WHEN STOCKS slump, experts are often quick to advise investors to sit tight or, better still, buy more. But that won’t be the right advice for everybody.
Christine Benz, Morningstar’s director of personal finance and one of my favorite financial writers, recently penned an article listing five questions to ask yourself if you’re pondering whether to reduce your stock exposure during a bear market. I figured I’d work through the five questions—and see what I could learn about my own finances.
ON APRIL 14, 1988, Captain Paul Rinn was the commanding officer of the USS Samuel B. Roberts when it struck a mine in the Persian Gulf. The resulting explosion tore a 21-foot hole in the side of the frigate. Almost immediately, the ship began taking on water and multiple fires broke out.
Naval protocol for this situation was clear: Put out the fires first, then worry about patching the hull. But after just a few minutes of firefighting,
THE PLOT, THE SCRIPT and the characters may have changed. But we’ve seen this movie before.
The current stock market swoon strikes many folks as unprecedented: It’s the frantic financial sideshow to a devastating global tragedy—one that’s seen 1.1 million people fall ill and 60,000 die, with every expectation that the numbers will be many multiples worse before the COVID-19 pandemic is over.
Yet, on closer inspection, 2020’s bear market doesn’t seem so different from earlier market declines.
COVID-19 HAS HIT all of us. Small business owners, especially those with families to support, face great financial risk. Ditto for contract workers and others with little job security. Even those with relatively steady nine-to-five white collar jobs have good reason to be nervous.
Meanwhile, those nearing retirement might need to put their plans on hold. Millennials like me, though we lived through 2008, have more financial responsibility this time around—and sense the gravity of COVID-19 and its consequences.
AFTER A SHORT but rough tender ride, we’re now off the Zaandam and on the Rotterdam, where we are once again quarantined in our cabin, thankfully still with a balcony. We are through the Panama Canal and now near Cuba. Our three-and-a-half week “mystery” cruise is—we hope—drawing to a close.
On March 30, Colombia refused to allow a plane to land on one of its islands near us. The plane carried medical supplies for the Zaandam.
THERE WAS ONLY one thing that readers were interested in last month—and pretty much only one thing that we wrote about: the coronavirus and its impact on our finances. But which of HumbleDollar’s articles were most popular with readers? Here are the top seven:
When the financial markets give you lemons, make lemonade: James McGlynn spots four opportunities amid the decline in share prices and bond yields.
What’s driving stocks lower? It’s all about the disruption to supply and demand in the real economy,
WHEN ASKED, most people say their most valuable financial asset is their home. But what gave them the financial wherewithal to buy that house, as well as to purchase a car, buy food and pay for vacations? It was their career. Everything that has a financial component in our life starts with our earnings potential.
Take a young adult making $60,000 a year. Assuming a 2% annual raise, he or she would haul in nearly $3 million over a 35-year career.
ONE OF MY FATHER’S favorite sayings was, “This too shall pass.” Recent events have made me dwell on its meaning—and wonder where the phrase came from.
It seems to have originated as a Persian adage. It was employed in a speech by Abraham Lincoln before he became the 16th president: “It is said an Eastern monarch once charged his wise men to invent him a sentence, to be ever in view, and which should be true and appropriate in all times and situations.
WE ALL KNOW financial literacy is important. But it’s especially important if you’re a woman.
According to the Gates Foundation, “No matter where you are born, your life will be harder if you are born a girl.” Today is Equal Pay Day—the day when U.S. women finally earn enough to “catch up” with men’s earnings from the previous year. Women in the U.S. earn 82% of what men do for equivalent work and,
ALTHOUGH THE 2020 market plunge isn’t even six weeks old, there are already lessons we can learn from this financial crisis that can help us better manage our investment portfolio. Here are six takeaways from the current downturn, which has left the S&P 500 off 25% from its Feb. 19 high:
1. During a financial crisis, you often hear the phrase, “Stay the course.” It’s meant to encourage investors to stick with their financial plan during difficult times.
BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY Chairman Warren Buffett, in his most recent annual report, described an event that occurred at a Berkshire subsidiary last year. Late one night, a fire spilled over from a neighboring business, resulting in significant damage to the Berkshire facility, forcing it to shut down.
Fortunately, no one was injured and, as Buffett notes, the losses will be covered by insurance. Problem is, one of the company’s largest insurers was, as Buffett put it,
IT’S BEEN A TAD over five weeks since the S&P 500 hit its all-time high. Five weeks have never felt so long.
It isn’t just all the articles that I’ve been writing and editing. I’ve also been busy with my own finances. I was on the verge of closing on the sale of my apartment here in New York and moving to Philadelphia. But then my buyer’s business collapsed amid the coronavirus slowdown and,
YES, I’M STILL at sea. Confinement in our cabin is wearing thin. But unfortunately, with ports closed and politicians opposed to us docking in Florida, the end isn’t in sight.
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be totally dependent on someone who you can’t see and have no contact with? Me neither. But now, I know.
Bottles of water show up at our door, the last one a full gallon.
IN RECENT WEEKS, my wife and I have seen scheduled activities for the next few months come crashing down. Two long-planned vacations with friends, our various volunteer work and our son’s college semester have all been cancelled.
It appears we’ll be effectively quarantined at home for the next two or three months. That means plenty of time to worry about—and work on—our investment portfolio. But it’s also a great chance to bring greater order to our household assets:
I’VE BEEN TRYING to imagine what the immediate future will look like. How do we make sense of a situation where we seem to have so little control? You hear estimates of a few weeks to 18 months before things get back to normal.
I’ll admit I’ve lately had many sleepless nights worrying about all of this. How can we think about the financial implications in an organized way? It strikes that maybe we should ponder the financial issues we currently face in the same way we think about retirement.