The coronavirus is here. It’s impacted every corner of American life and is likely to continue to do so. Colleges have closed. States are closing schools and banning large gatherings. Businesses are closing or cutting hours. Consider some of the stunning developments from the past weeks:
Worldwide, as of Friday, March 13, there are more than 139,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, which stands for coronavirus disease 2019. More than 1,800 of those cases are in the United States, with 135 new cases in the prior 24 hours.5
The pandemic has had a significant impact on the economy and the stock market. On Friday, February 21, the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJIA) closed at 28,992. On Thursday, March 12, the DJIA closed at 21,200. That’s a decline of 7,792 points, or 26.87%, officially putting the stock market in bear market territory.
What can you do to protect your nest egg from the coronavirus? There’s no way to predict the movement of the stock market, especially in the short-term. However, there are a few things you can do to minimize your exposure to risk.
It may be tempting to sell all your investments and look for safety. However, take some time to explore your options before you make an impulsive decision. Bear markets happen, but they’re temporary. The average bear market lasts 13 months and is followed by a 22-month recovery.7
However, not all bear markets last that long. The 1987 bear market that contained the famous “Black Monday” crash lasted only 3.3 months and was followed by a 30-month bull market. The 1990 bear market that was triggered by the Gulf War lasted 2.9 months and was followed by a 113-month bull market that saw the S&P 500 rise by 417%.8
Of course, there are longer bear markets as well. The 2007-2008 bear market that was triggered by the financial crisis lasted 17 months. It was followed by the bull market that just ended, which lasted nearly 11 years and saw a 400% increase in the S&P 500.8
It’s impossible to know how long this bear market will last or how far the markets will fall. However, if history is any guide, the bear market will end at some point and the markets will recover. If you pull completely out of your investments, you may miss the recovery and the beginning of the next bull market.
Review your allocation.
When’s the last time you adjusted your allocation? Many people become more risk averse as they become older, even without the threat of the coronavirus. You don’t have to sell all your investments to reduce your risk. You may be able to achieve that goal by making slight changes to your allocation.
If you haven’t adjusted your allocation in years, now may be the time to do so. You may want to slightly adjust to assets that are historically less volatile. A financial professional can help you find the right allocation for your risk tolerance.
Consider risk protection tools.
There are some financial vehicles out there that are immune to the coronavirus, and all other forms of market risk for that matter. For example, there some types of fixed annuities that allow you to earn interest based on a stock market index’s performance. If the index performs well, you may earn more interest. If it performs poorly, you don’t lose money. Again, a financial professional can help you determine if these tools are right for you.
Ready to protect your nest egg from the coronavirus? Let’s talk about it. Contact us today at Walker · Wells. We can help you analyze your investments and implement a strategy. Let’s connect soon and start the conversation.
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