There is only one side of the market and it is not the bull side or the bear side, but the right side. Jesse Livermore

I began my real investment journey* in 2011 amidst the embers of the 2008 Crash, so this is the first Bear Market that I have lived through as an investor in individual stocks, albeit there have been plenty of "Corrections" since then.

For the uninitiated, a "Correction" is where stocks drop 10% or more from their highs. A "Bear Market" is where stocks drop 20% or more from their highs

I allowed most of my trading portfolio to drop into cash at an early stage of the Drop (through use of trailing stops) and left my long term investment portfolio (which is balanced between equities, gilts, bonds and gold- almost entirely in indices and Investment Trusts & Funds) largely intact. The only major buy I made was an increase of my gold weighting about a month ago. I have spent a fair part of the current Bear Market watching from the sidelines. I've not jumped back in yet and I'll admit that it has been hard to watch the rally of the last week. On one level it has been an interesting exercise in watching the Bear Market Playbook. As I've been reflecting, here are five thoughts that I've had:

1. Whilst Bear Markets are inevitable, Controlling risk is critical

Gordon Brown will perhaps never live down his "no more boom and bust quote" as his leadership ended in one of the worst downturns for a generation. The truth is that downturns always follow good times. We've just enjoyed one of the longest bull markets in history. Something had to end it. I just don't think that anyone thought it would be a Global Pandemic.

I know people who have been preparing for this for years and have lost a lot of money along the way. I knew someone who was badly burned in the 2008 Crash who has confidently predicted 19 of the last 2 Recessions. Something had to kick us into a Bear Market, because one was overdue. It could have been Global Slowdown, Oil Wars, Trade Wars, Brexit or the Italian Debt Crisis. In the end it was as simple as a a virus.

With bizarre timing, I started writing