Over the last 12 months, we’ve all watched our 401ks, IRAs and other investment accounts rise and fall. The financial and emotional roller coaster we’ve all been on can be scary and the ride isn’t over yet.
You’ve probably read it a thousand times, but let us be clear that the market volatility we’re seeing now is normal and so long as you have a comprehensive financial plan, it’s likely nothing to worry about.
Why We Believe That
Market performance is only one factor that determines the health of our economy. While the U.S. markets are seeing volatility, Chinese market performance was strong despite a slowing growth rate and we are optimistic about European markets.
Another factor that impacts economic health is the unemployment rate and the U.S. unemployment rate is at one of the lowest levels we’ve ever seen. With nearly all American workers able to find a job, we expect spending to continue, further bolstering the economy. This should also put pressure on employers to increase wages, therefore lifting Americans salaries, but only time will tell how much of an impact any potential pay hikes will have.
Lastly, with taxes at the lowest levels they’ve ever been, Americans are keeping more of their money across the board. With more money in American’s pockets, we expect consumer spending and investing to continue, which should in turn bolster the economy.
What You Should Do As an Investor
The first thing we’d ask you to do is to create, either on your own or with the help of an advisor, a financial plan. By having a foundation and forward-thinking strategy for your investments and retirement, you’re less likely to make reactionary moves when the market drops.
We also would recommend you adopt the mantra, “buy low, sell high.” We know, you’ve heard it before, but how many times have you had the urge to sell your falling stocks in the last year? Probably more than you’d like to admit out loud, and that’s totally understandable. The next time that feeling comes through, stay calm, repeat your new mantra and stick with your long-term financial plan.
Where An Advisor Can Help
All of this is a lot to stay on top of and react to on your own. It can be complicated, time consuming and frankly confusing. That’s why we urge you to find a financial advisor that you trust and who has a team of specialists in all areas of finance, from taxes to estate planning to investments, behind them to help you get the most out of your money.
Once you have a plan in place and a team of experts keeping you up to date, your advisors job isn’t over. They should be there as a guide throughout your life, helping you navigate market corrections, tax law changes and help you adjust as your lifestyle and goals change in retirement and beyond. By having a well-equipped financial team on your side, you can be more confident that one year or even decade of market uncertainty won’t derail your financial future.
The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and are not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any individual.
This article was originally published on Jan. 19, 2019 in the Brainerd Dispatch.
Bruce Helmer, a founding member of Wealth Enhancement Group, has been the host of the “Your Money” Radio Show for more than 20 years. He is also featured weekly on the Twin Cities CBS affiliate WCCO, and has penned three financial advice publications.