Do you pay attention to the financial press or to what’s happening in the stock market (or bond market!) or to the price of broccoli at your local grocery store?
Just in case the answer to any of those is “A lot!” we wanted to reach out with a few thoughts.
And if the answer is “Nope!” then just feel free to stop reading right now. You don’t need it! And the last thing I want to do is make anyone anxious who wasn’t anxious to begin with. Our emotions can be our worst enemies in economic and market times like these.
This post is largely cribbed from an email we sent to all our clients last week. We thought that you “out there” might benefit from it, too.
Hopefully You Had Set Your Investments Up in a Way that Anticipated This…Crap.
We didn’t predict a market downturn now. That said, we knew it would happen…some time. We have worked with our clients to prepare their finances for just such a stressful time. And, ideally, so did you.
You put aside cash in an emergency fund.
You put aside in cash any money you’ll need for your life and goals in the next couple of years.
You only put money in the stock market if you don’t need it for years and years to come. Or, if you can afford to lose it.
Any money you put in your company stock, crypto, or other speculative investments is money you can afford to lose.
And If You Didn’t? It’s Not the End of the World.
If you’re in your early to mid career, the stock market losing about 17% of its value this year so far sucks. Your company stock losing half or more of its value super duper sucks.
But it should not be the end of your world. If you were on the cusp of retiring and never earning another penny? Yup, that’s some scary sh*t that could be really hard to recover from.
But you are young! Years ahead of you to earn, save, and invest!
So, scary? Yes. Disappointing? Yes. Castigating “2021 You” for not having sold more company stock while the prices were high? Yes.
Catastrophe? Proooobably not.
You have time to recover…and thrive.
Just maybe next time, don’t hold as much of your wealth in company stock? Maybe?
In Order to Have Up Markets, We Have to Have Down Markets. Even If They Suck.
Your 401(k) and other investments have likely lost a lot of money in the last several months. And you know what? THAT’S OKAY. (Technically, that’s “THAT’S PROBABLY OKAY, because I don’t know you and therefore can’t comment on your specific financial situation.”)
With our clients, we intentionally put most of their long-term/financial independence money in the stock market because stocks are what help your money grow over time.
Uuuuuunfortunately, we must pay a price for that long-term growth, and that price is shorter-term volatility and the occasionally scary AF down market.
The prolonged bull (i.e., going up) market of April 2009–2021 probably lulled most of us into a false sense of security (“whaddya mean, the stock market and my company stock do something other than rise in value?”).
Bull markets are part of the cycle. And, alas, so are bear (i.e., going down) markets.
Inflation Isn’t Pleasant. We’ll Get Through It.
Inflation will affect you. It will affect us, too.
It’ll affect you emotionally. My yoga studio just raised rates by 25%! Although that extra $5 won’t affect me financially, boy can I feel it.
It’ll affect you financially. Prolonged inflation, if it happens (still completely unknowable at this point!), will likely start to affect how much you can purchase. And inflation resulting in higher interest rates will certainly affect your ability to buy a home.
Could we enter another 1970s, with high inflation and a stock market that doesn’t go anywhere? The worst of both worlds? Sure could. Also, something else could happen.
Some of the most reliable ways we have to personally combat inflation in the long term is to invest in the stock market and real estate. We do that with our clients. If you have your long-term money stashed in part in those assets, you’re doing what you can to combat the scary, unpredictable specter of inflation.
If you’re interested in the history of inflation or other “macro” thoughts about why we’re experiencing it and what we can do going forward, I recommend this interesting—if nerdy—interview about inflation. From the well respected folks at Morningstar.
Especially when Sh*t Gets Real like this, I find these reminders especially helpful and important:
Stop watching news or social media coverage of the markets and economy.
Go spend some time walking under the trees (or whatever it is in your life that reminds you of the Bigger Picture and helps you breathe easier).
Remember that your strength and resilience lie in more than just your money. They lie in:
- your professional network
- your personal network
- your mad skeeellz
- the fact that you have confronted and overcome some pretty big challenges in the past…and can do it again
Remember: Nothing is ever as good—or bad—as it seems.
If you are So Done with trying to manage not just your finances but your emotions around your finances by yourself, scary times like these can be a great time to start working with a financial planner. Reach out and schedule a free consultation or send us an email.
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Disclaimer: This article is provided for educational, general information, and illustration purposes only. Nothing contained in the material constitutes tax advice, a recommendation for purchase or sale of any security, or investment advisory services. We encourage you to consult a financial planner, accountant, and/or legal counsel for advice specific to your situation. Reproduction of this material is prohibited without written permission from Flow Financial Planning, LLC, and all rights are reserved. Read the full Disclaimer.