Benthuizen “Investor decisions are the biggest determinant of success, not investment returns”
With the world emerging from a global pandemic, the war in Ukraine, political uncertainties and a host of other unexpected forces, investors today are being subjected to an unwanted roller coaster ride. Today’s volatile markets are leading more people to ask, what now? How do I protect my financial future from the crazy ups and downs we’re seeing?
Chris Mellone is a Partner at VLP Financial Advisors in Vienna, and is fielding these questions and more from his clients. As a Chartered Financial Advisor (CFA), a Certified Financial Planner (CFP™) and an Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF™), he helps individuals and families at all stages of investment make the best decisions to weather the current volatile market.
I’ve been hearing so much about the volatile markets right now, and I’m scared to even look at my accounts. What should I be doing to fortify my investments against this kind of uncertainty? Is anything safe?
Volatility and market fluctuations are a normal part of market cycles, but they can be nerve-wracking. During periods of market stress, we find it helpful to revisit your long-term planning and goals. Ask yourself, have your goals changed? Have your long-term plans changed? If not, then it is often best to stay the course and stick to the long-term plan that you and your advisor developed. During periods of market volatility, confidence and conviction in your investment strategy and financial planning will give you the mental fortification to ride out the storm.
On the other hand, what should I NOT do?
As hard as it may be, don’t panic and don’t make emotional decisions. Investor decisions are the biggest determinant of success, not investment returns.
How does your advice differ for investors who are building for retirement versus those already retired?
For clients in the accumulation stage, periods of market volatility present opportunities to purchase long-term investments at advantageous prices, though it will take courage to become incrementally more aggressive in an uncertain environment. For clients who are retired and are in the distribution phase, periods of market volatility are where we implement our distribution strategy of raising expense funding needs from conservative bond investments. This distribution strategy prevents selling equities at depressed prices.
I like to think of myself as a savvy investor. How can I take advantage of these market swings?
For more aggressive clients, periods of significant volatility often present opportunities to rebalance portfolios, selling from conservative, stable bonds and adding to stock positions at lower prices. Your financial advisor can help you assess your comfort level for risk and evaluate opportunities that may come up.
What’s your professional opinion on what we can expect in the next six months to a year? Beyond?
With a less accommodative Federal Reserve, we think a sustained period of increased volatility is likely. With that in mind, putting an emphasis on the behavioral aspect of long-term investment and financial planning is as important as ever. Volatility does not equal loss unless you sell!
For more than 30 years, VLP Financial Advisors has worked successfully and effectively with all kinds of families and individuals, retirees and business owners, women and men — all pursuing their own aspirations, each investing and saving in the ways that make the most sense for them.
VLP specializes in investment management and financial planning for individuals, families and organizations, and 401(k) management for small businesses.
We are proud to carry the following designations:
- Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) Professionals
- Accredited Investment Fiduciary (AIF®)
- Certified Financial Analyst (CFA)
- Certified Divorce Financial Analyst (CDFA®)
Registered Representative of and securities and Advisory Services offered through Cetera Advisor Networks LLC, member FINRA/SIPC, a broker/dealer and a Registered Investment Advisor. Cetera is under separate ownership from any other named entity.
Investors should consider their financial ability to continue to purchase through periods of low price levels.
VLP Financial Advisors
8391 Old Courthouse Rd., Suite 203
Vienna, VA 22182