During the market crash of 2008, many people’s first thought was, “sell, sell, sell!” But maybe your financial advisor told you not to panic. Our financial climate is constantly changing, and it’s understandable to freak out when stocks take a small dive. Here are three tips for what to do when the market falls (besides sell your stocks):
1. Stay the course. You can never really prepare for a market swing. None of us know what will happen tomorrow, especially in political climates that are unstable, so all I can tell you is to stick to your financial plan.
Don’t get caught up in headlines or your emotions. For most of us, the emotional piece is the one that is the most challenging. It’s easy to get caught up in your feelings and let them dictate impulsive changes to your plans.
Your financial plan serves as your financial roadmap and helps you focus on the larger picture. If you have a solid plan, then you know that even a big dip in the market won’t ruin your retirement plans. And if you have other goals, your plan will help you stay focused on them. By focusing on your plan, you can take some of the emotions out of investing.
2. Look for buying opportunities. Once you have a solid financial plan, then you can look for opportunities that fit into that plan. The upside to a volatile market is that there can be an opportunity to buy. The old saying “buy low, sell high” exists for a reason. If things didn’t work out, you may have an opportunity for tax loss harvesting.
For baby boomers and Generation X, who tend to be more nervous in fluctuating markets due to their closeness to retirement, it might be a good time to review your financial plan and make changes if necessary. This could also be a good reminder that you should review your investments to make sure they are in line with your risk tolerance and time horizon.