Market volatility. Most investors understand this is a normal occurrence when investing but that doesn’t necessarily make it any easier to stomach the rollercoaster balances in your accounts. Your chest feels constricted, your jaw is tight, at the back of your mind there are nagging worries that frequently send you down a rabbit hole of “what-if” scenarios. Understandably you’re worried: it’s your livelihood, your future, your quality of life, your legacy.
But given that making knee-jerk financial decisions based on emotional reasoning is unlikely to get your investments to where you want them to go, here are a few suggestions of ways to hang tight and stay calm through a period of market volatility.
- Limit your exposure
Continual exposure to negativity, even in small amounts, can be stress-inducing and it keeps those concerns front and center in the mind. Having nearly unlimited information readily available, while generally convenient and advantageous, can be difficult to filter and can quickly eclipse its usefulness. Limit overexposure to information by removing or muting economic and market updates from your social and news feeds, change the television station, remove widgets from your phone, and make the home page of your web browser a neutral site such as Google.
Set aside a predetermined amount of time each day or week to consume economic news, aiming for the morning or mid-day rather than at night before bedtime. Set a timer if you need help sticking to the time limit! Having a scheduled time to worry can help prevent it from bleeding over into other parts of your day, e.g. “I don’t have to think about this right now, I will worry about it at this (specified time).”
- Stay active and social
Spend time doing things that bring you pleasure and with people whom you love. Go for a walk or a bike ride, catch up with a friend, do some simple stretches or yoga, garden, play fetch with your dog, FaceTime your grandchildren, binge-watch a television series, cook yourself a nice meal. The options are endless! Make a list of ideas to reference when you can’t think of anything to do.
- Redirect your focus and remind yourself that life is full of goodness
Keep things in perspective – The behavior of the economy and markets have always been cyclical, and uncertainty always exists – though it’s easy to forget that when things are going well! Historically overall market returns are positive despite having periods of significant lows and it’s reasonable to expect that values will eventually begin to rise again. In working with your Client Relationship Manager, they have helped determine the best investment strategy for you based on your individual needs and are working to mitigate the effects of market volatility on your portfolio while also taking advantage of it.
- Be mindful
When your mind starts to wander and your anxiety levels begins to rise, take a moment to pause and take three (or more) deep breaths to bring you back to the here and now. Focus on your immediate surroundings: the sounds, smells, and sensation of your lungs expanding with air. Passively name your feelings without judgement and acknowledge them as just that – feelings, not facts. Jot down your worries on a piece of scratch paper so your mind can have a rest from trying to keep track of your concerns. Recenter and move on.
Reach out – Whether you are seeking advice, reassurance, or just a listening ear, your VCMI Client Relationship Manager is here for you!