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Four Strategies Investors Can’t Ignore During Market Turbulence

Letitia Berbaum AIF is COO & Partner at The Zandbergen Group, specializing in wealth management for families, widowers, and entrepreneurs.

As the stock market remains more volatile than most investors would like, many are wondering how they should handle their portfolios. “Should I sell?” “How long can I sustain this unpredictability?” Here are a few things that I share with my clients, particularly the ones with the goal of investing and saving for retirement: Markets ebb and flow. The key to navigating the various ups and downs is to learn to master yourself and your decision making during times of market volatility while evaluating risk. Make decisions based on wisdom, not emotion. Learn to lean on your trusted advisor. They can remind you of sage wisdom to help you see the forest while you’re walking among the trees.

For those newer to investing, it can be difficult to sit still during bumpy financial seasons, especially when words like “inflation” and “recession” are being thrown around constantly. For some, the urge is sell, sell, sell, and save what you can! But that knee-jerk reaction isn’t considering the bigger, long-term picture and usually doesn’t work toward most investors’ real financial goal of retiring comfortably.

There’s an analogy I use with my clients when they start to get antsy. I liken the market and a person’s goal to a plane ride. The journey has a starting point and an ending point (aka retirement), and in many cases, there’s likely to be some turbulence. When you’re on a plane and hit a little bumpiness, do you jump off the plane? Do you return to the originating airport? Of course not. You hold on tight and continue to your destination. We might change course along the way—perhaps stop, regroup and alter the plan—but the endpoint doesn’t change.

As we continue to navigate these uncertain economic times, it’s important to remember to be patient. Here are tips to navigate any season of the market, from a bull market to a bear market, and from the Great Recession to the Covid-19 pandemic.


1. Stay connected with your financial advisory team.

Your personal investment advisor and their team can be a wealth of knowledge. They know your goals, they know your direction and, most importantly, they’ve likely weathered volatile market conditions before.

Make sure you are working with a seasoned team of professionals. Focused advisors set solid, reasonable expectations at the beginning of your relationship and check in frequently to make sure you’re on the right path. During turbulent times, tenured advisors know to communicate more often with you.

It’s also important to remember that you as the investor should be actively involved. Never be afraid to ask questions, and know that your trusted advisor should be happy to support you by listening and addressing any concerns you have.

2. Try to avoid emotional decision making.

This is, of course, easier said than done. There’s a lot of noise that comes with a turbulent market, but it’s necessary to tune it out. If the situation calls for it—and your advisor recommends it—be open to making changes. Also, look for opportunities during volatile markets as there are often options that could be lucrative. Avoid acting out of fear as it rarely produces favorable results.

3. Connect with others on your core financial team, such as your accountant.

Your financial advisor is just one part of your core financial team. Other professionals, such as your accountant, can play a vital role, as well. They can suggest the best tax strategies and their respective benefits that you can take advantage of during the market’s ebbs and flows.

4. Consider taking advantage of your work benefits.

One option that some advisors suggest is to max out your 401(k) benefits. During market turbulence, you may be tempted to decrease or stop your 401(k) contributions; however, in my experience, it is often best to avoid that decision. In today’s market, for example, you’re basically buying at new market lows when it comes to your 401(k) contributions, which can increase the opportunity for growth over time. Plus, there’s also a tax deferral that occurs by putting money in your retirement accounts, so your overall salary is lowered at tax time.

Channeling patience during volatile financial market waves can be pivotal to the bottom-line results. Stay informed, stay connected to your advisors and trust in the lessons illustrated through history in order to stay on track with your long-term goals.

The information provided here is not investment, tax or financial advice. You should consult with a licensed professional for advice concerning your specific situation.

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