Main page content
Surviving Market Volatility
No investor likes to hear that the market has experienced a big drop. But volatility is part and parcel of investing. So instead of being worried by volatility, be prepared. A well‐defined investment plan tailored to your goals and financial situation can help you be ready for the normal ups and downs of the market, and take advantage of opportunities as they arise.
Here's some tips on how you can do that with your UTSaver Retirement Program.
- Keep perspective. Downturns are normal and normally short lived.
Market downturns may be upsetting, but history shows that the U.S. stock market has been able to recover from declines and can still provide investors with positive long‐term returns. In fact, over the past 35 years, the market has experienced an average drop of 14% from high to low during each year but still had a positive annual return more than 80% of the time.
- Be comfortable with your investments.
If you are nervous when the market goes down, you may not be in the right investments. Your time horizon, goals, and tolerance for risk are key factors in helping to ensure that you have an investment strategy that works for you. Even if your time horizon is long enough to warrant an aggressive portfolio, you have to be comfortable with the short‐term ups and downs you'll encounter. If watching your balances fluctuate is too nerve‐racking for you, think about reevaluating your investment mix to find one that feels right.
But be wary of being too conservative, especially if you are working with a time horizon that is longer, because strategies that are more conservative may not provide the growth potential you need to achieve your goals. Set realistic expectations, too. That way, it may be easier to stick with your long‐term investment strategy.
- Do not try to time the market.
Attempting to move in and out of the market can be costly. Research studies from independent research firm Morningstar show that the decisions investors make about when to buy and sell funds cause those funds to perform worse than they would have had the investors simply bought and held the same funds.
- Invest regularly despite volatility.
If you invest regularly over months, years, and decades, short‐term downturns will not have much of an impact on your ultimate performance. Instead of trying to judge when to buy and sell based on market conditions, if you take a disciplined approach of making investments weekly, monthly, or quarterly, you will avoid the perils of market timing.
If you keep investing through downturns, it won't guarantee gains or that you will never experience a loss, but when prices do fall you may actually benefit in the long run. When the market drops, the prices of investments fall and your regular contributions allow you to buy a larger number of shares.
In fact, what seemed like some of the worst times to get into the market turned out to be the best times. The best five‐year return in the U.S. stock market began in May 1932 ‐ in the midst of the Great Depression. The next best five‐year period began in July 1982, amid an economy in the midst of one of the worst recessions in the postwar period, featuring double‐digit levels of unemployment and interest rates.
- Take advantage of opportunities.
If the movement of the markets has changed your mix of large‐cap, small‐cap, foreign, and domestic mutual funds, you may want to rebalance to get back to your plan. That could provide a disciplined approach that helps you take advantage of lower prices.
- Consider a hands off approach.
To help ease the pressure of managing investments in a volatile market, you may want to consider an all‐in‐one fund such as a Lifecycle Fund that will automatically adjust your investments as you approach retirement age, or have a professional help you manage your account. As an employee of the University of Texas System, you have available to you financial professionals from five of the leading investment firms in the country that can provide you as much, or as little, assistance as you desire.
The bottom line
Rather than focusing on the turbulence, wondering whether you need to do something now or wondering what the market will do tomorrow, it makes more sense to focus on developing and maintaining a sound investing plan. A good plan will help you ride out the peaks and valleys of the market and may help you achieve your financial goals.
Provided Courtesy of Fidelity Investments
©1996-2018 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.