What should you be doing with your investments?
Uncertain times bring, well, uncertainty, and that extends to your finances. The market is unpredictable, tensions are high, and financial advice seems to be flying everywhere, sometimes contradicting itself.
If you’re not sure what to do with your investments right now, or if you should be doing anything at all, we have you covered with some tips and ideas for helping your investments stretch as far as they can.
Take stock (no pun intended)
Before you decide to even look into making changes with your investments, you need to ask yourself why you are doing it. Is it because you’re worried about your employment status? Are you afraid that you won’t be able to make changes later as a result of the coronavirus? Taking the time to understand why you want to make these decisions is important, because you don’t want to let fear drive your financial choices. Make sure your reasons are sound before taking any further steps.
Make a goal
You might be new to the world of investments, and you followed the advice of your accountant to the letter without taking a lot of time to consider your options. It’s always a good idea to consult with an expert, but you also need to make sure you have a goal in mind for every financial aspect of your life, including your investments. Creating a “financial road map” will allow you to make informed decisions that are designed to benefit you in the long run.
Keep it diverse
Whether you are in the middle of a pandemic or it’s just another Taco Tuesday, financial experts agree that keeping your investments spread out over different categories can be beneficial in protecting your funds from changes in the market.
If you feel your investments are not diversified enough, contact your accountant to talk about your options. Again, this is not a message to panic and change everything because you think your portfolio is not diverse enough. Review your current plans and other options before making any changes.
Don’t panic sell
There are a lot of scary predictions out there right now for financial futures – everyone keeps hearing about the current financial crisis and how dire it is. While we would never advise you to ignore those warnings, it’s also imperative that you keep the big picture in mind when making decisions. Yes, times are currently rough for the economy – but that won’t always be the case. Don’t make rash decisions now that will affect you negatively in the future.
Leave your 401(k) out of it
It is very tempting to borrow money from your 401(k), especially if finances are tight. There are certain situations where the benefit outweighs the risk in this scenario, but they are few and far between.
Consider all of your options carefully before taking any steps in this direction. In the meantime, experts also suggest continuing your contributions toward your 401(k) – at the very least, contribute as much as your company will match. Remember, this current financial crisis will end, and your retirement will be waiting for you when it does.
Consult the experts
Don’t have an accountant? That’s okay. Odds are high that you know someone who does and can connect you for some basic questions. If that doesn’t work for you, do what the rest of us do and consult the all-knowing internet. Be mindful of your sources – you want to make sure that any blogs or websites you find are the real deal. But once you discover the right advice from the right expert, it will be easy to apply it to your own investments. Time Magazine compiled a list to get you started. Happy reading!
Don’t make choices based on the future
While it’s true that experts can make educated guesses when it comes to the financial health of the country, at the end of the day, there are many factors that could change your personal situation. We don’t say that to scare or discourage you; rather, it is vital that you not place all of your eggs in one basket, so to speak, when it comes to making financial decisions based on the future.
One expert may say the economy will recover in six months; another may say it will take ten years. Take your time, do your research, and make educated decisions based on facts and figures.
No one likes to make hard financial decisions during an economic downturn, but you can protect yourself from doing more harm than good with just a little research and understanding. Set aside some time to review your investments, adjust only where needed, and ride out the financial storm to where your smart planning is waiting on the other side.