Is Buying the Dip a Smart Investing Move?

How to take advantage of market losses in 2022 and come out ahead.
Last updated June 28, 2022 | By Jenny Cohen | Edited By Ellen Cannon
confident asian young freelancer in smart casual working

FinanceBuzz is reader-supported. We may receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

The stock markets have taken a beating so far this year, but that could mean it’s a good time to invest.

Perhaps there is a specific stock you wanted that you couldn’t afford until now. Maybe you’re looking for index funds to help diversify your retirement portfolio and grow your wealth. Or you could want to take advantage of some possible short-term gains by jumping in now.

Before you buy the dip, however, you may want to consider these factors to help ensure you’re making a sound investment.

Timing is everything

samrit/Adobe vintage alarm clock falling on the floor

When does a market dip bottom out? Nobody may really know, not even the best investors. If you want to buy on the dip, remember that you could lose money if the dip gets worse. And if you put off buying the dip and wait for it to get lower, you could miss out when it bounces back.

Remember that buying at the right moment is complicated, so be willing to lose some money if you buy in too early or miss out on deals if you buy too late.

Consider index funds

Yeamake/Adobe Dow Jones and Nasdaq indexes on iPad display

An index fund is a type of mutual fund or exchange-traded fund that tracks a particular index, such as the S&P; 500, Nasdaq, or the Dow Jones Industrial Average.

They’re a good investment if you want to diversify your portfolio or invest in the broad stock market. And fees tend to be lower because they aren’t actively managed by a fund manager.

Index funds may not be as volatile as other funds or stocks, which might be a good way to ride out any dips or spikes as the market wavers.

Pro tip: You can use one of the best online brokerages to buy index funds. Index funds may have lower fees than other funds and you may be able to pay a smaller fee than you would if you used an in-person financial planner.

Set your targets

Carlos Caetano/Adobe Archery Targeting

Dips may make investors emotional about buying or selling. To avoid that, you might want to consider targets before you put your money in the market. Think about how much money you’re willing to risk in the market at this time and stick to that amount.

You also may want to think about market targets to get in or out. For example, if the Dow Jones Industrial Average, or DJIA, hits a certain point, that may be your time to get in.

You could also set automated sell targets for stocks, allowing you to have an online brokerage account sell certain stocks in your portfolio to minimize any losses if it drops to a certain point.

Remember your biases

Yingyaipumi/Adobe smartphone with cryptocurrency money link

Are you always a pessimist who expects the market to go lower? Or an optimist buying because you think the worst is over? That could hurt your portfolio.

Instead, be aware of your biases before investing in the market. Perhaps setting parameters or rules for yourself before you put money in can take some of the emotion out of your investing.

You also may want to look at the diversity of your portfolio. If you’ve been favoring tech stocks, for example, now may be a good time to try another sector. You also may want to think about how to get into other assets if your portfolio is full of stocks and nothing else.

Pay attention to economic news

dennizn/Adobe newspaper pages

Sometimes a dip is simply a small correction in the markets, but it could also be a sign that investors may think more bad news is on the horizon.

Do some research on other factors that may be causing issues with the market. Perhaps market analysts may be expecting a recession or a rise in interest rates set by the Federal Reserve. Companies might announce increases in their revenue or suggest they expect a downturn in sales. These factors could play into the future of the market.

Consider your retirement goals

Day Of Victory Stu./Adobe senior couple hugged each other at the beach in the morning

If you’re an older investor who is planning to retire soon, taking chances on a volatile market may not be a good strategy. Instead, you may want to use a dip to diversify your portfolio so it can more easily weather a volatile market. You also might want to think about liquidating investments in case you need cash.

On the other hand, younger investors may want to put more money into retirement accounts or other investments during a dip. You may not time the bottom perfectly, but any additional losses could be made up in the following years and decades as the market rebounds before you reach retirement age.

Where to invest

Alex from the Rock/Adobe Woman using mobile phone investing application sitting in cafe

What if you don’t want to take a chance investing money in the stock market during a dip? There are some other options to consider, but remember that these could carry risks just like any type of investment.

Gold and precious metals

Couperfield/Adobe Hundreds kilos of gold stolen during war in Europe

When stock markets take a downturn, some investors might use gold or precious metals as a good alternative to stocks. But you may not be the only one with that plan.

Gold, for example, started the year at 1,799.40 and has been hovering around the 1,850 mark since mid-June. It’s good for those who already bought it, but you may be buying on an upswing if you get in now.

Be aware, however, that gold has come down from its March 2022 high. So, like any other investments, take into account how gold and other metals fit into your overall portfolio.

Real estate

BullRun/Adobe A Black couple looks at a tablet with a white male real estate agent

The housing market has skyrocketed since 2020 with the median price of a home at $428,700 compared with $322,600 two years ago, according to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Unfortunately, that may mean the housing market is near a peak and not a dip. But the market could change this year as the Federal Reserve raises interest rates, which may be a good alternative if the stock markets recover from their dips.

Cryptocurrency

artjazz/Adobe Various crypto coins

Another option outside of stocks is cryptocurrency, but that could also come with issues. The crypto market has been volatile in recent months with coins such as Bitcoin losing money for investors. At the beginning of the year, Bitcoin was worth 47,686.81 but it has been repeatedly hitting marks under 30,000 for the past month.

The current volatility in crypto like Bitcoin or Ethereum, for example, may prove that the crypto market may not be the best place for long-term investors.

Pro tip: If you want to buy cryptocurrency, then you’ll want to check out this list of the best cryptocurrency exchanges.

Bottom line

joyfotoliakid/Adobe discussing and analysis graph stock market trading

Buying the dip takes research, timing, and luck, but you can also make a profit if you do your research to help you navigate market changes.

Diversifying your investments can also help you ride out any swings as the market adjusts to a changing investment landscape. And remember to check your budget to help you decide how much you can invest during a recession or times of stock market uncertainty .

Public Benefits

  • Get $3-$300 in free stock when your account is approved*
  • Invest in 1000s of stocks and ETFs with fractional shares—no account minimums
  • Follow friends in a social feed and learn from a diverse community of investors
  • * Free stock offer valid for U.S. residents 18+. Subject to account approval.

Author Details

Jenny Cohen Jenny Cohen is a freelance writer who has covered a bit of everything, from finance to sports to her favorite TV shows. Her work has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, USA Today, and FoxSports.com.