Bear markets happen. It’s a fact of investing in the stock market. Yet, when share prices are going up we all tend to forget that the next bear market is out there somewhere in the future. Well, the future has arrived and the stock market is going through its first bear market event since 2009. Now that we are feeling the pain of a bear market, there are two points I would like you to remember. One: all bear markets end and the stock market recovers. And, two: income stock investors should have a different outlook about bear market events.

Keeping your wits about you through big down moves in the stock market is a tough one. It is hard to watch the values in your brokerage account go down, sometimes by a lot. You feel like you need to sell to prevent any further losses. The problem is that this will just lock in your losses and the market will have gained back most if not all of those losses before you have the guts to buy in again. You have to trust that history will repeat itself.

There have been at least nine bear markets or short-term crashes in the U.S. stock market in the last 40 years. Over that same timeframe, the S&P 500 stock index has risen from less than 100 to just under 2000 today. In the shorter term, the market was down about 50% at the bottom of the 2008-2009 bear market. Yet an investment in the S&P 500 is now 45% higher than the peak value hit in 2007 before the last bear market. Any investments made before the 2007 peak or during that bear market fall are worth even more, much more.

As income stock investors, we should worry less about the ups and downs of share prices. A falling share price will not push a quality dividend paying company into a dividend rate reduction. When there are actual economic issues, such as the current low energy prices, there will be some dividend reductions, but again most companies will be able to sustain their dividend rates, and many will still be able to grow dividend payments. So as income stock investors we want to view a market correction/bear market as an opportunity to buy high-quality dividend stocks at even higher yields and lock in those yields for the long term. I tell you, I am digging in the sofa cushions to find change to send off to my brokerage account so I have as much cash as I can dig up to buy shares of some of my top pick income stocks.

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