What Should You Do About The Coronavirus And Stock Market Volatility?

The financial markets took a big dip early this week over fears about the spreading coronavirus, erasing gains from earlier this year. After the Dow lost over 800 points on Tuesday, it was down a total of 1,900 points in two days. 

Investors are understandably nervous about their money and their health. If you are worried about your portfolio, you’re not alone. But during stock market volatility, it’s important to keep a level head to avoid financial mistakes.

Stay Calm

At times like these, it’s important to put current conditions into perspective. This is not the first time the market has taken a tumble and it won’t be the last. Declines in the Dow Jones Industrial Average are actually fairly regular events. In fact, drops of 10% or more happen about once a year on average.

Keep An Eye On The Situation

We simply do not have enough information yet to know how the coronavirus will impact the economy in the short and long term. It’s possible that the virus will soon be well-contained and the markets will recover. But it is also possible that the virus will spread and impact global markets, which would lead to a full correction or even a longer-term recession. 

It’s important to remember that markets dislike uncertainty. With so much uncertainty over how fast the virus could spread and the potential impacts, volatility right now is extreme. As we get more information, it is likely that day-to-day market fluctuations will decrease. 

Play Dead

There’s an old saying that the best thing to do when you meet a bear market is the same as if you were to meet a bear in the woods: play dead. While easier said than done, successful long-term investors know that it’s important to stay calm during a market correction. We don’t know yet whether the coronavirus fears will translate into an official correction, but the risk always exists.

Market volatility has increased in recent years and the media can often make it seem like each episode is worse than the one before. In reality, volatility does not hurt investors, but selling when the market is down will lock in losses.

Remember That Your Portfolio is Diversified

We understand that volatility and market declines are stressful. However, we encourage you to keep in mind that while the stock market may be down significantly, your portfolio is made up of both stocks, bonds, and other assets that are designed to work together to decrease overall losses. It’s important to consider your specific portfolio, investment horizon, and circumstances when reflecting on economic events. If you have questions about your portfolio, get in touch with our office.

Review Your 401(k) and Other Accounts

Now is a good time to take a look at all of your investment accounts, including your 401(k) to make sure it is well-diversified. If you have not reviewed the investment accounts that we do not manage, get in touch with our office and we’ll take a look and offer recommendations to minimize potential losses.

Speak With Your Advisor

Whether you’re new to investing or an experienced investor, it’s helpful to consult with an objective third party. Human nature causes us all to act out of emotion when our accounts go down. As an independent firm, we put your best interests first. We seek to serve as a support system for our clients, helping them make informed financial decisions that aren’t driven solely by emotion. 

We’re Here for Your Friends and Family

If you have friends or family who need help with their investments, we are happy to offer a complimentary portfolio review and recommendations. We can discuss what is appropriate for their immediate needs and long-term objectives. Sometimes, simply speaking with a financial advisor may help investors feel more confident and less concerned with the day-to-day market activity.

5 Ways To Prepare For A More Affordable Retirement

By Jeff Gilbert

Retirement is expensive. That’s one thing everyone can agree on. But what if there were steps you could take now to actively reduce the amount of money you’ll need later on? That’s exactly what we’ll talk about today. Ready? Here are 5 ways to prepare for a more affordable retirement. 

1. Pay Off Your Mortgage

Your mortgage is arguably your largest recurring expense in retirement. Getting rid of this payment before you enter your golden years can significantly reduce the amount of money you need each month. 

Start by calculating how much extra money you could throw toward your principal. Could you make one extra payment every few months? What about one extra payment a year? 

If there’s not a lot of wiggle room in your monthly budget, consider cutting down on discretionary expenses. Or earmark any extra money you get from bonuses or tax refunds for your mortgage. Every little bit counts.

2. Downsize Or Relocate

If you’re still living in the same house where you raised your family, there’s a good chance you don’t need all that space in retirement. Downsizing may seem extreme, but it’s a quick way to reduce your long-term retirement costs, lower utility bills, and pay off debt. Plus, a one-story house with a smaller yard may be easier to keep up with as you age. 

