Chapter Fourteen

Don’t Get Emotional

How to Profit from the Panic

So how does a panic begin? What really happens? And as an investor caught in the downturn, or someone looking to cash in on the panic, what do you do?

The number one thing that you do is: Don’t panic. Panic, after all, is an irrational visceral response to a sense of powerlessness and helplessness, which often comes from a lack of understanding of the actual circumstances. But panics, odd as this may sound, are nothing to be scared of.

As Franklin Roosevelt once said during the Great Depression, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” Understanding the origins of the difficulty can help to diminish anxiety. And in any number of critical ways, all busts start with a boom. Why? Because all busts start with a gathering consensus that a market has gone too far, too fast.

The same people who were so in love with the market, and with every stock in it, that they’d sell their grandmothers into slavery to buy more stock, now all of a sudden won’t touch a share of stock with a 10-foot pole. Objectively, this fickle attitude makes absolutely no sense. But that’s failing to take into account the rule of emotion, which tends to stimulate snap judgments. Emotions make people see only in black and white, good and bad, up and down, so what was good suddenly becomes bad. What do you do in such conditions?

Wait for the panic and the inevitable crash in prices. Then, calmly, buy.

Why? Because you’re being paid to take a ...

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