“Fear defeats more people than any other one thing in the world.” -Ralph Waldo Emerson
We’re in it now. A true bear market*. Stocks and investments are on a downward trend and at the same time costs for essential living seem to be going up faster than you can blink.
You know what else is going up? Fear. Pessimism. Negativity.
You can feel it, all around you. People are scared. They’re anxious. They’re angry. And a lot of people seem to be convinced that this environment, this market, will never change.
I’m here to tell you…the market typically will change. CHANGE is the one true constant.
It is, to say the least, an interesting time as a financial advisor.
I think it’s ALSO a good time to pause for a moment or five to ask yourself: what am I REALLY afraid of right now?
Do any of these fears resonate with you today?
- You’re scared that your financial independence feels like it’s at risk
- You’re fearful that the market – and your life – will never “go back to normal”
- You’re worried about your kids’ financial futures – and THEIR kids’ financial futures
- You’re feeling anxiety around your future; will you be able to live the kind of life you want to live, if things don’t “turn around”?
Here’s the thing. There’s NEVER a guarantee that your investments will “pay off.” However, you know what DOES pay off? Time spent in the market.
It’s important to keep in mind that you’ve invested (with your advisor) in a way that feels right to you. You’re matching your values with your investments (I hope) and you’ve made decisions to prepare for market volatility. In short: you KNEW this bear market was coming – it’s ALWAYS a possibility.
One thing that might help mitigate some of the fear you’re feeling right now? Writing. Consider writing a financial mission statement today – something you can refer back to when your anxiety and fear seems overwhelming. This is a statement that’ll keep your priorities – and your financial goals – clear.
Here’s another thing. This current market is no more “normal” than one with LESS or MORE volatility.
The definition of “normal”? It’s always, always changing. What was “normal” 20 years ago is not normal today. What was “normal” 5 years ago…seems out of touch today. The best advice I can share with you to mitigate your fears about the “normalcy” of the market? The “normal” is always changing and shifting. Feel confident in the decisions you’ve made with an advisor you trust.
Keep this in mind, too: it’s documented, by many economists and financial professionals, that selling out as the market is going down is the WORST move you can make. Here’s why. When you cash out, because of fear of loss, timing a recovery in the market is challenging – especially in comparison to those who stay in the market during turbulent times. Staying invested in the market is one of the best ways to grow assets simply because we cannot time “the up.” Missing the days up after you’ve cashed out is devastating to return.
Here’s the important truth: it’s SO hard to watch the markets go down. (And, frankly, this market could likely continue a downward trend.) You may well feel anxious and scared as you watch the numbers drop. And then drop some more. Remember this: I’m thinking about your wellbeing in the long-term and I’d encourage you to think about that, too. Rather than making decisions based in fear and anxiety, decisions based in the NOW, let’s think together about your long-term goals and confirm that we’re making choices that feel right to you.
Here’s another important truth to keep in mind, too: the market has historically gone
back up, too. That’s the truth. It goes up and down – THAT is the “normal.”
Fear is in the air. Negativity and pessimism abound. Let’s work together for as long as it takes to mitigate your anxieties and make the choices that feel best to you.
*If you’re looking for a definition of what a bear market is, I like this one: a bear market “is defined by a prolonged drop in investment prices — generally, a bear market happens when a broad market index falls by 20% or more from its most recent high. There can be bear markets for a market as a whole, such as in the Dow Jones Industrial Average, as well as for individual stocks. The S&P 500, for example, hit bear market territory on June 13, 2022.” (Source here)