Ask Colin

How can I deal with fear of buying, even though I know we are in the distress selling phase?

A book which may help you with this aspect of investing and life generally is Susan Jeffers Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway


However, beyond that:

Have you read my book The Psychology of Investing? The first part of the book deals with assessing your temperament and from that what kind of investments are suitable for you. It may be that you are not suited to the risk-taking that is involved in shares, so it will always be a struggle for you. I cannot answer this for you  you need to go through a process of self-examination.

The people who find it most difficult to make investing decisions are the perfectionists of this world. I used to be a perfectionist and still am in many things, but I have learned to be a satisficer. I discuss this without using this term in Building Wealth in the Stock Market and The Aggressive Investor. I make the point that all investing involves risk and not all investments work out as we hope. So they involve losses. The trick is to cut those losses reasonably quickly and let the good ones work for us. So, the key is sell stops and discipline, based in a realistic outlook on the process of investing.

Take it one step at a time. There is in fact plenty of time to get into a bull market and no single perfect time. Buy one stock. See how it goes. When you are comfortable with it look to buy another stock.

If you are new to the game of investing, I advise to have 90% of your capital in index funds or similar with low fees. Manage 10% of your capital yourself. When you are beating the fund, look to bring more of your capital under your own management. It will take at least ten years before you will be managing it all yourself. This is already in the books I mentioned above.