Greetings! We hope this email finds you well and looking forward to the holidays. For many of us in the Pacific Northwest, autumn can be a favorite time of year as we transition from the hot, dry end of summer to shorter days, cooler nights, and plenty of color in the trees. Hiking trails tend to be a little less busy (although this is still the Northwest, so that’s relative!) and the fall harvest brings the fruit of the summer season. It’s also a time when daily routines change for those with children, as the structured schedule of the school year replaces the fun chaos of summer.
While autumn can bring back many happy memories, it can be the most unpredictable season in the Northwest. Heavy rain, windstorms, and power outages are all common. A hike can turn into a miserable experience for the unprepared. That structured routine with children can be a headache for parents trying to juggle soccer practices, ballet lessons, and numerous other activities.
We believe the key to managing this unpredictable season, similar to the investment markets, is with proper planning and coordination. October brought turbulent global markets along with our changing weather. No matter what your personal risk tolerance (which is not a static thing, by the way), most people don’t enjoy watching their hard-earned savings gyrate like a yo-yo.
During periods like this, here are some important things to remember:
- We continue to believe in the phrase “time in the market” rather than “timing the market”.
- Volatility in the stock and bond markets is normal. Don’t let recent years with low-volatility lull you into thinking otherwise.
- Long-term returns in the stock market are “earned” by clients not being swayed into poor decisions during volatile periods like this.
- Our financial plans do NOT assume that your investments will increase in a nice, orderly fashion. Volatility is an inevitable part of the market cycle, which is why we use Monte Carlo analysis to stress-test your retirement model.
For clients with a decade or more to go before retirement, a market decline provides an opportunity to build wealth as you make regular purchases at lower prices. Think of a market downturn as a giant sale on good quality assets.
For our clients who have reached financial independence (or are very close), periods like this can be a good reminder of why we recommend a 2-3 year cash reserve as you transition into retirement. Having cash on hand to weather market storms has helped many of our retired clients “sleep at night” during past downturns.
Regardless of your stage in life, our recommendation is to STAY THE COURSE and don’t let short-term gyrations derail your long-term financial plan.
Everyone’s situation is unique, so if the recent market performance has you on edge, we’re happy to set up a time to review your plan and your investments with you. If our unbiased advice is needed, please let us know.