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Ready to Quit?

A lot of investors probably wanted to give up after 2008's market losses. Last year was the worst 12 months for stocks since the Great Depression. But Cramer would argue against throwing in the towel. Downturn or not, high-quality dividend-paying equities are still the best-performing asset class over any 20-year period. So the people who bail out lose out.

Stocks are an investor’s best shot at upside, Cramer said, and there’s plenty of academic research to prove it. These market corrections – or at times, crashes – though, are a part of the package. If you want to enjoy the profits, then you have to steel yourself to the inevitable losses. After all, there are only two kinds of investors: those who’ve lost money, and those who will.

So you should expect corrections rather than fear them. That’s rule number one if you want to stay in the game. There will come a day when your portfolio’s forward motion will come to a sudden halt. That’s no excuse to quit. If anything, you’ll get the chance to buy great companies at lower prices, setting up the chance for even greater gains when the market turns back up.

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