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Surges of volatility across the world’s financial markets this year have led to soaring oil prices, declining stocks, and an increase in the level of concern surrounding inflation. Over the past several weeks, investors have been watching the impact of the continuing war in Ukraine, record setting prices, and interest rate hikes play out in their own portfolios.

As of mid-June, the S&P 500 was down over 20%. If you are currently in or getting closer to retirement and are feeling this drop in your own portfolio, know that you are far from alone. However, selling now to avoid further losses may only serve to limit your potential gains in the future.

Read on to learn how to navigate today’s market amid rising political tensions—and why the best strategy may be to wait it out.

With Volatility Comes Opportunity

Many financial experts will recommend staying the course during this time. As CNBC writes, following that advice can be difficult on days such as Tuesday, March 8, when widespread stock decline caused both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index to sink further into correction territory. The following day, those who held on were met with gains that helped both of those indexes break a four-day losing streak

Historic market patterns show that for almost every significant drop, this trend plays out time and time again, as large gains almost always follow major downturns. If concerns about the short-term state of the market have led you to consider selling, you may miss an upswing. In fact, research from J.P. Morgan demonstrates that seven of the ten worst days in the history of the market were followed by some of the largest returns in recent history:


RANK Date Return
1 Oct. 13, 2008 11.60%
2 Oct. 28, 2008 10.80%
3 March 24, 2020 9.40%
4 March 13, 2020 9.30%
5 March 23, 2009 7.10%
6 April 6, 2020 7.00%
7 Nov. 13, 2008 6.90%
8 Nov. 24, 2008 6.50%
9 March 10, 2009 6.40%
10 Nov. 21, 2008 6.30%


Given this phenomenon, if an investor leaves the market soon after experiencing a poor return, it becomes impossible for them to reinvest in time to benefit from the profitable day that may follow.

What to Consider in Place of Selling

While it may be tempting to sell off in the face of major market volatility, loss aversion-induced selling can significantly erode your returns over time. With this in mind, there are several healthy investing habits you can follow to maintain growth and feel confident—even in the face of short-term losses.


Maintain a Cash Buffer

Opting out of selling during the market’s current downswing can also help retirement savers reach their goals in other ways.

Contributing automatically to your 401(k) or Roth IRA through your employer will help give you the discipline to continue investing, even when markets go through volatile periods. In addition, opting to invest enough to get a full employer match—something that many refer to as “free money”—can help increase your investment growth.

Review and Rebalance

During periods of market volatility, it is important to reassess your overall situation and whether your portfolio is working for you. Ask yourself whether your investments are positioned properly for the long-term and whether they are acting like you would expect them to amid current volatility.

Tax-Saving Opportunities

During this time, investors may also want to consider Roth conversions, which involves transferring retirement assets from traditional IRA or other pre-tax retirement accounts to post-tax Roth IRA. As CNBC explained, the transfer will create a tax liability now, which could be reduced in a down market.

By completing a Roth conversion now, investors can also free up cash to deploy in that account in the near future. If market volatility continues as expected, that could present an opportunity to deploy the cash at lower valuations.

For non-retirement portfolios, the current state of the market also presents an opportunity to take advantage of tax-loss harvesting strategies that were not available at the end of 2021 when stocks were higher. This can help lower the taxes you must pay on investment gains or other forms of taxable income. It is especially important to note that investors who leverage this strategy would need to hold off on buying the same or similar securities within 30 days before or after the sale to align with IRS regulations and avoid potential trigger penalties.

Creating the Right Strategy for Your Goals

No matter your current financial positioning or long-term objectives, holding during the market’s current downswing is likely to pay off based on historical data. However, it is equally important to consider your unique needs and what tactics you can use to minimize losses and potentially generate higher returns in the future.

Our team will work with you to better understand which strategies align most closely with your financial goals and how to execute those strategies properly.

If you are interested in pursuing any of these strategies or have any questions about the current state of the market, our team is always happy to schedule a conversation with you. Please don’t hesitate to reach out.





Konish, L. (2022, February 23). These are the smart moves advisors are telling clients to consider now. CNBC. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from ach-in-volatile-markets.html

Konish, L. (2022, March 9). Why you may miss the market’s best days if you sell amid high volatility. CNBC. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from amid-high-volatility.html

Roy, K. (2020, May 6). Impact of being out of the market. J.P. Morgan Asset Management. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from ghts/market-updates/on-the-minds-of-investors/impact-of-being-out-of-the-market/

Solberg, L., & Hossain, J. (2022, March 9). 6 charts on the market’s reaction to Russia-Ukraine war. Morningstar, Inc. Retrieved March 11, 2022, from



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