Where should I move my 401(k) gains before the bull stock market ends, in preparation for a market crash?

My 401(k) accounts do not have the option to automatically sell at a stop point. How do you recommend that I lock in my gains before the bull stock market ends? Is it better to move my gains into my 401(k) money market or move them into my 401(k) defensive stock option (for example, a utilities fund)?

401(k), Stocks
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This is the question that seems to be on every clients mind that we meet with.  I am going to go a bit against the grain of most traditional advice because I am strongly of the mindset that every investment should have a protective stop loss point attached to it, and this includes your 401K.  Your 401K probably will follow the movements of the SPX (S&P 500) since the mutual funds available will probably have simillar price movements.  There is no way of knowing when the bull market will end, but there is a systematic approach to moving up your stop loss using the SPX as a proxy for the market overall.  Until the stop loss is hit there is not a strong reason to be out of the market other than fear, but if you have a plan to react quickly then your fear can settle.   

The million dollar question is where to draw the "line in the sand" and where to get back in after the drop. In the past I have written about the importance of understanding fair price areas in the market (you can find the article here) and how you use them to set stop loss points.  What I would say to do would be to simply set an alert on the SPX line you choose, and once the Line in the Sand gets hit move your portfolio into positions you will be more comfortable with in a down market.

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