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Are You More Prepared for a Down Market Than You Think?

During times of market volatility, it's normal to feel anxiety or the need to do something. First and foremost, it's critical to take care of your physical health. But your thoughts may also be turning toward your finances, and you might be asking yourself – is my strategy still OK? Am I prepared to navigate this, or do I need to make any adjustments?

Whether you feel you've prepared for a down market from an emotional perspective, you may have already prepared from a financial perspective. During periods of market volatility, it's important to remember that when you work with an Edward Jones financial advisor, we recommend: you develop a strategy based on your goals and comfort with risk; you establish a diversified portfolio, designed with a purpose; and you have someone to help guide you through this.

You develop a strategy based on your goals and comfort with risk.

When we develop a financial strategy, it begins with what you are trying to accomplish. We consider your goals, income needs and comfort with risk to tailor a strategy specific to you. As part of this process, we select a portfolio objective and an asset allocation (your mix of stocks and bonds) based on both the expected return and expected risk that we believe are necessary to help reach your goals. It is also based on your comfort with risk, as a strategy is only as good as your ability to stick to it in both good and bad times. Having balance can better equip you to navigate a down market and ensure a decline does not completely derail your strategy, while still providing for your needs over time. So, an important step is to first review your goals, and then we can ensure your allocation is still appropriate based on these goals.

Source: Morningstar. Equity represented by 45% in S&P 500, 20% in MSCI EAFE (International). Fixed Income represented by 35% in Barclay's Agg Bond Index. Balanced Portfolio = 45% stocks represented by the S&P 500, 35% bonds represented by the Barclay's Agg Bond Index and 20% International represented by the MSCI EAFE. Past performance is not a guarantee of future results. Results may vary for individuals with similar holdings. Indexes are unmanaged and not available for direct investment. Investing in stocks involves risk. The value of your shares will fluctuate and you may lose principal. There are special risks inherent to international investing including those related to currency fluctuations and foreign political and economic events. The prices of bonds can fluctuate and an investor may lose principal value if the investment is sold prior to maturity.

You establish a portfolio, designed with a purpose.

As we tailor a portfolio, we know that investments don't all behave the same way at the same time. And, importantly, each investment within your portfolio serves a valuable purpose.

During a downturn, your emotions may tell you to make changes and potentially sell stocks, but stocks are there to provide for growth and ultimately help provide for your income in retirement. So if you are depending on your portfolio for your income needs today, your current income needs should be addressed by your cash and short-term fixed income in your portfolio, which can also provide time for the stocks in your portfolio to recover.

After ensuring you have enough cash to provide for your near-term needs and emergencies, don't feel the need to carry too much cash. In fact, now may be the time to rebalance your portfolio, using this as an opportunity to add more to your stocks when they are down in value. How much you add to rebalance should be based on your portfolio objective. If you don't have enough cash on hand, now is the time to look at your budget and your outside sources of income to see if you can cut spending down to your necessities and build your cash reserve over time.

You have someone to help guide you through this.

While we cannot control the markets or the current environment, you can control something much more important for your long-term success – your emotions. So, before you consider making changes in a down market – talk to your financial advisor. Together you can review where you are today, if you remain on track toward reaching your goals, or if any adjustments need to be made. Ultimately, there will be many ups and downs over the course of your life – the key is making adjustments when necessary to navigate market volatility over time.

More Resources:

Retiring soon or already retired?

Tips to take in a down market environment.

Retiring Soon? Tips to Prepare Your Portfolio.

Questions to ask as you get your portfolio retirement-ready.

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