Let me start by apologising for the sensational headline.
But it seems hardly a day goes by now without some dire warning dropping into my inbox.
After all, if it's not the end of Britain, the end of QE or the end of the Chinese growth miracle...
...then it's the housing market going bust, the eurozone going bust or the banking sector going bust that's going to thump the market and send all of our portfolios down the plug hole.
It can be scary stuff.
And I must admit, there are times when I wonder if the doom-mongers are right.
All-round wealth destruction on a cataclysmic scale
I mean, we all know the economy, bank sector and housing market are propped up by rock-bottom interest rates and QE - which surely can't last forever.
So what will happen when the money printing stops?
Well, a mere suggestion of 'tapering' from Helicopter Ben during May caused the market to drop about 10% within the following few weeks...
...which puts into perspective what might happen to shares if the global economy really does take a turn for the worse.
In fact, the FTSE fell more than 100 points one day alone last week as investors fretted once again about the end of QE.
And when you consider...
- that the market has enjoyed a very good run during the past twelve months;
- that many blue chips are trading close to 52-week highs, and;
- that many investors are nervously sitting on large profits and would hate to see their paper gains evaporate overnight...
...then it's understandable how easily the doom-mongers can grab our attention with dark tales of market crashes, economic nightmares and all-round wealth destruction on a cataclysmic scale.
Sell your portfolio, run to the bunker and never touch a share ever again
But let me put all today's worries, anxiety and gloom into perspective.
In fact, allow me to take you back to the end of 1999, a time when the FTSE 100...
- had doubled during the previous five years;
- had almost hit 7,000, and;
- was trading at around 30 times earnings.
Back then, most investors were very optimistic, with the index thundering higher and the economy seemingly in good health.
And yet, in retrospect...
...the end of 1999 was a terrible point to invest generally in shares (though not many people realised it at the time).
Indeed, had you been told during late 1999 what was to actually happen during the next 13 years...
- that the FTSE 100 would not go any higher;
- that there'd be TWO savage bear markets when the index would drop 50%;
- that terror attacks on New York would prompt a second Gulf war;
- that oil would surge from $20 to $147 a barrel;
- that banks would go bust and require a multi-billion pound government bailout...
...you'd be forgiven for selling your entire portfolio, running to the nearest bunker and never touching shares ever again.
However - and I know this is difficult to believe - even at the end of 1999, life-changing fortunes were being created by ordinary investors carefully buying ordinary shares.
They made more than SIX times their money
Let me give you just three examples.
I've prepared this chart, which shows the meteoric share-price performances of British American Tobacco, Next and Reckitt Benckiser since the end of 1999:
Source: Capital IQ
Now, these three names were well-known companies back in 1999 and anyone smart enough to spot their potential could have since made more than SIX times their money...
...despite the awful time for the markets that followed.
(And don't get me started on smaller wonder-stocks such as Randgold Resources, Goodwin and Domino's Pizza...
... up 40 times, 38 times and 23 times respectively since the end of 1999!)
The market truths the doom-mongers will never tell you
After writing for Motley Fool during every one of the last 13 years, I want to share with you three investing truths that the doom-mongers will never tell you:
- Nobody can predict the future with accuracy
Nobody forecast anything about Gulf wars, oil spikes and banking crashes back in 1999.
- There'll always be a reason not to buy shares
Enron, Railtrack, Greece, SARS, bond yields, government elections, the national debt, Japanese earthquakes... the list has never stopped growing.
- There are always enormous winners out there, just waiting to be bought - whatever the doom-mongers tell you is around the corner
See that share-price chart of BAT, Next and Reckitt, above.
Opportunities for enormous stock-market profits are out there right now
Just so you know, I never waste any time reading all the dire warnings that drop into my inbox.
Sell everything now? Market carnage coming soon? Your pension will be obliterated?
Delete. Delete. Delete.
Truth is, I have long since given up working out the consequences of the recession, the money printing and the euro.
Instead I just simply concentrate on buying good companies at cheap valuations to hold for the long term.
You see, even though there may be plenty of reasons to be worried right now...
...and even if the economy, QE and the eurozone do create a few more savage bear markets during the next 13 years...
...life-changing fortunes will still be enjoyed by ordinary investors carefully buying ordinary shares.
Just ask anyone who multiplied their money six-fold on household names such as BAT, Next and Reckitt...
...who've paid no attention to any gloom and doom over the years...
...but instead simply held on to their shares, knowing they have backed top-notch businesses with dependable earnings and respectable prospects.
Trust me, similar quality opportunities for enormous stock-market profits are out there right now - whatever the frightening messages in your inbox are saying.
All you need to do is just need ditch the doom-mongers, delete the dire warnings... and use the Motley Fool to help find the potential winners.
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