not too many crazy things. And starting 2018 it is only one more year before liberty knocks on the door – that is provided dogmatic PC-ers step aside and our right-of-center people get their act together. But then again, for some the Donald represents the political center… duuuh… yeah right J. Great pun? Bad?... No way!
Simplest rule is that the higher a market goes, the higher the risk. Hence take profits and focus on value for solid businesses and other good assets. I still feel that gold belongs in everyone’s portfolio but not more than 5%. It is insurance, just in case Hillary declares war on Putin … So who is really crazy? It is clear the people are tired of the intellectual and political elites. They are tired of political correctness and hopefully of the climate change religion. Really, Is there no other environmental concern than CO2 that we can put some common-sense dollars in?
So the government issues debt to finance its plans including infrastructure and the Central Bank is buying that debt so that there is an oversupply of pop-mom cash that  can’t find money yielding investments other than dividend paying stocks in a seven-year old and tired bull market - thus risking their retirement pennies while the government is spending it irresponsibly. Please, don’t fall for this racket instead build cash. I still recommend 20 – 30% cash plus 5% of gold.  (Really, I start to sound like Bill Bonner and his Deep State").
If oil is about to turn expect the Alberta real estate market to bottom over the coming 6 to 12 months. Maybe there is opportunity especially in non-residential stuff as Motley – ouch with a spellchecker like that who needs enemies? – is likely to implement rent controls. Anything that damaged the Ontario economy, She-in-Edmonton is likely to try in Alberta. So, guess what… if you renovate your rental properties now, there is a good chance that you will not make your money back. Slums are coming soon to a place in Alberta near you! Let’s turn Forest lawn into Vancouver East.
At least Boy Wonder has approved some pipelines. Give him some credit, but then he is probably counting on his ‘democratic’ activist buddies to defy the rules and commit violence against anyone with a shovel near a potential pipeline trajectory.  You see, then Justin can say – of course in Quebecois French: ‘Ich habe es nicht gewust’. Europe went through a stage like this in the 1980s and 1990s and see what happened there. I like Europe it is great for vacations… but living there… no way and now the same attitudes are washing over our beloved Canada… Proud and once free.
For 2017 be careful don’t get dragged along with the herd over the stock market cliff. Don’t sell everything but take profits along the way. Build your stash of cash. Also, use your TSFA to the max but only invest conservatively. You may be amazed as to how market indexes performed versus active investing over the last decade. Just be patient and wait for the stock market to be cheap again before investing in proven assets at rock bottom prices.
There is something to be said for ‘buy and hold’ if you can, with some confidence, predict earnings five to ten years out. That is the Warren Buffett way. But then there are commodities which are much more treacherous. Sell once you make your profit and only buy when those commodity producers are dirt… dirt cheap. Commodities are trading-stocks that go up and down. If you keep holding on, your profits may evaporate and you end up at the same price as you purchased them for or… worse
Well there is my advice for 2017 maybe a bit jaded and cynical… but right now it is ‘better safe than sorry’.

By the way, if you didn’t like what the spell checker did with Rachel’s last name, try Trump or trumpish. I’ll give you a hint: Frump or frumpish.

Sunday, November 13, 2016

You’re bearish… but there is no euphoric stock market!

