Provided By Moshe Alpert
As the COVID-19 pandemic still weighs heavily on us, it’s important to revisit what the last six months have taught us and how we can better recover and prepare.
At the outset of the pandemic, panic was rampant, and people were scrambling to sell their risky assets and move to safer holdings — a “sell-off” as we call it. It stems from the fear of companies going bankrupt, failing, and/or losing value, which in turn would also put pressure on each investors’ financial assets and overall plan.
After the initial panic has passed, we can look back and see what we have learned:
1) Behavioral coaching in investing is priceless. You’ll see advertisements for robo-advisors, as well as those denouncing the fees associated with working with a financial professional. People who are coached properly through a recession tend to be in a better place than those that aren’t. It is extremely difficult, even painful, to watch your assets recede 50 percent in the span of a few days, but someone objective and well-trained that will be there for you in these situations is worth every dollar you spend.
2) Know when to sell investments and know when to buy. If one was keenly observing what was taking place in the midst of the panic, they would have observed that after the market collapsed, there were little upward climbs before it would go back down again.
Imagine, due to an overabundance of water, our local Costco holds a sale and sells water at 50 percent off. What happens? People will rush to buy until the demand for water stabilizes.
Investing can be looked at in a similar way. When the markets collapse as they did early in 2020, prices were cut. We saw investors running to buy shares at a lower price while others had sold, causing those little upticks in the midst of the crisis.
3) We learned the value of dollar cost averaging. From a financial planning standpoint, those who set up their investment accounts on automatic deposits were in great advantage as well. Without thinking, those investors were continuing to buy while everything was falling in price, thereby accomplishing the same thing that the smart investors were doing, with limited effort. This is what is known as dollar cost averaging and is one component of a successful investment plan.
4) Have other assets in place that are not affected by the markets. Owning an emergency fund or any other safe and liquid nest egg can be a game-changer in times of market drops. Having easily accessible assets in place allows investors to not sell at a loss, but to rather tap into these funds and give them flexibility for their investments to recoup. Cash value life insurance is another valuable asset that has proved its purpose. For established policies, the guaranteed cash values could be used or borrowed against to allow for short-term cash needs.
5) Risk management is essential. Even if one were to not have experienced any market loss, being out of work due to COVID-19 or any other disability is another way to deplete your hard-earned assets. The need for life and disability insurances has shown to be a valuable lesson that COVID-19 has taught us.
6) A comprehensive plan can make all the difference and is arguably the most important lesson of all. Just placing money into the markets without a well-thought-out strategy both in the investment plan as well as in the context of one’s general financial plan can be hazardous. The presence of a professional, as well as a well-balanced approach, gives one the greatest chance of making the most of his/her money.
All investments carry some level of risk including the potential loss of all money invested. Past performance is no guarantee of future performance. No investment strategy can guarantee a profit or protect against loss in a down market.
Northwestern Mutual is the marketing name for The Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company, Milwaukee, WI (NM) (life and disability insurance, annuities, and life insurance with long-term care benefits) and its subsidiaries. Moshe Nison L Alpert, is an Insurance Agent of NM and Registered Representative of Northwestern Mutual Investment Services, LLC (NMIS), a subsidiary of NM, broker, dealer, registered investment adviser, and member FINRA (www.finra.org) and SIPC (www.sipc.org).