WrapManager's Wealth Management Blog
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The 4-Step Action Plan if You’re Worried About Your Investment Portfolio

Posted by Gabriel Burczyk | Founder & CEO

May 31, 2017

It is an interesting time in the United States’ sociopolitical sphere, to say the least. But lucky for you, this article isn’t about politics, a social movement, or anything in the news for that matter. It is about what to do if you start to get worried about how the equities and/or bond markets may react to ongoing developments and potential controversies. 

In the current environment, it is the uncertainty that has many investors on edge. For some, every day may feel like it has the potential for some breaking story that sinks markets. To help address any concern investors may have, we present a 4-step action plan for what to do when you’re worried about your investment portfolio. 

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Stock Market Corrections Hiring a Financial Advisor Market Volatility

Buckle Up for Market Volatility this Year

February 10, 2016
Volatility has persisted throughout the start of 2016, to the point where it almost feels relentless. Coping with volatility is rarely easy for investors, and the fact that we’ve experienced the worst 10-day start to a calendar year1 has many wondering if it makes sense to shift away from equities for now. No one can say with certainty whether the stock market will recover quickly and finish the year positive. But what we can control is how a portfolio is allocated in a volatile environment. For investors, we think it is less about: “should I go to cash and/or be more defensive?” and more about: “is my portfolio diversified sufficiently (to help reduce volatility), and should I consider including a tactical strategy in place designed to take defensive action in a prolonged downturn?” In other words, we think it is more important to have confidence in your asset allocation versus trying to forecast what's ahead for the markets. [+] Read More

Getting Through the Next Stock Market Correction

October 14, 2014
Getting through stock market corrections begins before they happen. While it is almost impossible to predict exactly when a market correction will begin and end, there are things you can do now to help reduce the stress felt by many investors during these events. Remember that corrections are temporary and a normal part of healthy markets. You can get through any stock market correction if you have the right frame of mind, adhere to a few basic guidelines and use your financial advisor as a sounding board. Avoid Hasty Investment Decisions It’s normal to feel anxious during corrections and think about changing direction with your investments. But timing the market rarely, if ever, works. By the time you’ve made a decision to change investments, it’s possible the correction could be half over. Once you’re out of the market, the next decision is when to get back in, which is also timing the market. [+] Read More

3 Steps to Take During a Stock Market Correction

August 8, 2014
For all the talk there’s been over the last two-plus years of a looming stock market correction, one has yet to take hold. The S&P 500 had a banner year in 2013, is up this year +4.15% through August 1,1 and has been in a fairly steady climb since 2012. For two years, the market has resisted a correction in the 10% - 20% range.2 In July, however, the S&P 500 posted its first monthly loss since January, and on July 31 saw its biggest point drop since April.3 It’s possible this weakness marks the beginning of a stock market correction, though no expert can know with certainty. What we do know, however, is that corrections are a normal part of bull markets, and there are steps you can take when one occurs. What to Do During a Stock Market Correction Corrections are generally defined as relatively short-lived pullbacks in the market in the 10% - 20% range, something we haven’t seen since the summer of 2012. As you can see below, over the last 34 years the market experiences average intra-year declines of -14.4%. Past Stock Market Corrections and Declines (Click chart for larger version) Source: Standard & Poor’s, FactSet, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Returns are based on price index only and do not include dividends. Intra-year drops refers to the largest market drops from a peak to a trough during the year. For illustrative purposes only. *Returns shown are calendar year returns from 1980 to 2013 excluding 2014 which is year-to-date. Guide to the Markets – U.S. Data are as of 6/30/14. [+] Read More

Can Your Investment Plan Handle the Market’s Ups and Downs?

