Merriam Webster’s dictionary has several definitions to the word “uncertain”
First on the list is “Not known beyond doubt” followed by “Not clearly identified or defined”.
Anyhow you slice it, uncertain times just don’t feel good.
As human beings, I think we all like the idea of certainty. Most of us don’t welcome change and the thought of what might happen (Especially if we perceive the outcome to be bad) can really make us uncomfortable.
Whether uncertainty is lurking in our relationships, our home life, our jobs, and if you watch the news as of late, our finances, it takes us out of our comfort zone.
When it comes to our finances, we could go back a hundred years and find many examples of uncertainty.
More recently, we can look back to March of 2020 when COVID was hitting the news and the S & P 500 fell 12% in just one day1.
More recently, we saw further declines due to the war in Ukraine, rising inflation, (and with it, rising interest rates to help curb inflation).
The bottom line is, there has always been uncertainty in the world and there will continue to be so.
These challenges are certainly a basis for concern however, they don’t need to be a cause of panic. As someone that has been working with folks for 30 years, making decisions when you are under stress are usually decisions that should be discussed with a professional before acting upon.
If you are a long-term investor, the declines (and advances) are a normal pattern of a broad-based stock market. Bear in mind, investing in stocks is uncertain and carries risk of loss.3
If you could go back in time and someone had a crystal ball and they told you the following, would you invest in the stock market or stay invested?
- In 2001 there will be a terrorist attack on U.S soil where nearly 3,000 die
- There will be a financial crisis between 2007 and 2009 lasting over 18 months
- There will be a global pandemic in 2020 ultimately killing over 1,000,000 in the U.S and over 6,000,000 worldwide2
So, what is one to do during times of uncertainty?
First, it makes sense to have a financial plan and see if you are still on track to meet your financial goals.
If you are working with a Certified Financial Planner® practitioner, reach out to them if you have questions or concerns or if your situation has changed. A recent job loss, a health issue, a change in your marital situation, a new child, are just some reasons to revisit your plan.
It also may be a good time to look at your tolerance for risk. This is a measure of how you might feel if your portfolio goes down a certain percentage. Check out my other article, 5 Things to Consider About Your Risk Tolerance to learn more.
Any questions, we are here to help.
Want to schedule a quick call with me? Click HERE.
All the best.
Rick Fingerman, CFP®, CDFA™, CCPS®
3. Investments involve risks. The investment return and principal value of an investment may fluctuate so that an investor’s shares, when redeemed, may be worth more or less than their original value. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. There are no guarantees. It is best to speak with an investment professional that knows your personal situation before investing
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