5 Things to Consider Before “Buying Low” and Investing During a Market Downturn
Laurence Hale, AAMS®, CRPS®
Principal/Managing Partner, Investment Advisor & Chief Investment Officer
While market volatility can cause investors to lose confidence in their investments, there are those out there who may find durations of volatility an opportune time to pad their portfolio.
If you’re wondering if now’s a good time to invest, start by taking these considerations into account. Then, if you’re still interested, get in touch with your financial advisor to review your options.
Why invest during a market downturn (a "bear market")?
Choosing to invest during a market downturn can make a lot of sense - asset prices have fallen hard, meaning those willing to invest now can likely get bonds, stocks, real estate and more for a fraction of what those assets are normally worth.
Those who were looking to cash out during a downturn can be in a difficult spot. But those who are still years, or even decades, away from cashing out what’s in their portfolio may be the ones who can really benefit from this downturn in the market (this is often the case for young investors just starting to build and diversify their portfolio). They have the time needed to watch the market recover and their bargain-priced assets slowly regain their value. Another way to think about this is, what would you do If your favorite store just announced a huge sale?
Consideration #1: Is My Emergency Fund Fully Stocked?
COVID-19 created financial burdens for millions of people - job loss, medical bills, or even the unexpected loss of a loved one. Even if you’re certain your job is secure and stable, it doesn’t mean you’re immune to loss of income during a market downturn.
You’ll find different people recommending different amounts, but a general rule of thumb is to have three to six months of salary available in a savings account as an emergency fund. As you consider putting your additional income towards investments, take a look at your savings first. You should feel comfortable with what you’ve already accrued and ready to live off of your savings if you had to. Once that’s taken care of, then you may be ready to turn your focus toward investments.
Consideration #2: Would It Be Better to Pay off My Debts?
If you find yourself in the position of choosing between paying down your debt or investing, there are plenty of factors to consider, and this would be something to consult with your financial advisor about. Working together, you may find that paying off debt will serve you better over increasing your investments, or If you capitalized on rates being low, you may find it is better to keep inexpensive debt and invest.
Consideration #3: Am I Rushing Into This?
While it can sometimes feel like the market turns overnight, it’s important to remember that recessions and downturns tend to stick around for a while. What does this mean for an investor eager to jump in? It means you have time. You can speak with your financial advisor and discuss the pros and cons of investing during a market downturn. There’s no need to make a hasty, emotionally driven decision by tomorrow. While the markets will continue to fluctuate, they’re not recovering overnight. Remember, the stock market Isn't a way to get to get rich quick.
Consideration #4: Am I Emotionally Prepared to Watch My Money Drop?
If you choose to buy while the market is in a downturn, there’s always a chance that you will buy when it has yet to reach “rock bottom.” This means that you, as an investor, should be prepared for the rollercoaster your investments will likely continue on. While investments are always fluctuating, during an especially volatile period, there’s a chance you’ll be watching your stocks rise and fall on a downward trend for months to come.
We all have a personal attachment to our money, and it’s important to consider the emotional toll watching your assets drop in value will have on you as an investor. If it’s unbearable to watch these fluctuations, then the potential gains may not be worth the emotional toll you have to endure. It’s important to express your concerns about this to your financial advisor before deciding to invest during a market downturn.
Consideration #5: Am I Still Following My Normal Investment Procedures?
Don’t treat the tempting prices of investment opportunities as a chance to forego your investment strategy or plan. This is a time in which you’ll want to be precise and logistical about the next investment decisions you make. It’s possible, for example, that your advisor may want to still invest in the companies and stocks you’re familiar with, not just those with the biggest drops in price.
In addition, you’ll want to work with a financial advisor to be sure you’re maintaining diversity and taking on an appropriate amount of risk. Together, you can be sure that these changes in your portfolio are still reflective of your greater long-term financial goals. If you’re in a position to do so, investing now could prove to be a beneficial move for your portfolio, but it is important to consider your decision carefully and thoroughly. Now more than ever, be sure to keep your advisor in the loop and consider your next financial decisions carefully.
Don’t have an advisor? Get in touch with us at Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Financial Advisors, and we’ll show you how our Plan Well, Invest Well, Live Well strategic financial planning process can be put to work to help you reach your financial goals and dreams.
Presented by Principal/Managing Partner Laurence Hale, AAMA, CRPS®. Securities and advisory services offered through Commonwealth Financial Network®, Member FINRA/SIPC, a Registered Investment Adviser. 697 Pomfret Street, Pomfret Center, CT 06259, 860.928.2341. http://www.whzwealth.com These materials are general in nature and do not address your specific situation. For your specific investment needs, please discuss your individual circumstances with your financial advisor. Weiss, Hale & Zahansky Strategic Wealth Advisors does not provide tax or legal advice, and nothing in the accompanying pages should be construed as specific tax or legal advice.