The recent market fluctuations were a dominant topic in my conversations with clients and investors in the past month. Understandably people are concerned or even scared about what they read in the media and what they hear from other people. This is especially so for those who are near retirement.
While no one has a crystal ball, it helps to take a long term perspective and focus on what we can control. If you have prepared appropriately for market volatility, then normal market fluctuations shouldn’t be a concern and you should continue living your life and spending your money as you usually do.
1.YOU HAVE A FINANCIAL PLAN THAT COVERS ALL YOUR BASES.
No financial plan is totally immune to market fluctuations. But by diversifying your investments across stocks, bonds, and other financial vehicles, we’re confident that no single market event is going to jeopardize your long-term security.
Where you have the most direct control over your finances is your personal spending. If you’re building wealth, you might consider increasing your planned savings contributions during a downturn. If you’re retired, it’s always important that you spend within the boundaries of your annual withdrawal plan.
This combination of diversified assets and healthy savings gives you stability. It also provides flexibility that we can use to address potential problems or to take advantage of opportunities that might benefit your overall portfolio.
In short: sticking to your plan and living within your means are two of the best financial moves anyone can make during market volatility.
2. YOUR FOCUS IS LONG-TERM, NOT SHORT-TERM.
It’s true that some current market indicators are flashing warning signs. US short-term interest rates are hovering near or above the same level as longer-term interest rates and that is sometimes a cause for concern about the direction of the economy over the next 12 – 24 months.
Major stock market averages have experienced daily drops that, while not unusual, still grab your attention. And global trade disputes and political turmoil continue to unsettle investors.
But there are positive economic numbers to consider as well. The markets are still showing nice gains for the year. Unemployment is low. Job growth and economic output are still reasonable. And recent market dips have often been followed by rallies.
Investors who try to time their investments to these or any other economic signals are looking at market history through a dangerously narrow lens. The ultimate size of your nest egg won’t be determined by one week, one month, or even one year.
True wealth is built up slowly, over decades of steadfast saving and investing, careful planning, and thoughtful rebalancing when necessary. Today’s losses might be tomorrows gains, or vice-versa.
So don’t let any short-term market worries impact the Return on Life you enjoy from all your hard work and planning. I am always available to talk about your specific situation if you have any questions or concerns.