It is easy to get excited when the stock market is up, but what happens when prices start to fall? For many investors, a falling stock market is a reason to panic, but selling out when prices are low can be counterproductive – and a sure way to destroy a carefully crafted portfolio.
If you are feeling a bit overwhelmed by the state of the market, you can ease your worries by diversifying your portfolio. Instead of panicking, you should utilize the five-step survival strategy Craig Cecilio, founder of DiversyFund, created as your guide.
1. Do a Gut Check:
A severe market downturn or prolonged bear market will test the mettle of even the most seasoned investor. Even if you think you have a high tolerance for risk, now is the time to do a gut check.
If you are feeling freaked out about the current downturn, your risk tolerance may not be as high as you think. Now is the time to reassess the situation and make any changes you feel are necessary. If you are working with a financial advisor, schedule a meeting to review your portfolio and assess your current level of risk.
2. Build Your Emergency Fund:
Having a significant portion of your assets in cash and fixed-income investments can cushion the fall when the stock market declines. When the stock market hits a rough patch, those emergency reserves become even more important, so take a good look at your portfolio and make sure you have sufficient savings.
Financial experts recommend that you have a minimum of three to six months’ worth of living expenses in an emergency fund, more if your job situation is uncertain or you are worried about the future. If you feel you are too heavily invested in stocks, pulling some cash off the table and adding it to your contingency fund might make sense.
3. Take Advantage of Rising Interest Rates:
The stock market often struggles when interest rates are on the rise, but those rising rates could be a golden opportunity. If you have an emergency fund and stash of contingency cash (and you should), take advantage of rising rates to boost your passive income.
If your emergency cash and contingency funds are sitting in a low-interest savings account, look around for other, higher yielding alternatives. Moving your funds to a money market or online bank could increase your earnings and help you get more for your money.
4. Chill Out:
Focusing on the day to day swings of the stock market is enough to drive anyone crazy, so take a step back and try to relax. Even if those daily dips seem frightening, thinking longer term and exploring alternative investments could have a calming influence. As they say, time in the market is better than timing the market.
5. Look for Buying Opportunities:
When planning investments, it is crucial to consider diversifying investments to mitigate overall risk. One way to diversify your portfolio is to consider real estate, specifically multifamily real estate. If you’re looking for less hassle and more security, a real estate investment trust (REIT) could be a good option to explore. REITs allow investors to diversify their portfolio without the difficulties of directly acquiring the property. REITs invest large amounts of money into residential multifamily homes, commercial buildings, healthcare facilities, and large-scale industrial buildings as well.
Investing in real estate is an excellent option for long-term investment. The typical real estate investor purchases a property and holds it for an expected increase in value or rents it out using the rent to bolster his or her income. Real estate that has been purchased through a retirement plan is also held for a longer period of time in order to realize a higher profit.
Market downturns can be scary, and nothing can completely eliminate fear. Even so, panicking will do you no good, and it could do you a lot of harm. Taking a step back, and taking the right steps, could protect your portfolio during the downturn and put you in a better position when things turn around.
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