6 Tips for Investing During Uncertain Times

When volatile markets negatively affect, retirement accounts, it is natural to question whether you should change your saving strategy to preserve gains or exit the market altogether.

Couple in their 30's going over retirement plan

When volatile markets negatively affect, retirement accounts, you might feel uneasy about your investments. It’s natural to question whether you should change your saving strategy to preserve gains or exit the market altogether. While circumstances vary, there are six things investors can do to stay on track toward achieving their retirement savings benchmark.

1. Review your asset mix.

Recent market changes might prompt you to review your investment portfolio. If you’re already using an age-appropriate asset allocation tool to guide your investment strategy and there are no plans to change your expected retirement age, then consider staying the course. However, if you updated your retirement plans so you exit the workforce sooner, adjusting your portfolio mix might be a good idea.  

2.    Resist the urge to make drastic changes.

Whether you’re tempted to sell large sections of your portfolio or buy discounted assets, sit tight. Remember that bear markets are part of the natural cycle of financial markets. If retirement is 20+ years away, sudden moves in reaction to short term market swings could hurt your overall gains and result in permanent losses. 

3.    Focus on boosting your emergency fund account.

If you do not already have at least six months of living expenses set aside in a liquid account, let that be your primary aim during uncertain financial times. Ensuring you have the funds to cover expenses in the event of a job loss or another unexpected economic event, could prevent you from needing to tap your investment accounts for cash. As you near retirement, growing your account so it can cover one to two years of expenses could provide peace of mind.

4.    Re-assess when you plan on exiting the workforce.

Wildly unstable markets affect investors differently, depending on their retirement horizon. If you’re suffering substantial losses, you may need to consider delaying retirement to allow time for your accounts to recover. Another option might mean taking a temporary part-time job to increase money market funds or other liquid assets.

5.    Stay alert to investing scams.

Fraudsters are always searching for their next victim. During times of financial uncertainty, investment scams increase. Promises of low risk, high reward is found on- and offline. Steer clear of these schemes by recognizing common red flags that include:

  • Limited-time investment opportunities
  • Salespeople who are unlicensed in their jurisdiction
  • Guarantees of a specific return on investment (ROI)
  • Requests for investment account login credentials 
  • Aggressive sales tactics which pressure you to invest without doing your research
  • Financial advisors or brokerages that do not provide the required prospectus or circular

6.    Speak with a financial professional.

Sometimes it's hard to know whether you should change your retirement savings strategy in reaction to market setbacks. Since each person's financial situation is unique, we encourage you to speak with a qualified financial professional who can review your portfolio and help determine if asset reallocation is a good idea based on your savings goals. Schedule a no-cost, no-obligation consultation with an LPL Financial Advisor located at a nearby Credit Union of Colorado location today!