Tom Sedoric and Casey Snyder

As everyone tries to make sense of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and the corresponding market downturn, many people are wondering what actions they should take to protect their finances. Although many investors have some sort of plan to help guide them, the majority are still concerned about how this pandemic will impact their futures and financial goals. Nobody has a crystal ball for events like this but taking the time to develop a durable financial plan that prepares for the possibility of volatility means investors don’t need to be overly concerned when markets turn negative. Instead, with a plan, people can be comfortable in the knowledge that their contingency plan has already pre-determined steps in place which is laid out to ensure that their financial goals stay on track.

Many investors incorrectly assume that their existing plan is prepared to handle anything the market may throw at it. Over the last few years, we have enjoyed the strongest bull market in history. This market has made it easy for even those without a plan to appear to be financially successful. A rising tide lifts all boats, so to speak. However, the true strength of an investor’s plan becomes apparent during periods of stress such as the present COVID-19 related volatility. With that in mind, it is important for every investor to carefully review their plan to ensure their assumptions about its resilience holds true. Since most people are currently quarantined at home, it is the perfect opportunity for investors to reassess their finances and double check each aspect of their plan.

For those who are interested in putting together a durable plan, or updating one, the first thing to understand is that this will not happen overnight. Solid financial strategies are meticulously built over time to account for all the moving pieces in people’s lives. These pieces include income, tax exposure, debt, expenses, savings, investments, personal goals, as well as both planned and unexpected life events that crop up along the way. Each of these factors are interdependent and affects investors plans in different ways. Understanding and navigating these intertwined elements of a person’s life is crucial to helping someone reach their long-term financial goals. It is extremely important for investors to ensure they factor in every variable when developing their plan.

Once an investor has developed their plan and ensured it includes safety measures to account for market volatility and other unforeseen events, the final, and usually most difficult, step is to stick with it. Sitting down and writing a plan can be straightforward but staying disciplined and following the plan for months and years into the future can be extremely difficult for many people. As we work through the effects of COVID-19, everyone is currently focused on how their finances are reacting to pandemic-related market downturns.  It is, however, a time in which investors need to remind themselves to stay just as focused once the market rebounds. Though there is no secret recipe to staying on track, investors who are able to remain disciplined over the long-term are always going to see greater margins of success than those who don’t.

It will be some time before everything is back to “normal”, but now is neither the time to become complacent nor overly concerned. Creating a durable plan, or updating an existing one, will help any worried investor confirm they have a solid strategy in place for both present and future periods of volatility. As previously noted, successful plans will look different from individual to individual, but each plan must always include contingencies for navigating periods of market downturn. Investors who can create a robust plan and then diligently follow it will set themselves up for success.  While it cannot guarantee their financial objectives will be met, a durable financial plan will allow investors to take comfort in the fact that they have given thought to, and planned for, future contingencies.

 

 

The views expressed are those of Tom Sedoric – Partner, Executive Managing Director and Wealth Manager and D. Casey Snyder, CFP® - Partner, Senior Vice President and Wealth Manager and are not necessarily those of Steward Partners or Raymond James. Steward Partners Global Advisory, LLC and The Sedoric Group maintain a separate professional business relationship with, and our professionals offer securities through, Raymond James Financial Services, Inc., member FINRA/SIPC. Investment advisory services offered through Steward Partners Investment Advisory, LLC. www.thesedoricgroup.com (603) 427-8870