From rebound to reverse, the market has shown its volatile side this week, putting investors’ nerves and confidence to the test. On the first day of trading in 2016, global stocks took a sharp tumble amid signs of an economic slowdown in China. U.S. stocks followed suit with the S&P 500 down by 1.5 percent on the same day.1
As uncomfortable as the ride may be, the current circumstances seem to confirm what we already know: markets go up, and yes, markets go down. In times like these, we choose to remain steadfast to the tenets of our investment philosophy, keeping our eyes focused on the long term — not the headlines.
But tuning out the noise and sticking with the plan can be tricky, even for the most experienced investor. So we decided to ask four of our advisors to share their insights on the current market climate, and how viewing volatility through the perspective of our investment approach is more prudent than panicking:
Benjamin Hayes, CFP® | Principal, Senior Financial Advisor
“This is why we plan. It’s why projecting out your financial future and stress-testing your financial plan is so important. Market volatility is nothing new, but when you’re in the middle of a market drop, it can be difficult to stay calm. Going through the planning process gives you confidence during these difficult investment periods — confidence to stay disciplined and focused on your long-term goals. We can’t control the markets, but we can control how we react to them.”
John Bussel | Principal, Chief Investment Officer, Regional Director
“While it can be hard to do, make volatility your friend as much as possible. These situations can be a good opportunity to invest in equities with excess cash or rebalance back to targeted policy allocations. Look to harvest unrealized tax losses that can be used against future gains. Markets tend to recover well ahead of problematic issues being fully resolved, so holding back until ‘things settle down’ tends to not be a successful strategy. Stick with the plan.”
Nate Wenner, CPA, PFS, CFP®, CIMA® | Principal, Regional Director
“The financial markets will generally reward patient investors —those who recognize that their money won’t all be spent in the near term, and those who forgo Wall Street’s ‘today is what matters’ focus. These investors, who spread their wealth prudently and act over the long game, will tend to have favorable outcomes and be happy.
Conversely, the markets tend to work against speculators who act within short-term time frames — those who try to outguess the market, attempting to find the right time to change strategies again and again. Such reactionary investors may occasionally guess right. However, by acting ‘in the now’ with their emotions guiding them, they will often end up selling investments near market low points and buying at higher comfort points, which can lead to a more frustrating and less rewarding experience.”
Patrice Cresci, CFP® | Principal, Regional Director
Redwood City, CA
“Times of volatility can be scary, but being reactive can derail your entire financial plan. The best approach is to take a step back, regroup with your advisor and ask yourself some questions: Has something in your life changed significantly that might prompt a change to your investment strategy? Has your income or spending changed drastically? Do you have enough funds in cash? Is your allocation still right for your situation?
As an advisor, I help my clients focus on what they CAN control. This includes their risk profile, their allocation to stocks versus bonds, their level of diversification, their tax impact (yes, to a very real extent, you can control taxes!), their insurance coverage, their charitable giving plan and so much more.”
If today’s economic climate tells us anything, it’s that timing the market’s unpredictable ebbs and flows is nearly impossible — and that a trusted, experienced advisor can provide clarity, confidence and focus through the ups and downs, while helping you maximize opportunities for the future.
If you aren’t a Hewins Financial | Wipfli Hewins client, it’s important to know that this is where an advisor earns their pay — employing sophisticated strategies to help investors like you navigate market uncertainty.
Do you want to connect with an advisor who can create a smart, efficient and focused investment strategy for you? Please call 888-520-3040 or search for an advisor at an office near you.