Many of you are going to open your investment account statements and see something that you haven’t seen in a while – losses. And many of you will wonder what you should do about that.
The stock market, as measured by the S&P 500 index, is down over 14% to start the year, with the NASDAQ down over 20%, and the Dow down just under 10%. Since it has been quite a long time, historically speaking, since many of you have seen a decline in the stock market of this amount, here are five things to do at this time:
First, turn off the talking heads on the TV business channels. They don’t know anything more than you do about what’s going to happen tomorrow, or next week, or next month, or anytime in the near future. They are only going to get you more anxious and potentially make you do something you will regret later.
Second, if you have the cash flow to be able to add to your investment accounts, do it now. Make, or continue making, contributions to your company retirement plan, your Roth or traditional IRA accounts, your kid’s 529 college savings accounts and any other accounts with a multi-year time horizon. While the prices of stocks are less than they were, it’s time to load up on less expensive shares while the getting is good. Think discount sales on your favorite companies like Amazon, Microsoft, Apple, and others.
Third, spend time with your family. Time is a limited resource, and you shouldn’t be wasting it on worrying about your investments and fretting about what the talking heads are saying. Pass out the hugs and tell them you love them. Family is everything……along with health.
Fourth, go see the doctor, eat some green vegetables, and go take a long walk. Remember, family and health.
Fifth, read a good book, watch a good play or movie, go out with friends, listen to some music, volunteer to help someone else, and enjoy your life. Time is short and you don’t want to waste the most valuable resource that you have.
There you have it – the five best things to do right now. Remember that every prior decline in the stock market has been temporary and has eventually resulted in a new all-time high. If you are properly balanced and diversified, you should be able to ride through these temporary market declines without excessive worry.
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