Normally I'm a very hands-off investor. I go for long periods without paying much attention while my various holdings drift up and down in value-- hopefully, mostly up! But in the last year or so, I've been putting more cash into the market, and paying a bit more attention. This is largely because I've had more cash to invest-- my own savings and the proceeds from selling my condo, and more recently, my mother's trusts.
I continue to mostly invest in a mix mutual funds, some just index funds and some with other mixes of assets-- nothing really sector-specialized, just some bond funds and others that are supposed to maximize dividend income. Then I have a few stocks that I've bought a few shares of here and there.
The last couple of days have been one of those times where I can't really sit by and ignore what's going on. I've been checking the S&P 500 multiple times throughout the day. As mentioned in the posts about my mom, I now have to worry that she'll think I'm mis-managing her money if the markets go down, and they've gone down a LOT in the past few days! I can handle seeing my own net worth plunge by $60,000 or more in the space of a few days, but that's nothing compared to dealing with my mother! :)
For my own investments, I'm trying to be strategic and cool-headed, so as Monday's big plunge was happening, I moved $25,000 into my E*Trade account so I'd be ready to act if it seemed like I could take advantage of buying low. At the end of the day, I thought things were down enough that it made sense to do some bargain-hunting, so I invested all the $25k. Tuesday morning, the markets opened higher and I was feeling like a genius! But as the day progressed on Tuesday, I began to wish that I'd waited another day as the markets ended up closing down even further. Oh well! Maybe not so genius after all...
I still try to keep an eye on the long term. I didn't sell off anything after the 2008 crash and my investments mostly recovered. I've had some things do very well in the last few years. But it's a bit depressing to see those gains wiped out again, and I do wonder what's in store for the next few years. A lot of people are saying stocks are generally over-valued, and I'm pretty exposed to that through a lot of my mutual funds. But interestingly, my individual stock picks don't seem particularly over-valued, at least not after Tuesday's close. I have shares in Ford, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Kroger, Xerox and KKR. The P/E ratios on these are mostly pretty reasonable-- all under 15 except Kroger at 18 and BMY at 54! BMY is up 113% from when I bought it in 2011, so I'm thinking I may sell it now. Kroger is up 197% from when I bought it so it's tempting to sell that one too. Whenever I've bought individual stocks, I've tried to find things that had a low P/E ratio and projected earnings that would suggest the price could rise-- that approach has worked well for me. Xerox was bought based on advice from a friend, the one time I've ever acted on that sort of stock tip-- that approach definitely did not work for me! Xerox has been down pretty much ever since.
I also like it when stocks pay dividends-- I figured out that I've reinvested almost $30,000 worth of dividends on my main E*Trade portfolio over the years. KKR is something I just purchased this week because the P/E ratio was very low and dividend quite high. I've never invested in a private equity company, or any sort of financial services company-- my other stock picking rule having been that I choose companies whose businesses seem more tangible and familiar to me. My most detailed knowledge of KKR has been from reading Barbarians at the Gate-- a fascinating book which I highly recommend, though it's not exactly flattering to KKR. So this pick goes a little against my grain but these private equity guys always seem to be raking it in like bandits, and I'm willing to try to ride along a bit!
Here's the current holdings in my main E*Trade portfolio if you want to follow along... this doesn't include a smaller Roth IRA portfolio or my 401K.