If you’re not tied down to your current city, take it a step further by relocating to an area with a lower cost of living. You might be surprised by how much further you can stretch your retirement dollars. For example, a $1 million nest egg lasts around 13 years in California, but 23 years in Mississippi. (1)

3. Travel During The Off-Season

Ask 50 people what they plan on doing in retirement, and I’m sure most of them will say travel. Whether it’s traveling across the country to visit the grandkids or traveling around the world to visit the Eiffel Tower, it’s on everyone’s list—and for good reason. After working 30+ years, you deserve to go to all those places on your bucket list. 

But if you want to stretch your travel budget even further, consider traveling during the off-season. It has many perks. Not only are airlines, hotels, and activities cheaper, but you beat the crowds too! Plus, you have extra money left over to jump-start your next trip. Sounds nice, right? 

4. Consider Long-Term Care Insurance

It’s estimated that nearly 70% of people turning 65 today will need some type of long-term care during retirement. (2) This could be anything from a home health aide (which costs an estimated $4,290 a month) or a private room in a nursing home (which costs an estimated $8,517 a month). (3) Unfortunately, these outrageous costs often result in financial plan failures for 32% of households with a $1 million net worth. (4)

So, what do you do? We recommend buying a long-term care insurance policy. While Medicare covers costs for acute illnesses, long-term care insurance fills in the gap by covering personal costs for health home aides, assisted living facilities, nursing homes, and more. 

Studies show we’ll all have long-term care expenses at some point. Insurance helps preserve your nest egg and fill in the gaps where Medicare falls short.

5. Delay Social Security

The average life expectancy is 84.3 for men and 86.6 for women. If your health and family history indicates that you may live this long (or longer), delaying Social Security until age 70 could earn you thousands of more dollars in retirement.   

For example, the chart below shows how much your monthly Social Security payout would be if your estimated payment was $2,000 at full retirement age and you claimed benefits at age 62, 66, and 70.* 

If you start collecting benefits at this age… your monthly payout will be this much…
62 (reduced benefits) $1,500
66 (full benefits) $2,000
70 (increased benefits) $2,640

*Assuming a full retirement age of 66

According to this example, you earn $1,140 more a month if you wait to claim benefits at age 70 instead of 62.  

How We Help You Prepare For A Secure Retirement

As you can see, there are many ways to prepare for a more affordable retirement. We hope that you’re able to implement some of these strategies today, so you can live out your retirement dreams later on. 

At Balboa Wealth Partners, we’re passionate about helping you live your ideal retirement life. If you’d like to chat with a financial professional about your current situation, we invite you to schedule a no-obligation conversation today. During this meeting, we review your current retirement plan, answer any questions you may have, and help you create a financial road map that leads to success. To get started, give me a call at 949-445-1465 or email me at jgilbert@balboawealth.com.

About Jeff

Jeff Gilbert is the founder and CEO of Balboa Wealth Partners, a holistic financial management firm dedicated to providing clients guidance today for tomorrow’s success. With nearly three decades of industry experience, he has worked as both an advisor and executive-level manager, partnering with and serving a diverse range of clients. Specializing in serving high- and ultra-high-net-worth families, Jeff aims to help clients achieve their short-term and long-term goals, worry less about their finances, and focus more on their life’s passions. Based in Orange County, Jeff works with clients throughout Southern California as well as Arizona, Oregon, and Washington. To learn more, connect with Jeff on LinkedIn or email jgilbert@balboawealth.com

Advisory services provided by Balboa Wealth Partners, Inc., an Investment Advisor registered with the SEC. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Balboa Wealth Partners and its Investment Advisor Representatives are properly licensed or exempt from registration.

Securities offered through Chalice Capital Partners, LLC, member FINRA, SIPC.

Balboa offers advisory services independent of Chalice. Neither firm is affiliated.

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(1) https://finance.yahoo.com/news/long-1-million-retirement-last-090000023.html

(2) https://longtermcare.acl.gov/the-basics/how-much-care-will-you-need.html

(3) https://www.genworth.com/aging-and-you/finances/cost-of-care.html

(4) https://www.businessinsider.com/10-things-to-know-about-long-term-care-2016-9