I originally wrote this in October of 2008, at the teeth of the last financial crises when the value of all asset classes seem to be going down and the S&P 500 was half the current value. Now that people are again worried about the market, it’s time to revive this post. Did you panic and sell last time when there didn’t seem to be any hope? Did you finally get back into the market? How did that decision work out financially? The answers to the above questions may help you weather this storm.
Many people will remember September 29, 2008 as a historic day in financial history due to the government’s refusal to bailout financial companies. It was certainly a day many of us will remember as I saw my twitter account filled with readers talking about their losses throughout the whole day.
Instead of talking about my own losses here, I want to share with you some of the activities that we can all do with this current bear market and uncertain economy.
- Add to Your Investments – As the market goes lower and lower, it gets increasingly harder to be bold enough to invest. Even though it works against our emotions, investing while everyone is frightened is the most efficient way to invest.
- Assess Your Risk Tolerance – We all heard about the relationship between time horizon and risk tolerance but a big part of risk tolerance is personal. On a day that the Dow goes down by 7%, it’s a great time to think about whether this makes you lose sleep at night. If it does, your asset allocation is too aggressive and it’s time to change it.
- Stop Reading the News if It Makes You Sick – There are just too many things important in life. Tuning out the news might not seem like the best advice but if it makes you happier, then it is the most important advice.
- Remind Yourself of What You Have – The stock market going down doesn’t mean the end of the world. Your family and loved ones are still beside you so cherish them.
- Sign Up to Win the MoneyNing Starbucks Contest – If you get a Frappucino, the ice might freeze your brain for some temporary relief.
- Examine the Family Emergency Fund – If you still don’t have an emergency fund (or if you keep spending it), don’t you think it’s time to start one?
- Concentrate on the Job – My workplace is so lifeless these days as everyone is more worried about their 401ks then their careers. If you can be the energetic one, you will really stand out and be remembered as a capable employee.
- Do Something Nice for Someone Else – Many people are in a bad mood these days. Make someone happy by doing something for him/her. It would make you feel happier knowing you are helping others too.
- Stop Listening to Your Financial Planner’s New Advice – I am always amazed when the so called experts change the advice they give based on current market conditions. The right adviser will have already made a plan with us through good AND bad times. We need a proactive financial planner, not a reactive one.
- Stop Complaining – Shh.
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