The Coronavirus and Market Volatility

“We can’t tell you when things will turn or by how much, but our expectation is that bearing today’s risk will be compensated with positive expected returns. That’s been a lesson of past health crises, such as the Ebola and swine-fu outbreaks earlier this century, and of market disruptions, such as the global financial crisis of 2008–2009. Additionally, history has shown no reliable way to identify a market peak or bottom. These beliefs argue against making market moves based on fear or speculation, even as difficult and traumatic events transpire.” – The Coronavirus and Market Declines from Dimensional Fund Advisors

We agree that this is an unsettling time. It’s as if remaining abreast of the latest Coronavirus information isn’t trying enough. So, we get to read news of market volatility worse than anything we’ve seen in recent years. This is enough to cause anyone to lose sleep, but you shouldn’t. Is that easier said than done? Probably. However, as we have during past market corrections and periods of volatility, we ask you to remember two key points:

1) This Too Shall Pass: As we wrote in April of 2019, the substantial market volatility we all experienced in the fourth quarter of 2018 passed and had fully recovered by the day we published that article. We can’t say when the Coronavirus or the related market volatility will pass, but we can say with near-certainty that it eventually will, which leads us to the second favor we ask of you…

2) Remember that if your goals don’t change, your plan doesn’t change: If you’re reading this, you know we time the decisions we make with your money not based on the market, but instead on your goals. If at the moment, you’re making periodic contributions into your investment portfolio for the purpose of funding a future goal, then we are going to continue making those contributions unless your goal for this money changes. If instead, you’re relying on your investment portfolio to fund a current goal, such as retirement, then we are going to similarly, stay the course, unless the amount of withdrawals you need from your portfolio for this goal changes.

We understand this is an unpleasant time and we would never blame you for the feelings you may be having, but with regard to your money, you also have us to shoulder the concern. You hired us to be stewards for your wealth and its during times like this that we ask you rely to on us to help keep the consequences of what’s happening in the world in the context of your goals and financial plan.

As always and we mean this more than ever, if you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to call, email, or schedule a visit.

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Tom Markowitz, PhD

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