5 Tips to Survive Stock Market Instability

StopUnless you’ve been living in a cave throughout the summer, you’ve been reading alarming headlines about the economic problems in China and our own massive stock market drop toward the end of August. You’re probably wondering how these events will affect your own financial future, and it can be easy to allow doomsday scenarios to play out in your head.

But as we all know, a more positive approach to any problem is the better way to address your fears. Try not to become wrapped up in anxiety over the market, and use these tips to navigate our current economic climate to your benefits.

Don’t panic. How many times have “experts” predicted nightmare scenarios that never actually played out in real life? Remember the Y2K panic? Making emotional decisions is rarely a good idea in investing so don’t allow your worries to drive you to drastic decisions right now.

Take advantage of low prices. We all know that what goes up, must come down. But the opposite is often true of the stock market as well. Right now, you can grab terrific deals on typically pricey stocks, like Apple, Amazon, Netflix, or Tesla. Talk to your stockbroker about the options that interest you. You might be facing a prime opportunity to purchase stocks that are usually difficult to afford.

Don’t rush to the shelter of bonds. In times of uncertainty, many people tend to view bonds as a safe haven for stashing their money. But keep in mind that rising interest rates generally spell trouble for bond owners. Right now we’re enjoying historically low interest rates, and these rates could last for months or even years. But at some point, they will rise. If you rush to dump too much money in bonds now, you could regret it later.

Focus on the long run. Your investments need to perform well over ten, twenty, or thirty years as you head toward retirement. What happened this summer is a bump in the road, for sure, but over the long run a healthy balanced portfolio should still serve you very well.

Diversify your portfolio. Use this time as a reminder of how important it is to actively manage your portfolio. Schedule an appointment with your financial advisor, and discuss how to best spread your assets over the appropriate classes and sectors of the market.