March 7, 2014
According to a recent survey conducted by BlackRock, “investors are uncertain about investing their savings, with only 35% confident that their retirement plan can cope with the ups and downs in the financial markets.”1 This leaves 65% of folks unsure of whether their portfolios can handle volatility and market declines over time, a number we think is too high. Here are two ways to feel more confident about how your portfolio is positioned. [+] Read More

Stomaching the Next Stock Market Decline: Here’s How

March 5, 2014
The market got off to a rocky start in 2014, with the S&P 500 declining by 4%.1 Between January 15 and February 3 alone, the S&P 500 fell 5.8%,2 and weakness was even greater in areas abroad like Japan3 and the Emerging Markets.4 Many investors were left wondering if the rough start was a sign of things to come. How did it make you feel? We think the recent volatility presents investors with an opportunity as well as a friendly reminder: it’s a good idea to regularly make sure your portfolio is allocated according to how comfortable you are with stock market declines and risk. [+] Read More

Is This the Start of a Stock Market Correction?

January 29, 2014
The stock market felt a sting last week, with the Dow dropping 3.5% and marking its worst week since November 2011. A majority of the decline took place on Friday, when the Dow fell some 320 points, or almost 2%. The S&P 500 slid 2.6% on the week, which was its largest weekly decline since May 2012, and technology stocks followed suit as well with the NASDAQ selling off 1.7% and posting its worst week since last August. The sell-off last week has naturally caused some investors to wonder, is this pullback the start of a stock market correction? Below, we’ll address that question for you and look at past stock market corrections. Corrections Are a Normal Part of Bull Markets That’s not WrapManager making that statement - history makes it for us! As you can see in the chart below, the average intra-year decline for the S&P 500 since 1980 is 14.4%. Put another way: for the last 34 years, the average drop within a given year for the S&P 500 is 14.4%. [+] Read More

What to Do During a Stock Market Correction

January 29, 2014
If you were to ask us to answer that question in short, here’s what we would say: Remain calm, patient, and try not to make decisions based on emotion. As we've written before on stock market corrections, they can be rather unnerving, but at the same time they are a normal part of rising markets, and they’re usually short-lived. It’d be great if the market always went up in a straight line, but unfortunately it does not and there are often pullbacks along the way. So, knowing that corrections will likely occur quite a bit over time, what’s the best investment strategy for handling a stock market correction? We go back to the statement we made at the beginning of this post. Remain Calm Often times when the market starts to decline, you’ll see a lot of news headlines that invoke worry about the state of things. A top headline today on Bloomberg, for instance, read: “US Stocks Retreat Following Worst Week Since 2012.”1 That certainly doesn’t make many people feel warm and fuzzy about the market. [+] Read More

Did the S&P 500 Reach All-Time Highs? Is There a Cause for Concern?

September 5, 2013
Over the last several weeks, much attention has shifted to the S&P 500 index as it reached and eclipsed new highs. For some investors, this was a non-event - after all, it’s a normal occurrence historically within bull markets for the S&P 500 to reach new highs (click on the chart for a larger version): Stock Market Price Return Since 1900 Source: FactSet, J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Data shown in log scale to best illustrate long-term index patterns. P/E ratios shown at price peaks and troughs use trailing four quarters of reported earnings and are shown as a one year average. Past performance is not indicative of future returns. Chart is for illustrative purposes only. Data are as of 6/30/13. [+] Read More

The Dangers of Short-Term Market Timing Strategies

August 31, 2013
As we established in our recent posts “Assessing the Probability of a Stock Market Correction” and “Are There Strategies to Handle Stock Market Corrections?,” market pullbacks are fairly normal occurrences within bull markets. We also pointed out some features that identify stock market corrections - they’re relatively short in duration, vary in size, and perhaps most importantly, they’re unpredictable when it comes to identifying when they’ll start and end. It’s the last point that makes short-term market timing strategies not only difficult to execute, but also potentially harmful to investors. Stock Market Corrections Are Unpredictable With stock market corrections, there are no clear warning signs for when investors should sell out of equities or when it’s time to reinvest. That creates two clear risks to short-term market timing strategies: An investor sells out of equities in an attempt to time the market correction correctly, but the stock market continues to rise. An investor might get it right and sell out of equities before a stock market correction, but then it becomes a question of when to reinvest. There is the risk that he or she misses out on the upside of the recovery. [+] Read More