Monday, January 25, 2016

Riding the Roller Coaster

I have never been a fan of roller coasters; I consider them torture. Yet my older son can spend an entire day riding them - the higher, twistier, upside-down/inside-out, the better! But even he is not enjoying the volatile ride the markets have been taking these past few weeks and months.

Some folks view roller coasters as frightening.
Some find them exhilarating. How do you react to market volatility?

I will assume you have some money invested in the stock/bond/commodity markets. Maybe you have a 401k through work, an IRA or a 529 plan that holds a variety of funds.

Hold on tight, close your eyes, go for the ride!

1. DO NOT, repeat Do Not watch the TV constantly monitoring the daily market moves. We all know TV sensationalizes events.

2. Do Not check your accounts hourly, daily or weekly. This breeds dread, confusion and despair. Reviewing quarterly reports will suffice.

3. Take advantage of the opportunity to buy low if this is part of your investment strategy to increase certain positions. Yes, stocks may go a bit lower but they are way down from frothy highs. Remember "buy low, sell high".

4. Reassess your risk tolerance. Have you been anxious, upset and losing sleep these past few weeks? Perhaps you thought you could handle more risk. Or maybe you are closer to retirement or buying a house and feel the need to be more protective of your money. Give yourself some time before reallocating.

5. Hopefully you have an investment strategy, If so, stick with it. If not, now is not the time to implement one.
A good investment strategy will help you ride out the peaks and valleys of the market and provide guidance in achieving your financial goals.

In times like these it is helpful to remember, in order to generate the type of long-term returns that create wealth, you must accept a certain amount of risk. With that risk comes volatility. The key is not to take steps to avoid the risk altogether, but to manage the risk where possible.

Be $ Smart - Imagine the market as a living, breathing organism. It cannot inhale or exhale indefinitely. Have a plan to take advantage of market moves.