Most investors worry about the next market downturn and try to figure out when it will occur. But they don’t develop specific action plans. That’s a major oversight.
You need to plan now for the next downturn.
Back in March when the markets and economy plunged, many people didn’t have plans. Of course, few were expecting a bear market. That downturn was caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, not by changes in monetary or fiscal policy. Some reacted to all the scary headlines about the markets and the pandemic by selling stocks. Others spent a lot of time reviewing as much information as they could and agonized over what to do.
Fortunately for those who didn’t do anything, the markets rebounded quickly after the Federal Reserve opened the money spigots and Congress provided fiscal stimulus. Unfortunately for those who sold in the panic, the markets rebounded quickly.
It’s important to make a plan now for the next downturn. In particular, make plans for what you will do and won’t do under different circumstances. Emotions of the moment will influence your actions less if you develop a plan now. You’ll be less influenced by the talking heads, market noise, and doomsayers. Plus, you have the time to consider all the angles relatively dispassionately. The fact is, most market downturns catch investors by surprise. You need to think hard about a market decline when one doesn’t seem likely. The closer you are to retirement, the more important it is to develop a plan now.
Some people will decide they’re able to ride out any fall in their portfolios. They’ll rebalance their portfolios as stocks decline but not take other actions. Others will decide to reduce their stock exposure but only if markets decline by a certain amount or key economic or market