Remember that saying about March coming in like a lion and out like a lamb? Unfortunately, the coronavirus is highly unlikely to dissipate that quickly. Still, the sentiment reminds us how bear markets are like winter showers nurturing spring flowers. For every ferocious bear we’ve historically encountered, an uplifting bull has eventually followed.
But it may be a while. And we aren’t discounting the downpour we must endure until then. For now, here’s some coverage on what we, you, and the market can do while we hunker down at home, and wait for better days.
What We’re Doing Today
As always, our specific advice and actions will vary, depending on your needs. In general, we are closely following fast-moving legislative updates and other news, so we can advise you on how it may impact you and your particular circumstances. Here are a few other areas of interest we’re keeping an eye on, on your behalf:
- Tax planning and money management: Helping you optimize new tax breaks, loans, grants, unemployment benefits, and similar relief measures for individuals and businesses
- Financial life planning: Helping you judiciously respond to the opportunities and challenges specific to your near- and long-term interests and concerns
- Retirement planning: Helping young investors exploit now-higher future expected returns; and helping those in and near retirement manage “sequence risk” (more below)
- Investment management: Rebalancing, tax-loss harvesting, and making other prudent moves to best position your portfolio for future expected growth
- Investor support: Advising you against fixating on daily returns or reacting rashly to scary market news
In short (and as always), we want to remain informed about how you’re doing personally, so we can help you remain informed about the evolving financial landscape – especially about changes that might directly impact you, for better or worse.
What You Can Do for Yourself
There’s good news here: One of the reasons you partnered with us was to structure your plans and investments in anticipation of periodic bear markets like the one we’re seeing now. So, together, we’ve already done the heavy lifting to prepare you for the current crisis.
Essentially, among the most important things you can currently do for your financial well-being is to largely look past all the market’s mayhem, and focus instead on making the most of your life. Try to “set your egg timer to six months,” as this moving piece by Contrarian Edge’s Vitaliy Katsenelson suggests. Consider his advice (emphasis ours):
“We have been given a very unique opportunity to divorce ourselves from material things and spend time with our family. To really spend time with them. We have been given the rare opportunity to prioritize what is most important to us without guilt. The material world is on pause, at least for a few weeks. Try to make the most of it while you can.”
What Time Can Do for Your Retirement Planning
Again, if you are a younger investor, decades away from retirement, current market conditions can actually benefit you greatly. You can buy equities now while prices are low (or at the very least not abandon the ones you already hold), and watch their expected growth compound over time. Especially if you can do this in a tax-sheltered account like a 401(k), traditional IRA, or Roth IRA, you can build even more long-term wealth, even more dramatically.
However, if you are in or near retirement, the truth is, the current market is not ideal for you. You might face what are known as sequence of return risks if you must sell depressed stock holdings to fund your current spending needs. Essentially, selling stocks at a loss early in retirement inflicts a double-whammy on your portfolio’s future growth potential.
Detailed withdrawal strategies for managing sequence risk is beyond the scope of this piece. But best practices do exist. This is one critical reason we are glad to be here as your advisor, to help you weigh the challenges and possibilities ahead of you, and proceed in an informed manner.
We Are (Still) Here!
To reiterate: We remain here to support you, so you can best support yourself and your loved ones during these challenging times. We and our strategic alliances are well prepared to conduct business online. Please continue to lean on us for both routine requests as well as specialized demands driven by the current crunch.
Of course, your unique circumstances will influence the financial choices we’ll be advising you to make in the months ahead. But again, your most rational move is to stick with the robust plan you’ve already got in place. Update it only when your life’s circumstances call for a change.
When can we next get together with you (virtually) to review your financial plan, retirement plan, portfolio management, investment strategy, or any other topics that are top of mind for you? We would be happy to do so at any time.
Andrea L. Blackwelder, CFP®, ChFC, CDFA® and Joseph D. Clemens, CFP®, EA are the founders and partners of Wisdom Wealth Strategies. Their shared passion is simple: to bring financial empowerment, understanding, and peace-of mind to people who wish to improve their financial future, build wealth for their families, and achieve financial independence. Click here to find out more about how you can work with the Denver Financial Advisors at Wisdom Wealth Strategies.