Until just a few months ago, the US economy had grown for the past decade without any significant decline in economic activity. Unemployment was low, home prices were high, and companies were reporting strong 2020 profit forecasts. As COVID-19 began to spread across the globe, markets were hit with significant volatility over uncertainty in how to contain the virus. Actions taken to combat COVID-19 have forced a sharp decline in economic activity, bringing global economies to a near standstill.
While no one likes to experience the downsid
e of investing, it's important to remember that volatility is normal, and though we can't control how the market moves, we can control how we
react. Staying the course is not
always easy, but history shows that the market rewards investors who can bear the volatility.
If fear of downward market shifts drove you to sell, now might be a good time to think about your strategy for re-entering. Experienced investors often view bear markets as great buying opportunities because the valuations of good companies have been knocked down due to circumstances beyond their control. An approach more practical than trying to time the market bottom is to set a long-term plan. Refocusing on the long-term can make fluctuations more tolerable, and maintaining this perspective can help you survive the challenging times.
One way to avoid futile attempts to time the market is with dollar cost averaging. This is where a fixed amount of money is invested at regular intervals, regardless of market ups and downs. This approach creates a strategy in which more shares are purchased at lower prices and fewer shares are purchased at higher prices. Over time investors pay less, on average, per share. For reference, see the chart below.
In addition to thinking long-term, it's critical to maintain a diversified portfolio that you're comfortable with. By spreading investments across a variety of asset classes, investors can buffer the effects of volatility on their portfolios, as losses in one asset category may be mitigated by gains in another. Being honest about your tolerance for risk is key to how you diversify. When you originally set your risk comfort level, you probably never imagined your tolerance would be tested like it has been these past few months. Knowing your risk comfort level and making sure your accounts are aligned with your investment goals and objectives can make all the difference in your planning.
At Saratoga Financial Services, we offer Riskalyze, a cutting-edge technology that pinpoints your acceptable level of risk. You can start by completing a 5-minute questionnaire to determine your Risk Number. We'll use that number to analyze your current portfolio and see how it aligns, showing you whether you are taking too much or too little risk for your tested comfort level. We'll then craft a portfolio that aligns with your personal preferences and priorities, allowing you to feel comfortable with your expected outcomes.
To learn more about Riskalyze and to find out your Risk Number today, click here to visit our website.
Whether you've been hesitant to enter the market for the first time, are thinking about re-entering after liquidating, or simply looking to reevaluate your investment strategy, we can help give you guidance. While there's still great uncertainty surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic, take comfort in knowing that we are here to answer your questions and ease your concerns. Please do not hesitate to call our office at (518) 584-2555 at any time.