With the market tumbling at the start of 2016, it is well within possibility that we are entering the bear phase of the market. While the bulls take a long time incoming, bears appearance tend to be swift and decisive. Within half a year, the market has dropped by around 800 points from 2015 to now.
This is my second bear, if i recall correctly. The first time was around 2008 (that was when i worked for just a couple of years maybe), and the STI dropped to 1800 levels. My portfolio went down quite a bit in terms of %, but then given that my base was probably low then, the quantum impact wasn't that much. I continued to DCA in then, and reaped the benefits a couple of years later.
Now my portfolio base is slightly higher, and the loss is definitely larger. While i believe that market goes in cycles, and what goes down must come up (and vice versa), I do have 2 defined set of feelings:
(1) I think one cannot help but feel a bit nervous looking at your networth disappearing day by day.
(2) A bit of regret that if i held on to my warchest a bit longer and went in at a later date, i would have been a much better investor.
However, that is speaking with the benefit of hindsight which is always 20/20. Even though i feel nervous looking at my portfolio, i am comforted with my portfolio mix, which is heavily weighted with the STI ETF. When the market recovers (which it definitely will eventually), the STI ETF will recover along with it. The rest of my portfolio of individual companies may or may not bear out, but so far, i am pretty comfortable with the fundamentals.
With prices at a low, the challenge for me is to obtain more funds to invest in the market. My mistake was being too greedy when the market dropped significantly the first time. I went in too much at the initial drop and didn't leave enough warchest at the subsequent drops. I did not anticipate that the market would drop like it did.
The next time it did, i would develop a better plan, and go in at a pre-determined % tranche of my warchest. The only thing i can do is to DCA in with my monthly salary now.
Stay calm, invest on and reap the benefits eventually.