Have you heard about the investor who has been short selling for the last 5 years or longer and losing his shirt? He may be right (in the end) but the market can keep on going up longer than he (or you) has money left.
But still we’re now quickly approaching another bull market anniversary – eight years since the lows of 2009? Eh… 2010, 2011, 2012, … We never had such a long-lasting bull market!  Even if you start counting from 2011 - the depth of the European debt crisis - we still have a market that gets quite old and tired.  Wow that is some business cycle and like we have said earlier investor sentiment is not exactly bullish or euphoric, so why be concerned?
Yes, stock market investors are not exactly bullish but you don’t have to go far looking for extreme market bubbles!  Yeah, the bond market! These days, in Germany and Switzerland, the bank pays you for borrowing its money (negative mortgage rates). Can you believe it?  So people pay you to borrow money! That means that money, I am talking Cash here, is a liability if you believe the banks and central banks!  No wonder, people buy real estate with money they get paid to borrow and drive up prices in the large cities of the world such as London, New York and here at home in Vancouver and Toronto!  If that is not a distorted market, then what is?  Central banks have been supporting the bull market in all kinds of assets with this low interest or better this negative interest rate policy.  They are printing money from thin air; buying bonds and forcing retirees to put their money in riskier and riskier investments so that aforementioned retirees may still earn an income.
This is a market extreme; an enormous market bubble! And don’t tell me that nobody is seeing this coming?  A lot of people hope that the central banks will keep on lowering interest rates at every whiff of slowing economic growth and stock market weakness. But it has become like pushing on a rubber string with the tool becoming less effective. And if the central banks are no longer printing money out of thin air who is going to lend money at negative rates to companies that are already over-leveraged.  Still, market volatility indexes like the Vix are near all-time lows, i.e. nobody believes that anything can go wrong. Now there is your euphoria!  If nobody believes in a market crash as indicated by the Vix, likely the opposite is to happen!
As explained in the previous post, you may consider yourself an INVESTOR but even for good assets the returns may be falling during a new credit crisis or recession! For several years now, we have promoted to build up your cash. Now we’re saying start protecting yourself even more actively. We have seen credit defaults in the U.S. on the rise. Defaults of triple BBB rated debt (called investment grade) has increased from typically 1 to now 5%. This is the type of debt banks and insurance companies tend to invest in and you know that in-spite of their improved balance sheets the leverage is still many times their own equity.  Having loans default at 5% may trigger higher defaults as happened in the past. Some analysts consider a 5% loan failure rate as the trigger for the start of the default phase of a credit cycle. If the bond market collapses, interest rates will go up if not sky-rocket and guess what THAT will do to the stock market?  Dividend paying stocks, anyone?

Rising interest rates due to a stronger economy is good but if interest rates rise because of increased credit risk that is another story entirely. So, prepare yourself for tougher times ahead. We’re on the edge of a new boom because of the millennium demographics but we may first have to clean-up the mess of a severe phase of credit defaults in the credit cycle.

Apparently, I am SPECULATING that we are close to a recession and/or market crash which makes me more cautious and I am assuming that my investments will throw off less earnings than previously anticipated. That in turn, especially in an environment of rising interest rates may drive stock prices significantly lower.

What is investing? And Hmmm???

Investing is buying an asset that creates a return – often in the form of a dividend and appreciation.  You know how much the asset earns per year and what portion is paid out as a dividend. If you bought an asset on the hope that its products increase in value over the coming years and the asset becomes profitable or more profitable then you are speculating. Today you buy for a price but you hope that tomorrow something happens that makes the asset more valuable. If nothing happens you don’t earn anything or other speculators may drive the price down until your asset is worthless.
We want to be investors. We know that company A has a good product and a great brand name. If the economy grows at 2% per year, the company will produce even more profit (aha... a bit of speculation). Based on the company’s equity or book value it will have a ‘return on equity’.  Suppose Company A has a book value of $40 dollars per share and it earns an 8% return on equity then its annual earnings are $3.20.  If it pays from that $1.00 dividend and the rest is reinvested in the company, then next year it will have a book value of $42.20.  If the shares of Company A on average trade at a price equal to 1.2x book value, then it’s average share price for the first year would be $48.00 (1.2x$40). The following year it would trade at 1.2 x $42.20 or $50.60. Thus, its average share price appreciated by $2.60 and it paid $1 dividend. Next year it will earn 8% again and if its proportion of the profits paid out as dividends (payout ratio) hasn’t changed next year’s dividend will be increased to 1.08.
This is a very profitable company or asset. After 16 years, the company will have paid its shareholders $30.32 in dividends or nearly 77% of its original book value. It also will have appreciated from an average stock price of $48 to $95.17 – that is close to a double. This is obviously a great company but… how much did you make investing in it? Well… that depends on what you paid for the company shares duuuuh!  Therefore, it pays to be patient and buy a company for the right price!
There are many ways to valuate a company. One way, as done above is book value. You know the markets are more emotional than anything else in this world. Yes, the average value of a Bank may be 1.2 time book value but during the year, its share price may swing from 1.4 to 1.0 x. So you could have bought for $56 or $40. If you bought at $ 40 or at $56 you made the same amount of dividends - $30.32 over 16 years.  If you paid $40 your average annual return would be $30.32/$40 divided by 16 years or 4.7% ; if you bought for $56 then your investment yielded 30.32/56 divided by 16 or 3.4%.  But it gets worse. In terms of capital gains plus dividends, you would have made 69.49 on a $56 purchase and $85.49 on a $40 purchase price. So, $40 invested would have been worth $40 plus $85.40= $125.49 in other words your money tripled and if you bought at $56 you did just a bit more than double.  In terms of compound interest, we’re talking: 5.2% per year versus 7.4% which over 16 years makes the difference between a double and a triple.
Everyone complains on about the low economic growth rate and the low rates of return on stocks.  When you compare today’s 5 to 6% stock market returns with the 10 to 12% of the 1990’s you might feel depressed: “This way I will never become a millionaire”.  Jeremy Siegel’s research indicate that stocks return typically 6% plus inflation.  These days we’re having nearly no inflation while in the 90% we’d have inflation of 5 to 6%.  Returns these days are not so bad maybe after all when talking in real prices or purchasing power.  But wait, there is more! The government want’s its share too – taxes. In the 90’s top income earners paid often nearly 50% taxes and today even in Notley’s Alberta we’re paying about 40%.  Let’s do this again:  in the 1990s we made 12% on stocks, but after taxes only half was left or 6% and inflation was 6% your real return was…. 0%.  Today, we’re paying 40% TAX or we’re keeping 60% of our 6% return which is: a return of 3.6% and after 0% inflation our real return is,,,, gosh… really? 3.6%!!!!

