By Jenna Peters

What we can learn from these magnificent animals and translating it over to a bear market.

Bears are fearsome creatures because of their brute strength and ability to protect what they believe is theirs – their territory, their kills, and their offspring. I’m sure you have heard of the phrase “Mama Bear” and know if you ever see a bear cub to immediately back up and make some distance. Mama bears are notorious for their ability to protect their young no matter what it takes. They won’t back down until the threat is gone, and they know that their cubs are protected.

While bears are lethal, powerful creatures, they are also an animal that is full of so much playfulness and wonder. Right after college, I worked at an animal rescue organization that took care of both grizzly bears and black bears. While I would never want to be caught inside their cages with them, I absolutely loved watching these creatures swim and play from the outside of their enclosures. Bears are some of the most playful animals that you will ever set eyes on. They love the water, balls, large ropes, and anything you can throw in with them as enrichment. They have a tremendous amount of intelligence and personality.

They are like large, playful dogs (that you would never want to get in a personal tug of war with). I have watched documentaries of polar bears playing with other polar bears that they have never met before. These two polar bears are slipping and sliding in the middle of snow and ice to their heart’s content. It’s truly magical and breathtaking. So while a bear can be immensely aggressive and brutal, there is a beauty and respect to these animals that I have been able to personally witness while being a caretaker for them in captivity.

The same can be said for a bear market. A bear market can come on intense and fast, just like a bear, pushing down on you and your finances for a good while. However, if you trust in your survival instincts, you can and will survive. If you meet a bear in the wild, you have trees to climb, bear spray, playing possum, and more ways to survive. A bear market, like its namesake, can be strong and overwhelming, but you don’t have to be caught unprepared. You have choices if you go in prepared.

There’s also a beauty and strength to a bear market that allows you to sit back and contemplate all of the correct steps you have taken to get to this point. Bear markets are needed. Without lows, how can there be highs? Without the strength and aggression of a mighty grizzly, how could we fully enjoy the playfulness and intelligence of this animal? With everything comes pros and cons, ups and downs. There is no light without darkness, just like there is no bull market without a bear market.

Instead of looking at down times as such a negative aspect, maybe start to see it as a learning process. Respect what your money and advisors are doing for you and have done for you up until this point. You are prepared, even if you are nervous and don’t feel it. You don’t fight a bear back with aggression and wrestle it head on. Believe me, you’ll lose immediately. Instead, you fight a bear in the wild by waiting it out in a tree or from another location until it leaves. You are patient and give the animal respect, just like you would a bear market.

Trust the process.