Market Volatility: What Do We Control?

January 20th 2016, by Garrison R. North

It has been quite a start to 2016 in the stock markets. Just 19 days into the New Year the S&P 500 was down 9.25%. Many clients ask us what to do in these volatile times, and our response is a simple one: Focus on what you can control. None of us can control the stock market and no one can know what will happen tomorrow, or this month, or this year in the markets, but there are some aspects of our financial lives that we can control. Setting and pursuing financial goals, diversifying our portfolios, systematically saving money and employing appropriate asset allocation are all areas that we can control.

When the markets throw us for a loop, it feels chaotic. We tend to grasp onto anything that can explain what is happening, specifically the articles and predictions disseminated in the financial media. Recently, I went onto Yahoo Finance where two headline articles caught my eye. One read “The case for buying amid the market selloff” and the other read “Don’t bother buying, preserve your capital.” Talk about contradicting advice! The irony of this moment caused me to refocus on the things I could actually control. Are my financial goals realistic? Am I on track to achieve them?  Is my portfolio well diversified? Am I invested at the appropriate risk level? Having answered these questions in the affirmative, I asked myself one other question: What am I worried about?

Riding through market turmoil can be hard to do alone. At Master’s we partner with you as you pursue your financial goals through market highs and lows. Through the years we have experienced a number of market cycles and know the importance of focusing on the things we can control as well as the potential danger of focusing on the things we cannot control. Let us walk with you as you face the inevitable volatility of the equity markets.  We don’t have a crystal ball like many “experts” claim they do, but we promise to help you focus on what you can control.  So the next time you see a financial article telling you to “Buy here!” right next to one telling you to “Sell now!” give us a call and we’ll refocus together.