Checking on your investments shouldn’t cause your blood pressure to spike. But daily headlines about trade wars and their potential effect on the market can make investors can feel like Chicken Little anytime their portfolios aren’t trending upward.
Even though you know that pulling your money out of the market is the worst thing to do during a fluctuation, it can be hard to ignore the fear-mongering voice in your head. So here are some easy ways to stay calm when you’re worried about the sky (or the market) falling:
1. Consistency is Key
Building wealth with your investments is about habit and slow-and-steady progress. That means regularly investing on a schedule, even during market downturns—which gives you the advantage of dollar-cost averagingi.
Here’s how: Regularly investing equal amounts in a portfolio means you will sometimes buy more shares at a low price, or fewer shares at a high price, depending on how much your habitual investment can buy. This maximizes your profits because you have more low price shares that can go up, and fewer high price shares that can go down.
Knowing that your consistent investment habit will give you the dollar-cost averaging benefit can help you feel more confident when everyone else is panicking.
2. Make Like Odysseus
Epic hero Odysseus longed to hear the fatal song of the sirens, who used their otherworldly voices to lure sailors to their deaths. Odysseus plugged his crewmembers’ ears and tied himself to the mast of the ship. He heard the sirens’ song without being able to seize control of the ship.
Use Odysseus’s example to keep yourself from steering off course with your investments. You know that market volatility could make you lose your head, so make a plan for how to react before a market fluctuation happens.
You might lock yourself out of your investment accounts when markets are volatile, turn off business news notifications, or even commit to a buying strategy when the market is down. Having a plan in place ahead of time means you can ignore the sirens’ song of selling during a dip.
One great and practical strategy if you’re thinking about selling is to give your investment advisor a call. Don’t have one? Give Emperor Investments a call at 1-855-588-7577 and they can talk it through with you.
3. Focus on the Forest, Not the Trees
Markets fluctuate in the short-term, but if you step back and look at the big picture, you’ll see that returns consistently go up over time. This can be hard to focus on in the midst of a downturn. It never feels good to see your investments lose value, and it’s very easy to assume the downward trend will continue.
But simply looking at historical returns over time can help you contextualize any short-term losses. Even the overwhelming declines of 2000 and 2008, as painful as they were, proved to be temporary for the investors who stayed the course and kept their money in the market. The only certain way to lock in your losses is to sell during a downturn.
Recognize that what happens in any one day, week, month, or even year will not determine your investment outcomes.
i – Dollar cost averaging may help reduce per share cost through continuous investment in securities regardless of fluctuating prices and does not guarantee profitability nor can it protect from loss in a declining market. The investor should consider their ability to continue investing through periods of low price levels.