Inflation is right around the corner again. Budget deficits and tax increases are about to make a comeback. The Millenniums are also starting any moment now new families, i.e. loading up on debt along with governments. Isn’t that what we have wanted so badly since 2008?  Hmmm!

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Contrarian investing in yourself


Did you know that studies such as ‘The Millionaire Next Door’ found that most millionaires are not from old money but are self-made small business owners?  These millionaires invested in their own companies first and after a decade or two they owned a million dollar plus business and then some.  Investing in stocks is a tough game and your competing with big institutions that use the most sophisticated computer applications and employ often the brightest in the financial business.  So are you ever going to win BIG?  The average investor’s results are dismal – even a lot less than average market return!
So, outperforming the market is a pretty tough thing to do and, to make matters worse, many invest in market index ETFs.  But what when the going gets tough do then the tough really get going?  If those ‘though’ are the pundits and active investment managers then you may be disappointed when you find out that they are the bulk of the market crowd and that they DO PANIC and ‘Sell, sell, sell’.  Even worse when you own a market index ETF – everybody tends to panic during a crash and so they redeem their ETFs which basically means they selling the whole index regardless of price thus creating a self-propelling death-spiral. The ETFs are redeemed by the ETF manager through the selling of shares – they typically don’t have any cash reserves and thus when investors ‘redeem’ their ETF the market likely goes into free-fall.  Basically, you ETF buy-and-hold owner will feel the full, and probably the exaggerated, value destruction in the market.  You likely never outperform the market but during a crisis you’ll be at the center of the storm without even a shred of protection. So in uncertain times, consider holding less ETFs and more cash.
It is during such down turns that you may also lose your job and are forced to become an entrepreneur – during the worst of times but also, as many contrarian investors will tell you, the best of times to put your cash to work. This is why I, during this oil price down-turn started up my geological consulting company. It is a bit upsetting my stomach; but then wouldn’t this be the time that the Warren Buffetts of this world start putting their cash to work?  Now you may bet your money on some public company that is ‘cheap’ during the downturn – but do you have really have that little confidence in your own skills that you don’t dare to invest in yourself? Whom better to invest in than yourself?  Who has your best interest at heart, some CEO with a multi-million-dollar compensation and who doesn’t know you from a hole in the ground or you, the owner of your own start-up venture? 

Starting your business during a downturn makes sense. You can buy assets and ‘hire’ staff at bargain basement prices. You have time to position your new venture for the good times which are surely to come. But never forget that it may take longer than you expect for the full recovery to become reality. Just make sure the funds are there to survive. You may not feel comfortable in such a contrarian position but this is the time when you set yourself up for truly big gains. Just keep your head cool (which is easier said than done). Invest in yourself; “Choose yourself” as James Altucher writes and be prepared to become the next Millionaire-Next-Door.