If you’ve been watching market headlines, you probably heard that markets tumbled in the first days of 2016, raising the specter of corrections and bear markets. When markets swing, it’s natural to worry about your investments and question your commitment to your strategy. We have outlined 4 strategies to keep in mind when markets swing:
1. Stop listening to the noise. Turn off the television, throw away the business section, and stay off of financial websites. Hanging on every word the talking heads say will only add to your stress and encourage emotional decision making. One of the major reasons why you work with a team of trusted professionals is so you can delegate the worrying to us. We’ll keep you informed.
2. Stay focused on the big picture. Ask yourself: how long is my investment horizon? If you are invested for 10, 20, 30 years or more, volatility that lasts days, weeks, or even months shouldn’t affect your long-term strategies. Though we can’t use the past to predict the future, the S&P 500 has delivered average annual performance of 11.41% since 1928. Keep in mind that those years include the Great Depression, during which stocks lost 83%, the bear market of 1987 when stocks lost 33.5%, and the financial crisis when the S&P 500 dropped 57% before gaining 202% over the next six years.
3. Don’t be tempted by emotion. Volatility makes for stressful investing and it can be tempting to bail when stocks fall and ride out the bad times. Unfortunately, trying to time when to exit or enter markets is very difficult and not likely to work out in your favor. Research shows that investors are notoriously terrible at predicting market tops and bottoms. Corrections happen regularly and periods of high growth often occur close to major pullbacks. If you’re not in the market when it rallies, you may miss out on the best days of performance.
4. Stay flexible. Thriving during volatility doesn’t mean sitting passively by. One of the benefits of an active, flexible investing style is that we can make strategic shifts to take advantage of new opportunities that arise. As professionals, we are always looking for prudent opportunities to help our clients pursue their goals in changing market environments.
What should you do next?
Though pullbacks and sustained periods of volatility are stressful, they are a normal and natural part of market cycles. Our job is to sort through the barrage of information and take a look at the fundamental factors underneath. Your job is to stay calm and focused on your goals knowing that there is a team of serious professionals who are taking care of the details for you. We reach out to our clients personally if we believe that changes to their investment strategies need to be made in light of our analysis. If you are a client who has experienced any life changes or shifts in your goals that warrant changes to your portfolio, please let us know at your earliest convenience. If you are not currently working with a wealth advisory team or you would like a team with a proactive investment strategy and who proactively communicates with clients during time of volatility, we would be happy to work with you. Please call our office any time at 913.814.3800.
S&P 500 annualized average performance 1928-2015 includes dividend reinvestment.
http://pages.stern.nyu.edu/~adamodar/New_Home_Page/datafile/histretSP.html (Accessed 1/11/16)
Yahoo Finance. S&P 500 price performance between 10/9/07-3/9/09 and 3/9/09-12/31/15
Please remember that different types of investments involve varying degrees of risk, and there can be no assurance that the future performance of any specific investment, investment strategy, or product made reference to directly or indirectly in this content, will be profitable, equal any corresponding indicated historical performance level(s), or be suitable for you or your portfolio. Due to various factors, including changing market conditions, the content may no longer be reflective of current opinions or positions. Moreover, you should not assume that any discussion or information contained in this newsletter (article) serves as the receipt of, or as a substitute for, personalized investment advice from Searcy Financial Services, Inc.
The content of this letter does not constitute a tax or legal opinion. Always consult with a competent professional service provider for advice on tax or legal matters specific to your situation. To the extent that a reader has any questions regarding the applicability of any specific issue discussed in this content, he/she is encouraged to consult with the professional advisor of his/her choosing.
Originally published on February 1, 2016 by Searcy Financial Services, your Overland Park, Kansas Fee-Only Financial Planner and Investment Manager.