How should I respond to negative financial events?

There’s nothing unusual in volatility: after all, change is the only constant. Market volatility is a normal part of investing.

That’s why we structure your investment s to ‘weather the storm’ and maintain a comfortable level of income for you and your family during turbulent economic times.

Nevertheless, it’s still very easy to get nervous during a market dip. What’s harder is to steel yourself and prevent that initial wave of negativity from leading you to make rash decisions that could damage your nest egg much worse than a market correction.

The ABCDE strategy

Doctor Martin Seay is a specialist in positive psychology, which focuses on strategies that people can use to improve their sense of well-being.

His ABCDE method can be applied to help you work through your reactions to distressing financial news and arrive at a positive outcome. Let’s walk through an example of how to use this method to avoid making a bad, emotion-based financial decision.

A is for Activating event

Sometimes stress and anxiety can feel all-encompassing.

It’s important that we pinpoint the event that triggered our negative feelings. So, while you might feel general anxiety about your finances, drill down a little deeper.

Is your job secure?
OK.

Are you saving and investing according to your financial plan?
Good.

Did you just read on social media that today’s market correction was “THE BIGGEST ONE-DAY DROP IN A DECADE!”

Ahh, there it is.

Let’s move on to the next step.

B is for Belief

Market volatility can rouse some of our worst instincts about investing. We might fall back on long-buried beliefs like:

‘This game is rigged!’

We might feel like we’ve entrusted our financial future to powers beyond our control.

As you work through this step, it’s important to ask yourself where your beliefs come from.

Have you been unsettled by widespread media coverage of major financial problems?

Have you had negative interactions with the finance industry in the past?

Perhaps one of your parents distrusted the markets or made a poor investment that had a negative impact on your family?

Figuring out why you believe what you believe about the markets can help alert you before you fall back into bad financial habits.

C is for Consequences

Panicked investors who can’t shake negative beliefs about the markets often make poor decisions during downturns. They think they need to get out fast to avoid further losses.

Ironically, cashing out your investments during a market correction usually leads to far more serious consequences in the long run.

So how can you stay focused on the big picture?

D is for Disputation

Start by using what you know to push back a little against what you believe.

For example, the historical, long-term trajectory of the financial markets has been to rise over time. And now, market averages such as the FTSE100, are near all-time highs. Therefore, when the market does have a temporary drop, we might say, ‘The Footsie was down x hundreds of points today.’ It sounds like a big number, but as a percentage, it may just be normal volatility.

Also, we know deep down that ‘market timing’ strategies rarely work. That’s why your portfolio is diversified, balanced, and strategically rebalanced as necessary. Decades of market history have shown that sticking to this type of investment strategy may be more effective – and stable – than trying to jump in and out of the market based on what’s happening in the news right now.

Today’s losses are really just a kind of ‘tax’ that you’re paying on the wealth we’re helping you build for tomorrow.

E is for Energized

It’s amazing how just reminding ourselves of what we know to be true can make us feel better about a negative situation. Hopefully at the end of this process, you feel a renewed sense of positivity about this present moment and your financial future.

But we understand that market volatility can be complicated. And as you’re nearing retirement, a downturn can be downright nerve-wracking.

So, if you need help walking through your ABCDEs the next time the market corrects, make an appointment to meet with us. We’ll run through the important facts you need to know and decide what moves, if any, we need to make to keep you on track with your financial plan.