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Financial Planning
Date: May 12, 2020

Are My Savings Coronavirus Prepared? Do I Need a Financial Advisor?

The coronavirus pandemic has affected billions of people around the world, closed wide areas of the United States, and shuttered schools and businesses that are just now beginning to cautiously reopen.  It also caused financial markets to plummet. 

Let’s discuss ways to get your financial life balanced. Contact The Normandy Group today!

 

A coronavirus-inspired stock market slide began in late February and eventually put broad stock market indexes such as the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) and Standard & Poor’s 500 (S&P 500) in bear market territory, defined as a 20 percent decline or more.  (It should be noted, though, that the DJIA and S&P 500 rebounded in April, too, posting the best month since the 1980s.)

As a result, investors in Lakewood, Colorado may be asking two related, pressing questions:  Do they still need a financial advisor in a bear market?  Are their savings coronavirus prepared? 

We’ll briefly answer the first question.  Yes, you should still consider the services a financial advisor in Lakewood, CO can offer.  Advisors can assist you by creating custom investment, tax, and estate planning strategies to help you thrive financially and achieve your goals.  In fact, you may find that financial advisors are arguably more important in a bear market than ever.

Now, let’s move on to taking a closer look at the second question:

Preparing Your Financial Strategies

It’s easy to feel panic and dismay if stock markets are sliding and you’re invested in the financial markets.  Economic pain is widespread right now, with unemployment at all-time highs and closed businesses at record levels as well. 

However, the answers to the question “are my savings coronavirus prepared?” depends very much on a variety of aspects of your financial well-being.  A crucial factor of anyone’s financial well-being is your savings vehicles.  If your savings are primarily invested in stocks, you may have lost money on paper. 

It’s important to emphasize that all stock losses are paper losses until you actually sell the underlying asset.  That’s one reason that stock market investors would do well not to panic and sell in times of dropping markets. 

If bonds play a role in your savings, depending on what types of bonds you hold, you may find that the stock market drop may not have impacted these holdings as drastically. Coronavirus-inspired interest rate cuts may mean that bond yields going forward will be at historic lows.  The story is similar if your savings are in cash.  You may have realized small net gains due to the low interest rate environment. 

Both bonds and cash are valuable in any financial savings plan.  They may add stability to a portfolio by adding a level of diversification which creates a lower correlation to equities.  This can possibly minimize your overall portfolio risk, resulting in a “smoother” ride in times of stock market volatility.

The better question, perhaps, is where you go from here.  Your long-term strategy is thus more important than simply reacting to shorter-term events.  What could benefit investors now is to evaluate their actions with regard to three interdependent factors that determine long-term strategy: 

  • Timing
  • Risk tolerance
  • Goals

The answers to “how do I coronavirus-prepare my savings?” and “what do I do in a bear market?” can’t be answered without considering these elements. 

Timing

The coronavirus may have affected your timing on accomplishing or working towards certain life goals.  If you’ve been saving for a major vacation, for example, it’s very likely you had to postpone it.  Travel has been virtually shut down globally. 

If you were planning to retire soon or are retired, and you’re not amply prepared, your plans could be significantly affected.  Most retirees withdraw living expenses from their portfolios during retirement.  Working with a financial advisor to help you maximize your retirement portfolio has probably never been more important.  If you must make a withdrawal from your IRA or 401k this year to live on, it may be prudent to take them from bonds or cash positions, so that you don’t diminish your stock holdings more than market action already has. 

Risk Tolerance

A financial advisor can help evaluate your individual risk tolerance and suggest ways to balance your portfolios based on your risk level.  Historically, we have seen that stocks have the highest returns, on average, over time.  But because they can fluctuate and can decline, a sensible portfolio may be better off including a certain percentage of bonds and cash, which may fluctuate far less.

Risk often goes hand in hand with your time horizon.  One common portfolio strategy, for instance, is to increase the amount of conservative investments in retirement portfolios, such as cash instruments, as folks age, to prevent a sudden decline just as they approach retirement and to safeguard their nest eggs during retirement.

Risk tolerance can and does vary from person to person.  Financial advisors can work with you to determine your own risk tolerance, and create a portfolio that is more suitable to your individual preferences.

Goals

Everyone’s financial and life goals depend on their own situation, preferences, and desires. Whether you want to retire, start a business, build a home, travel, provide for your dependents, and more, your financial plan needs to start with an emphasis on the goals you want to achieve. 

Financial advisors specialize in helping their clients to achieve their financial goals.  We also specialize in risk management, to help you achieve your goals while helping you to stay within your chosen level of risk.

Which leads us back to “do I need a financial advisor in a bear market?” At The Normandy Group, we will make sure we understand your situation, your goals, your preferences, and your ability to tolerate risk.  We’ll help you create an investment strategy that meets your needs. Once we have your approval, we’ll implement the strategy and keep it up to date.

We’ll share everything we do along the way, in plain English, so it’s easy to understand.  We’re always available to answer any questions you may have.

The CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ Professionals and CERTIFIED ESTATE PLANNERS™ at The Normandy Group offer serious financial planning for today’s complex world.  By combining tax, financial, and estate planning strategies we can help you achieve your goals. Contact us today for a complimentary consultation.

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Derek Landis
Author:

Derek Landis