The wild swings in the financial markets this week due to the fallout from Chinese stocks could be prompting some anxious calls from investors to their CPA.
The American Institute of CPAs has some advice from CPA financial planners that should be handy for calming anxious clients:
"When you start seeing your investment account balance drop, it’s important to keep in mind a few things. First, remember what you can control and what you can’t. We certainly have no control over anything that happens in China, or anywhere else, so worrying about it won’t change anything. Try to get away from the news and stay calm. Remember the hard times in the past and it will make this one not seem so bad.
"Evaluate rebalancing and loss harvesting. When applicable, these moves can provide a silver lining during a market downturn. Assuming a portfolio was properly constructed by acknowledging that market go up and down, and tailoring its risk level its owner’s willingness to take risk, it makes sense to maintain a disciplined approach. While a disciplined approach involves following the same investment plan, it does not mean doing nothing at all. Since investors can offset losses against gains, and also take $3,000 in additional losses against regular income, this is should be part of your ongoing portfolio management program.
"A bear market is a great time to continue to add money to your portfolio. A CPA financial planner who offers investment advice can help you determine when this move makes sense based on your current financial situation and risk tolerance.
"How to make a plan so next time market turmoil hits, investors are ready:
"Know who you are as an investor. When trying to decide what to do with your portfolio when times are bad, the first question to ask yourself is “Do I have an investment philosophy?” If you don’t, a bear market can be an expensive place to find one. Without an investment philosophy that you believe in, everything that you read and hear will sound correct. The Dalbar studies have consistently shown that the average investor underperforms the market because they jump around—they don’t know what their investment philosophy is. If you decide you are a passive investor, then build a diversified portfolio and stick with it.
"Investors should be just that, investors. A long-term view (a minimum of 10 years) should be what a person would consider for investing. If funds are needed within a 10 year span, those funds should not be invested; they should be in cash and cash equivalents. Two-thirds of the time markets will be up and one-third of the time they’ll down, based on history. The types of days we have seen recently have happened in the past and will happen in the future. While history does not repeat itself, it can be a teaching tool.
"The average investor should have an asset allocation balanced in a way that it mirrors the person’s risk tolerance. CPA financial planners determine someone’s risk tolerance—and establish a rate of return in line with it—using historical returns and standard deviation (a measure of market volatility), allowing them to put different percentage mixes of the various asset classes together and “score” the various asset allocations to solve for a risk and return combination that an individual would be comfortable with."