Umm, I'm no genius but I was managing my mother's money at the time of the 2008 crash. It was very obvious to me that there was going to be a crash, I pulled out of the market in late 2006 and didn't lose a dime in the crash.
I think the better statement is "The 2008 crash was obvious but many people were in denial".
Again, I'm not a financial wizard, I could just see the writing on the wall on that one, everyone was getting approved for houses they couldn't afford, you just knew that was not going to end well.
The problem is, it could be years before there is a collapse, or it could be tomorrow. That's a lot of yield you might be losing out on. A near similar argument could be made in 2014. You probably could have doubled or tripled your money in that period.
And even if there is a correction, not all equities will decline significantly (some will stagnate, or just decline a few percentage points, some will still double), whereas others will lose 80% of their value.
All true. I think what makes sense then is not to get out of the market entirely, but depending on your risk tolerance, simply re-balance so that you own less stocks at a time like this, while holding more cash or alternative investments.
How does one go about actually purchasing them? It doesn't seem they're available through typical online brokers like Etrade or Scottrade.
There will always be a crash/correction. Easy. But when?
The problem is people aren't watching the tape. It's thought of "too hard"(by those who fail), which is another way of saying their net ability is inadequate for a career in trading.
The market has always told us what it is going to do, seconds before it happens. You have to be willing to watch those seconds though, and capable of interpreting the tape during them... 1 day candles? too late. 30m candles? too late. 1m candles? maybe, but overall too late. The timeframe you are looking for is "real time", which is present in time and sales(and nowhere else). Anything else is inadequate for consistent profitability, but there is no shortage of people failing to be the exception.
If it was obvious, more people would have pulled out.
To be frank, 4% is not good. For comparison, my Vanguard account, which is mainly low cost ETFs and index funds, has had a 11.8% average annual return over the past 5 years.