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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December 2017

I didn't read all the answers below because I am sure they are all over the place, so I am replying solely to your question.

If you are a long term investor (which is what diversified equity investors should be) then you shouldn't.  401ks are usually long term so by moving it into a defensive option to "make" or "preserve" more money, you are playing at a losers game long term.  You could get lucky.

A lot of people are concerned the market is too high right now, but we appear to be in a mature bull market.  Momentum continues to carry the market forward, growth tends to outperform value, etc..  The point is, it could continue for some time.  Or, to your point, it could not.  Who knows?

If you are investing long term, you don't care.  Investing in a diversified portfolio of stocks has historically outperformed (over the long term) other asset classes like cash and bonds.  But the reality is that the market will have a negative year every 1 out of 3, a ~20% pull back every five, and a huge disruptive event like 1987 or the financial crisis every 20-30 years.  In the end, who cares, if you don't need the money.

Trying to decide when to go into cash, get more conservative or aggressive, based on media or short term stuff is a sure-fire way to underperform the market as a whole.  You could get "luck" and time it pretty well, but you could lose a lot in long term upside.

This is just my opinion. 

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