Make Money in the Coming Bear Market

It’s all starting to feel like very familiar territory now…Nothing financially bad can ever happen again. The stock market feels nice and cozy. People continue to make money. What’s not to like when the price of assets can only go in one direction?This is what it felt like in March 2000 before the dot-coms turned south. It was what it felt like in October 2007 before the S&P rolled over.And that’s what has me a bit concerned. The caution signs are starting to pile up.No Fear HereThe Bloomberg headline said it all: “Retail Investors Just Made a Historic Move Into U.S. Stocks.”TD Ameritrade’s proprietary measure of investor sentiment, culled from analysis of trading activity and customers’ accounts, hit an all-time high – the “largest single-month increase ever” – and the brokerage’s chief market strategist took note with this understatement: “The retail investor has become a bit more of a believer.”

Another sign popped up on CNBC a few weeks ago with the headline “No Fear Here.” An E-Trade survey of its customers hit a bullish extreme, with a record 71% of its high-net-worth individuals (those with $1 million or more in their accounts) expecting the fourth quarter to end higher than it started. Clearly the expectation among them is to continue to make money being long in the market.What about the so-called “smart money”?They’re taking money off the table and sounding the alarm:

Bank of America Merrill Lynch recently said in a bearish warning note: “Investors no longer fear risk but love it.”

Carl Icahn stated: “I really think even though earnings are going to be very good… I just think this thing has gotten into a euphoric state.”

Goldman Sachs notes that valuations across nearly all market classes are at their highest in 117 years.

On top of all that, the stock market experienced something on December 4 I haven’t seen in many, many months – an old-fashioned “pop and drop” trading session.

The “pop” was at the start of the trading session. All the major indexes, like the S&P 500, opened sharply higher at new all-time intraday records.The “drop” started 15 minutes after the opening bell, with a high-volume decline that persisted throughout the day, straight through to the end of the session.The point is, it’s not a bad idea to take some proverbial money off the table, at the least.This trade hasn’t worked in a long time. But given the current extremes, it has a good chance to make money now, in my view.

Your How-To Guide On Protecting Your Wooden Garage From Pests

A wooden garage is an awesome addition to your property. It adds value and marketability to your home, looks great and has additional benefits like sturdy construction, better design and good insulation compared to metal counterparts. But they come with one drawback: they are a beacon for pests.Because a wooden garage tends to be warmer, made of a consumable material (thanks to termites) and more natural looking, it is an inviting environment for spiders, insects, small mammals and other creepy crawlies that will take refuge there if allowed.Here is your how to guide on protecting your wooden garage from all the little critters that might find their way in.Restain The Wood RegularlyThe first step to avoiding pests is to make sure they have to way to get in. The most common gateway it through damage to the external of your garage, mainly in the wood itself. Over time your lumber can crap, form gaps between plants, warm or rot. This allows pests to get in. Restaining the wood every three to five years will keep it healthy and free of openings.If you find some damage has already occurred, fix it as soon as possible to avoid an infestation taking hold.Keep Gutters CleanGutters on your garage can be a refuge for insects and spiders during the drier months. Keeping them clear is a good idea as it gives them less places to hide out before making their way into your garage.

Every season to a cleaning to make sure there are no nests, hives or webs. Get rid of debris where they could hide. You may also want to put on gutter covers to keep them from getting in in the first place.Clear Outside BrambleBramble and debris around your garage is another place where pests might make their home. This includes old, dead plants and bushes, old trees, overgrown patches of flora, etc. Clearing these out periodically won’t just keep pests away, but it could make your house look a lot better in the process.Make sure before winter to do any clearing of old, dead gardens and other areas around your garage, so it is ready for the coming winter months.Fix Damage PromptlyAs mentioned above, any damage to your wood can let in pests. It might have even been caused by them. Often when there are holes in lumber it was eaten away by termites. Other critters can get in through these holes or hide in the walls. The last thing you want is to go about your business in your wooden garage and not realize that there is an infestation all around you, just waiting to pour out.Check for any external damage regularly. The moment you see it, even if it is a tiny crack or fracture in the wood, take care of it immediately. That will give pests less time to find it and move on in.Do Seasonal CheckupsA seasonal checkup is always a good idea. This is when you go through the outside and inside looking for signs of problems. The most common issue you will run across is areas in the wood being worn down, often discolored. That is a sign that the stain on the wood has become too thin and you need a new coat. You can just slap some on that area until you are ready to do a full restaining, if you don’t find other signs of wear.Know The Times of Year For RisksDifferent times of year come with different risks. Your wooden garage is going to be most appealing in the winter, when different creatures are trying to get out of the cold. But at the same time, the chill will kill many of them before they can get in. So your risk there is that some pests will come into your garage and breed as the months become warmer. All it takes is two to wreak havoc.Most of your infestation risks are going to be during the summer. There are a larger number of pests out there, so more to defend against.Weather strip Your Wooden GarageAnother way you can keep pests out is by closing up any cracks that they might slide through. Your windows and doors are the big culprits and you can seal them up using a bit of weather stripping. You can find kits to do it yourself at any hardware store. There are also companies that will do it for you.Remember that wooden garages also have beams and places in the roof that could let pests in. You may want to consider redoing the roof every once in awhile.

Declutter and Maintain OrganizationIf your wooden garage is cluttered it is more likely to hide pests and keep you from seeing the signs. How will you know there are mouse droppings if your floor is covered in junk? How will you see webs if they are behind a bunch of packed shelves?Keep your garage maintained and organized and you will be able to keep it clear of critters.Increase The LightingPests, especially insects and spiders, like to congregate where there is less light. The shadows are their friends and if you can’t see in corners, how do you know if anything is there, making its home? Installing better lighting is a great defense against this.Consider putting in large, fluorescent strip lights. These can light up an entire garage regardless of its size.Deal With Problems FastRemember, the faster you deal with problems the less time they will have to grow. The second you see the signs of a pest issue you need to take care of it. That means seeing a single mouse, black widow spider, or any other problematic creepy creature that might be living in your wooden garage.Some of these can be taken care of yourself using traps, fumigating bombs and other methods that can be purchased from your local hardware store. But if you worry it might be a bigger issue you should call a professional.