By Harness WealthFinances — April 2, 2020

How a Financial Advisor Can Help During Market Turbulence

Sudden drops in market performance can be alarming. What does this mean for your financial planning? And how can a Financial Advisor help?

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While economic downturns are a cause for concern, working with a financial advisor can help you plan ahead and strategically stay the course when it comes to achieving your objectives. In fact, there are many benefits to getting professional financial advice that could be especially important in times when economic growth is slowing. A recent study[1] found advisors added value with:

COVID-19 (Coronavirus)-driven downturn in 2020: Get virtual advising

The steep decrease in February and March of 2020 following the spread of COVID-19 internationally had caused the worst weekly drop for US markets since the global financial crisis of 2008, and subsequently continued turbulence as the markets continue to react to changing circumstances. As you consider your personal financial situation and what key investment decisions you should make now and in the weeks to come, you should consult an experienced advisory firm, and given current public health concerns, do all meetings virtually (over the phone or on video).

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A financial advisor helps keep you focused on your long-term financial plan

From Leo Marzen, co-founder of Bridgewater Advisors, a Harness Wealth financial advisory firm:

“We always go back to the asset allocation because that is the prime determinant of how well you do. If you have worked with your financial advisor to invest in an appropriate mix of assets, the smartest course of action is to stick to the plan and wait for the recovery. The worst time to make changes is during periods of volatility, stress, or market hysteria.”

One of the key benefits of working with a financial advisor is that a professional can provide assistance creating a solid long-term financial plan designed to help you grow wealth over a long period of time. When you have a logical, informed plan in place, there’s no need to react in response to a recession because your financial plan is designed to help ensure financial success even as the economy naturally moves through both boom and bust cycles.

Advisors provide assistance in building an appropriately diversified portfolio and offer advice on changing portfolio allocations. Diversification reduces the risk of financial loss during a recession. And allocating assets in accordance with risk tolerance enables investors to be more comfortable staying the course even during times when the market performs poorly because they aren’t taking chances with their money they cannot afford to take.

Short-term buying or selling opportunities

From Tripp Neville, CEO at New World Advisors, a Harness Wealth financial advisory firm:

“During times of volatility, we tactically exploit market dislocations and rebalance portfolios appropriately. Rebalancing provides us with the opportunity to trim portfolio positions which have performed well and increase positions that we have conviction will deliver long-term value but have temporarily fallen out of favor for a non-fundamental reason.”

While an emotionally-driven reaction to market ups and downs should be avoided, some situations can present some opportunities you may be able to use to your advantage. A financial advisor can help you to identify those opportunities, including:

Professionals can provide the reassurance necessary to help you stay the course

From Larissa Mehlfelder, a Director and Principal at Massey Quick Simon, a Harness Wealth financial advising firm:

“During volatile and recessionary times, the conversation often comes back to the longer-term goals for the client. We endeavor to structure their portfolio to “weather the storm.” It’s your responsibility as an advisor to help clients stick to a plan and not have an emotional reaction.”

Many people are quick to make changes to their financial plans in response to a recession instead of simply recognizing it as a natural part of the economic cycle.  An abrupt response to recession could lead to poor decisions such as selling investments low and locking in losses.

Financial advisors can provide industry and historical context so that you don’t make decisions with a long-term negative impact based on heightened emotions or a fear of financial loss. Financial advisors can offer not just an outsiders perspective but a rational, informed assessment of your financial plan. Their expert, well-reasoned advice can help you to make the right choices for the long-haul rather than reacting in the moment.

No one can accurately predict when the market will go up or down, or by how much. While there are additional benefits to working with a financial advisor during periods of economic downturn, there’s no reason to wait for an economic disaster before you get professional advice. If you develop a sound financial plan with an advisor today, you’ll have the peace-of-mind of knowing that future market volatility shouldn’t affect your ability to achieve your goals over time.

Learn more about the Harness Wealth process here.

[1] https://pressroom.vanguard.com/nonindexed/CIRAVOA_092019_online.pdf