Stock market volatility & how investors can sleep at night

Historically, the sale of investment products has been Wall Street’s de facto approach to addressing the concerns of a client.  This approach addresses the symptoms, not the causes, of an investor’s worry. When we started SWS Partners, however, we wanted to help investors address the causes of their financial concerns. Therefore, we lead with financial planning, not selling products.  It was a simple choice to work with our clients from a strategic vantage point, not a tactical one. Coupled with our in-house asset management solutions, we have created a value proposition that is both unique and, we think, effectual in delivering better solutions to our clients.

Alarm clock

We are committed to this approach because we know that investors lose sleep at night due to stock market volatility, but they shouldn’t have to.  We like to think that investors that work with us enjoy a good night’s sleep because they’ve done their homework and know what to expect.  There is nothing that happens in the stock market that should come as a surprise if you put the time in upfront to plan.  So part of a good night’s sleep is being financially prepared for when things don’t go as expected.

According to a recent survey by the American Psychological Society, the top five things causing American’s the most stress are as follows:

#1- The current state of the US.  We can’t do much to help this one and don’t suggest moving out of the country (although it may be tempting from time to time).

#2- Money.  Saving, investing, being debt free, and planning for all that can go wrong, as well as with things go right, is something we can help you accomplish.

#3- Work.  If work stresses you out, save enough so you can consider the idea of retiring early or buying yourself the financial flexibility to move to a new job.

#4- Healthcare.  Bundled up in this stressor are costs, access to affordable healthcare, and future health problems and how to pay for them.  This is part of financial planning 101; having adequate healthcare coverage, an HSA, and an emergency fund in place.

#5- The US Economy.  The economy corresponds to some degree in the stock market’s performance, which is why a financial plan that takes into consideration stock market corrections is imperative.

Perhaps the most common reaction to these stresses is “fear selling” when the stock market behaves erratically. A good financial plan is designed to navigate this behavioral pitfall.  Stock market corrections come on average about every 357 days, as the US economy goes through peaks and troughs.  But this isn’t such a scary thing if investors are suitably prepared for these inevitabilities.

The aforementioned survey also found that 50% of Americans want to stay informed about what causes them stress.  When it comes to your investments and money, SWS Partners has also prioritized the use of technology so our clients have real-time access to their portfolios and can perform their own situational analyses that can model changes to their savings rates, for example. Again, this speaks to our reliance on strategic financial planning vs. tactical or reactionary impulses. 

Fluctuations in the US economy or volatility in the stock market are inevitable. With that in mind, planning properly for these things will certainly help you sleep better.