How to ride out market volatility
First Published: ADawnJournal.com Aug 7, 2008
Unless you are living under a rock these days, you're concerned about the recent market turmoil. Investors all over the world have been losing chunks of their portfolios every day. I remember that I stopped looking at my portfolio at some point and since then I have been checking it very infrequently. Poll after poll shows that the majority of investors are pessimistic about the future and they are making changes in their portfolios based on emotion and fear, not based on a calculated decision.
The most common action they are taking? Switching out of equities and parking money into money market products. Equities are at their lowest at this time and switching out of equities may cost you a lot more than you can possibly handle. It is never recommended to get rid of equities when they are at a heavy loss. Now, naturally, you are going to ask, "If we're not to get rid of equities, what could we do to ride out market volatility?" My number one suggestion would be: do nothing. Yes, indeed – do nothing. Just sit back, relax, fasten your seatbelt, and ride out the market volatility.
If you are not convinced yet, consider the following points:
- Diversification is the key to achieving stable returns throughout the good and bad times. A well-diversified portfolio should not fluctuate to the same degree as stock markets.
- Volatility is a normal part of investing. There will always be ups and downs in the market. Do not let market volatility divert your focus away from your goal. Stay invested, keep adding more money, and you will be fine in the long run.
- Investment is a discipline. Do not make decisions based on emotions. Research has shown that the stock market has averaged an annual 11% rate of return over the last 120 years. Stay invested for the long run – through good and bad times.
I would like to end today's article with a quote by legendary investor John Templeton. John Templeton recently died at the age of 95. He was famous for this quote: "Buy at the point of maximum pessimism." Templeton's quote makes perfect sense—whenever there were declines in the market, the market eventually recovered with greater gains. Investors who acted emotionally lost the most. That's why my advice is: Do Nothing. The market will recover and you will be in good shape again. Just be patient and ride out the volatility.