The stock market in the USA has been on a bull run for five years now, and market watchers are wondering when it will end, and how badly.
There was an illuminating article published last week on CNNMoney, titled, “Bull market winding down. Don’t panic” that outlined the four stages of a bull market.
According to this article, we’re currently in the “exuberance,” stage. How long it will continue is anyone’s guess.
Remembering Alan Greenspan’s remark about “Irrational Exuberance,” preceding the devastating dot-com crash of 2000, the word “exuberance,” can create sensations of cramping discomfort, fear and panic in the mind of a market investor who suffered that crash.
I remember the crash of 2007. What stocks I owned plummeted along with everyone else’s. They were down 40% in a blink of an eye. I’m typically quite calm about such things, but after watching the hemorrhaging I called my investment advisor one day in bit of a panic and wondered out loud if I should sell everything and bail out. He reminded me that I had not invested on emotion, on expectation of short term gain or on a whim. We had intelligently looked at the options, invested for the long term, made wise choices, and had bought into sound companies that survive the tough times. He was correct, and I didn’t change a single investment. I let go of my fear and trusted that all was well. Over time, every investment recovered handsomely, and went to new highs, and I was grateful I heeded his advice.
What I’ve learned is that exuberance and fear can be opposite sides to the same coin. If our investment decisions are based on either, we’re setting ourselves up for a fall. They are blind states of reason that lead to poor decisions based on short term expectations that may or may not work out, and irrational speculation that is not grounded in sound financial principles.
So, if you’re wondering about investing in the stock market, be sure your motivation is sound and not simply being carried away by the “exuberance” of the moment. Through the parable of the talents Jesus rebuked the unwise investor who buried his unused talent in the ground and praised the investors who made profitable use of their talents. So, there is a spiritual imperative to make wise use of the resources trusted to our care. But there is also a spiritual imperative to never be influenced by greed or lust.
I cherish these words of Mary Baker Eddy to members of her church, from the Church Manual,
“God’s Requirement. God requires wisdom, economy, and brotherly love to characterize all the proceedings of the members of The Mother Church, The First Church of Christ, Scientist” (Man. 77:18).