20 Things to Do when "The Market" is Down

Today, April 2, 2018, "the market" is down almost 3%. As usual, the media is frantically coming up with reasons why this is bad, no, horrible and why everyone should panic. Take these headlines, for example (they're all real, all published today): 

There's likely more downside in the stock market this week

Should investors fear Dow's first quarterly loss since 2015?

Is it too late to jump back into the stock market?

Fed mistakes could spark 'lost decade' for stocks

Geez, I almost feel anxious just by reading these headlines. Just, as the authors want the readers to feel. 

This post is intended to counterbalance all those "dramatic" and "breaking news-based" wagon of euphoria and fear-mongering. So, here are 30 things to do when "the market" is down: 

  1. Listen to your inner voice and recognize how you truly feel about the market and the reasons why you feel that way. Is it anxiety? Is it fear? What could be triggering it? Is it because you hear about it all day or is it something deeper? Could it be because you don't have clarity about how your portfolio is designed? Could it be doubt about how your portfolio could react if another crisis happened? Could it be because you don't have (or don't understand) the investment philosophy behind your portfolio (or maybe you're not sure if you even have a "philosophy" in place)? Recognize your feelings, own your feelings, and then, have candid, clear an honest conversation with your financial advisor. If needed, maybe having a conversation with an unrelated, independent fee-only financial advisor (like yours truly 😉) could help you alleviate how you feel about all this. 
  2. Remember that it's through volatility that investment returns are earned. If the stock market didn't move (in either direction), there would be no risk, and therefore, there would be no long-term earning potential. 
  3. Be mindful of the intentions of the fear-mongers and media companies: they want your clicks and with them, your attention. 
  4. Enjoy your favorite drink. 
  5. Have a call with a friend you haven't talk with in a long time. Better yet, go visit that person. 
  6. Take your spouse out for a date. 
  7. Play with your children. Age doesn't matter. 
  8. Buy a meal for a homeless person. 
  9. Donate to your favorite charity. 
  10. Go for a walk to a nearby park. 
  11. Enroll to that art/yoga/whatever class you've been holding on for months. 
  12. Clean up your closet. 
  13. Find old/unused things at your home and take them to Goodwill. 
  14. Go to that new restaurant/bar/art gallery/place that you heard about. 
  15. Revisit your intentions for the year. Are you on track? 
  16. Review what you feed your mind and your soul. See what pages you follow on social media, the papers you read, the channels you watch. See what of all the media you consume makes you a better person and what doesn't. Act accordingly. 
  17. Don't be afraid to say "no more". To unnecessary subscriptions. To unproductive email newsletters. To time/attention/energy suckers. 
  18. Review your business' numbers. When was the last time you seriously reviewed your strategy and where your business is? 
  19. Restart on your favorite hobby. 
  20. Explore meditation. 

Yes, I know that some of the items in this list may seem like a distraction. You may be thinking "why would I want to clean my closet when the market's tanking??!!" 

That's precisely the point. 

Remember: We can't control the market. Nobody can predict what it will do tomorrow, or the day after, and if your advisor (or anybody) tells you otherwise, that's a big, waving red flag for me. The media will publish scary or greedy articles (depending on how the market's doing). The good news? You don't have to act on them. You don't even have to tune in. But there are certain things that you can (and should) control: how much risk to take in your portfolio, making sure that it's is properly diversified, understand how tax efficient it is and have a clear and understandable investment philosophy behind it all. 

Schedule your complimentary discovery call right here: miguelgomez.link/discovery

Photo by Chris Liverani on Unsplash