Here's the Australian "All Ordinaries" index for my lifetime, plotted quarterly with a logarithmic y axis:
So far the current downturn really doesn't look too bad in context.
The standard advice given to investors is:
- Stay in for the long term
- Have a diverse portfolio
When share prices drop, you only lose if you have to sell right now. Dividends normally keep coming in.
If you only have shares in banks you should be concerned.
Taking an analogy from a recent Qantas flight that dropped 1,000 feet due to an iPod being left on (just kidding), it would be much more serious if the plane was at 2,000 feet than it was with the plane at 37,000 feet.
Likewise, we should look at the market in proportional, historical terms.