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No. of Recommendations: 2
What are you interested in buying?
Why?
How much has it fallen?
Why has it fallen?
Why do you think it hasn't found its bottom?
What do you think its upside is?

Personally, I'd recommend sitting tight. There are plenty of downside catalysts that could yet arrive:

-continued Fed Funds rate hikes
-prolonged government shutdown
-adverse developments in the China-US trade arm-wrestling match
-continued perception that Trump is trying to strongarm/remove Powell
-continuation of low oil prices could trigger new round of defaults/bankruptcies in energy sector
-last but not least, a move by a Democratic House to begin impeachment proceedings against Trump

That's a long list of potential negative catalysts. Since our trend is already negative and has been reinforced by a terrible short-day 600+ Dow drop on relatively high volume, I think there's plenty of reason to believe there's additional downside.

Plus, "V bottoms" (straight back up from whence we came) are not terribly common. We'll likely have to recover and retest lows before starting a leg up even if this bull market is not done. Best to sit on the sidelines, let this play out and enter at a safer point. There's still reason to be careful. What's the worst that can happen if you wait until this has played out and we're up 5% from here? You'll make 5% less. But if you buy now and hope none of these catalysts plays out and are wrong, you could be down 10% or more before you know it. Especially if you are considering a single sexy stock as opposed to a tracking ETF.

One last item to think about. Picking individual stocks is not easy even for seasoned investors; hell, it's hard for professional traders, forget us retail schmucks. Sticking to market tracking ETFs and mutual funds is a safer route for newcomers that automatically builds diversification into your portfolio.

Finally, if you are unsure when its safe to enter the market, don't even try to time it. Another strategy is to dollar cost average into the market. Instead of buying $25,000 worth of the ETF, buy $2,000 - $5,000 worth a few months in a row. If you keep trading costs down to around 1% of your purchase (better yet use a no trading cost ETF that many brokers now offer), then you can make those entry points even smaller and spread it out over a longer period. If the market goes down and you lose some on your old shares (a bad thing), it's not as painful because the new shares you're buying are cheaper (a good thing). This continual dollar cost averaging is one reason that 401Ks are such good tools for wealth building. It has the added bonus of building some savings discipline into your everyday routine, and solves the timing issue to some extent.

Peter

P.S. Before you make any investment, make certain that you can LOSE that money. If it's necessary for living, it's out of bounds. Even if you buy an ETF that's well-diversified by definition, it could go down substantially. You need to be able to throw up your hands, say "oh well" and then wait it out. People who bought a Spider tracker in July of 2007 were not happy in January of 2008. But they were fine in January of 2018. As long as they stayed the course. But many people panicked and sold. That's the #1 mistake of retail investors. They enter hot markets and panic in bear markets (buy high, sell low). If you are going to dive into the market make sure that you can stay the course for the long haul.
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