Common sense thoughts on this bear market from a small town financial advisor and financial coach.
I am not a fancy financial advisor, y’all. Those working with me know I do not wear the power suit, and it is more like business on the top and comfort on the bottom for my Zoom meetings. I do not use big, technical words when talking to my clients, and I am not trying to impress you as much as I am trying to make an impression. While I don’t have the bougie Wall Street vibe, I have many years of investment and financial experience under my belt and have lived and invested through several bear markets and recessions. What those experiences have given me is priceless in that, while I’m not too fond of the market right now, I look at it like a seasoned and time-worn investor, and I am not scared for myself or my clients.
I read all day long. As a financial advisor and through Ranch Capital, I have access to valuable research, historical data, technical analysis, charts, figures, graphs, and “professional” and “expert” opinions. Aside from the historical information which doesn’t change, the one constant I see is that views and news headlines about what is happening, what will happen, and the reasons behind the daily volatility are all over the place. I pay attention to the pundits’ predictions about this market and the possibility of a recession as much as I want you to... not at all. None of this makes sense on a day-to-day basis. It is important to keep a long-term view.
Here is my commonsense, glamour free, analysis of the current economic climate, the market, and the possibility of a recession:
We are exiting a global pandemic that rocked the entire world. There is war in Ukraine. Inflation and gas prices are through the roof. Interest rates are rising and will continue to rise:
everything is ridiculously expensive
people have and will have less money to spend
businesses will likely earn less money in the coming months, possibly leading to lower earnings reports
those possible lower earnings reports may lead to further market declines
because of all this and the ever-changing headlines and fearmongering on news outlets (that sell ads to pay their bills), investors are jittery
the market is having some major price swings, which makes people more jittery
there is a high likelihood of a recession, which, by the way, is a normal part of the business cycle; however, it still makes investors jittery
if a recession happens, it could be short, or it could be long
eventually, a recession will end
eventually, investor jitters will subside, and confidence will return
eventually, businesses will have better earnings
the market will eventually go back up a lot
That is about as non-technical and fancy-word-free as you will hear from a financial professional. I don’t like the current stock market results any more than you do. But I am not worried.
I have seen this happen several times in my life and have ridden the market to the bottom and then rode the market back to the top. I always kept my cool and never sold in a panic. However, I took advantage of lower prices and bought companies and indexes that were “on sale.” I also continued to invest in my retirement, taking advantage of dollar-cost averaging. I never attempted to predict market bottoms or how long things would last. Essentially, I just tried to keep calm, and I carried on. And keeping a cool head saved me from making emotion-fueled, bad financial mistakes.
Here is my glamour-free advice to you all: Keep Calm and Carry On. Stick to the baby steps and follow the plan. My clients know that I follow Dave Ramsey’s Baby Steps and encourage them to do the same.
Have an emergency fund! There is peace knowing you have a cash cushion. Keep it and stay out of that emergency fund. Look at your current situation and evaluate whether you have enough cash. Increase that cash cushion if you think you will need it. Keep any money you need in the next 3-5 years in cash. That is very important. Tighten your belt. If you work with me, you also are following a budget and are working hard to cut expenses and save. Keep doing that. You are invested in high-quality, low-cost investments if you work with me. You are also working hard to save for your future. Keep doing that. Even if your portfolio is down, you are likely still earning dividends. Don’t lose sight of that! Dividends are like making rental income (if you own investment property.) Even if your property value decreases, you still earn rent. As long as you are able, keep investing in your retirement plan. Take advantage of dollar-cost averaging.
Notice I didn’t try and suggest that you make any significant investment changes or try and suggest you change your investment strategy. This is not individual investment advice, but it does apply to everyone. Stick with the plan and follow the steps! If you follow that advice, you should be in good shape and be able to ride this out. You can be assured that we are doing the same thing right alongside all of you. Try to ignore the bad news and live your best life, being good stewards of God’s provision. That is what I am doing my best to do! Let me know if I can help you!
"Godliness with contentment is great gain." (1 Timothy 6:6)