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Thoughts On Yesterday’s Market Decline

Once again the capital markets are exhibiting a high degree of volatility. Yesterday the Dow fell 799 points, representing a 3.1% decline. The media attributes the loss to new uncertainty over the alleged trade “agreement” reached with China in Buenos Aires last week that had been touted so positively by Trump. Other political concerns in the news, such as a possible repudiation of the latest Brexit agreement in the UK and unrest in France due to high fuel costs, could also be contributing to investor sentiment turning negative. But no one really knows.

As I’ve written before, it’s important to keep things in perspective:

  • There was an 831 point drop by the Dow in October. Nobody is concerned about that anymore.
  • The S&P 500, even after yesterday’s 3.2% decline, still remains positive for the year. We have not experienced a major market correction (yet).
  • Other than a slowdown in housing outside the Bay Area, there no data indicating that the U.S. economy is slowing down (although a trade war could cause a recession if Trump actually moves forward with his threats).

It’s natural to become uncomfortable when investment markets become unsettled. These are the times to remind yourself that your financial success is based not on the size of your investment portfolio at any given moment but rather on the ongoing degree to which that portfolio will support all the future goals in your financial or retirement plan. Those of you with more conservative investment strategies will experience less of an impact from yesterday’s market drop than those of you following more aggressive strategies. But in either case, even with a temporary drop in the value of your investments, you will likely be fine over time.

Most importantly, you should stay calm and refrain from making decisions that may be detrimental to your long term goals. If you are not yet retired, this current downturn should have very little impact on your future. Even if you are currently retired, by effectively planning your portfolio withdrawals you will be insulating yourself from having to sell large amounts of assets at steep losses should the markets continue to decline.

In short, go out and enjoy your life and don’t worry about day-to-day market movements.



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