One of the other shoes fell today.

On December 3rd of 2008, I wrote a blog post entitled, "Waiting for the other shoe to drop." Well today another shoe fell in the form of retail sales. This pushed the DOW below the low made three weeks ago. This in turn signaled a sell signal based on our "Trade Triangle" technology.

Many experts have been predicting that we have made a low in the market. I happen to be on the opposing side of that trade. I think that we have yet to see the bottom. The fact is, we are in a bear market and bear markets tend to be very different from bull markets. Bear markets just claw you under and sink under their weight.

So are there any other shoes to drop? Could credit cards defaults be the next shoe that no one is talking about that right now? Or, could it be county and state governments who are reeling with their loss of property tax revenue. Ultimately, it could be something as simple as this: nobody believes in anything anymore.

I keep hearing people say that there is money on the sidelines. Does that mean that this money is going to come back into the game anytime soon? I seriously doubt it; the money could stay on the sidelines for years. Given the uncertainty of our times, I'm not sure it's going to come back into the market anytime soon regardless of how people define a "cheap stock" or how they hype the possibilities of capitalizing on this economic downward spiral.

So what is a bargain stock? These "bargain" stocks are trading lower today then where they were two years ago. Under those conditions, the stock is often times labeled as a bargain or as "cheap." The reality is, in a bear market the market sets the price, not the buyer. We continue to see the markets on the defensive as the troubles we see both domestically and globally are a long way from being solved.

With President-elect Obama waiting in the wings to rescue the world, I am not holding my breath or expecting any miracles on this front. When President-elect Obama is sworn in, we'll see just how deep the social and economic problems are in this country. I do not expect him to perform some magic trick that makes all of the economic issues disappear overnight.

Last month we also blogged about the silly season. This is the time between December 15th and January 15th when the markets tend to go nowhere and everywhere based on thin volume. Now that we are getting close to January 15th, I expect to see more volume, more serious trading, and price action taking place. This action could well be on the downside as the realization sinks in that we are not going to get out of this easily or quickly.

Many investors have learned a hard lesson that holding onto stocks is not necessarily the best investment. Many 401(k) plans have been destroyed by lack of a game plan and positive action. I strongly believe that you must be proactive in the next 5-10 years. It is not good enough to sit back and say, "Oh, my stocks will come back" ... because many of them won't.

Here are the three keys to unlock and save your financial future:

* Number 1: You must have a game plan for any investment you make, and you must follow the game plan.

* Number 2: You must be disciplined in your investments. You cannot expect or rely on your financial advisor to do this for you.

* Number 3: Your portfolio must be diversified. Learning how to drive a variety of investment vehicles and also learning how to trade on the short side of the market as this gives you the protection you need in troubled times.

If you follow these three simple rules you will best avoid the pain and agony that many investors have suffered in the last year and a half.

It's up to you.

Every success in the future.,

Adam Hewison
Co-creator, MarketClub