Market Volatility Causing Stress? Time to Practice Some Self Care

By Jillian Sarmo, Investor Education and Public Affairs Coordinator ~

If you’ve been paying any sort of attention to the news lately, you’ve likely suffered from the whiplash associated with the recent volatility in the markets. Every day the up and down roller coaster has news casters, pundits, and experts in a tizzy over what they predict is coming as 2019 gets underway. Will there be a recession? Are we witnessing the start of a “bear market?” No matter how much or how little you may have tied to Wall Street, it can be stressful to contemplate how a volatile market might affect you, your job, or the people you love. When following news like this gets overwhelming, the best thing to do, according to financial experts and advisers, is to take as step back and look at the bigger picture. The following five suggestions can help us all reevaluate, reframe, and refresh our perspective on the financial prospects of 2019.

1) Remember, no one can predict with certainty what the market will do. While it’s tempting to listen to pundits or to talk with friends and neighbors about their thoughts, take everything that’s said with a large grain of salt. Markets are by their very nature unpredictable, and if it’s becoming too stressful or all-consuming to follow them on a daily basis, take some time, and tune it all out.

Jillian Sarmo

Jillian Sarmo

2) Consider putting aside a few hours to conduct an assessment and ensure that your basic expenses (housing, utilities, food, insurance premiums, and taxes) are covered. In the event of a bear market or another recession it may be necessary for people to once again tighten their belts a bit, and that’s okay. But make sure that the most basic and important expenses are covered so that you will have less to worry about, now and later.

3) Consider talking to your adviser and reviewing your investment plan. Make sure you are clear and honest about what your risk tolerance is, as well as what your goals are for your future. If you don’t understand something, speak up! You are your own best advocate when it comes to how your money is managed, so be sure that you not only understand what you’re hearing, but can repeat it back in a way that makes sense.

4) Make decisions that are reason-based, not emotional. When there is a level of uncertainty surrounding the markets, and more broadly the economy, it can be easy to panic and imagine how your life or spending might change. The best thing you can do is focus on the broad picture and avoid knee-jerk reactions.

5) Focus on what’s really important – that probably doesn’t include the stock market. Once suggestions one through four are completed, close the paper, turn off the TV, and focus on the things in life that really matter like your friends, your family, and your hobbies.

Of course, if you are really concerned and don’t know where to turn, please reach out. The Division of Securities is happy to assist with putting people in touch with community resources. While we cannot recommend people, products, or institutions and cannot give legal advice, we have a strong network of organizations that can assist people with financial concerns, so give our hotline a call at (720) 593-6720.