Market volatility got you down or have you feeling stressed? You're definitely not alone! Clients often bring us their worries about an unstable market -- and we always encourage them to share their concerns.
After all, that's one of the many ways that wealth advisors add alpha, or value, to the wealth management process: By explaining the ins and outs of the market, your private wealth advisor also helps you maintain the discipline you need to stay the course, especially when a volatile market has got you spooked.
Here are a few topics to discuss with your wealth advisor in order to improve your peace of mind in troubled times.
The Equity Market's Unpredictable Nature
If there's one universal truth about the equity market, it has to be that it is -- above all else -- unpredictable. Despite what the financial media and those who advocate stock picking and market timing would have you think, no one can accurately predict the market with consistency.
If someone says they can, they're trying to sell you something. Plus, if someone really had all the answers, why would they share them? