If you’re fortunate enough to have an investment portfolio, you’ve likely seen it incur a loss over the past two months as the economy felt the seismic ripple effects of the COVID-19 crisis. The impulse to cut your losses when markets are volatile can be immediate; however, declines are a part of the stock market cycle. Handling your investments when disaster strikes certainly isn’t easy, but remembering a few rules of thumb may help your financial future.
- DON’T pull your investments. Undoubtedly, it’s difficult to watch your investments decrease in value, but panic-selling only is not the answer. The best thing you can do when the markets hit a downturn, financial advisors agree, is stick to your plan. Historically, stock markets have always recovered from a downturn. This bear market is event-driven, which in the past has bounced back faster than structural or cyclical bear markets. Resist the urge to check the status of your investments constantly, remember this decline is temporary, and be prepared to stay the course and wait it out.
- DO consider investing more. While it may seem contradictory to increase your investments during a market dip, it may present some opportunity. The catch is having enough cash set aside. Investing requires flexibility and research, not spur-of-the-moment decisions. You should study potential buys that align with your long-term investment strategy, rather than acquiring investments based on market fluctuations.
- DON’T stop contributing to your 401(k). If you opt-in to a 401(k) account through your employer, it can be tempting to pause regular contributions, or withdraw funds, during a crisis. But, dollar-cost averaging may help you in the long run once markets recover if you leave it alone, or better yet, maximize your contribution percentage. *Dollar cost averaging will not guarantee a profit, or protect you from loss, but may reduce your average cost per share in a fluctuating market.
- DO re-balance your portfolio. Use this as an opportunity to examine your investments and adjust them according to your long-term financial goals. Having a diversified portfolio means investing in varying assets across different industries, classes, styles, and company size. A balanced portfolio can offset your exposure to risk, because it helps protect your entire portfolio from sinking when an industry is threatened. Think of it as not putting all your eggs in one basket. *A diversified portfolio does not assure a profit or protect against loss in a declining market.
** Securities and insurance products are offered through Cetera Investment Services LLC (doing insurance business in CA as CFG STC Insurance Agency LLC), member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services are offered through Cetera Investment Advisers LLC. Neither firm is affiliated with the financial institution where investment services are offered. Advisory services are only offered by Investment Adviser Representatives.
Investments are: *Not FDIC/NCUSIF insured *May lose value *Not financial institution guaranteed *Not a
deposit *Not insured by any federal government agency.
Joseph & Pamela Malara
5681 Commerce Street
St. Francisville, LA 70775
Over the next few weeks, Bank of St. Francisville is publishing a series of Coronavirus-related articles offering relevant financial advice for this unprecedented time. Check back often for local resources, and additional information on how you can help in West Fel, what to do if you're facing a loss of income, and more during the pandemic.
Now more than ever, BSF is here to help. Call us at 225-635-6397 to speak with a loan officer to explore your options, or click here to make an appointment. To access our COVID-19 resources page, click here.