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Passive investment strategies have been on the rise since the start of the current bull run, which is now the longest in history.  These strategies have worked quite well during this rally.  If, and when, we enter a bear phase passive investors will be in for quite a surprise.  Why?  This sums it up well:

“Passive investing requires the investor to stay fully invested in the equity market regardless of whether it’s in a bull phase or a bear phase. The passive promoters say that nobody can time the market, so it’s better to just stay fully invested at all times. And there’s something to be said for that viewpoint. Over the very long term, equities have delivered roughly 10% per year in appreciation. What’s not to like about that?”

“Here’s what’s not to like about that –bear markets. Advocates of a passive approach will tell you that bear markets are just a natural occurrence, and given time, they always blow over. Really? Tell that to the folks who put their entire life savings into the stock market in 1929. It took them 28 years to get back to even.”

“Or tell that to the folks who started investing in 2000. They have enjoyed a paltry 3.09% annual return for the past 18 years. My point is that bear markets are not only destructive in terms of the loss of capital, they are also destructive in terms of wasted time.”

A bear market will be a helluva reckoning for passive investors. 
Hat tip Eric Conley of SeakingAlpha.