Any article you read on buying puts for downside protection always walks through the optimal outcome. It goes like this: You buy cheap puts, the market declines before your puts expire and you have a nice gain on these puts.
In real life, it looks like this: Puts aren't cheap but you buy them anyway. The market doesn't decline enough to make the puts worth anything at expiration. You chewed through the majority of any profits during this time because puts aren't cheap. You very likely ate through some principal as well.
Rinse/repeat and at some point your just portfolio principle begins noticeably eroding. Why - because puts aren't cheap and keep expiring worthless. You'd be better off putting cash under a mattress.
Can anyone explain how this ever works out in real life if the market doesn't decline for a year or two (maybe 9).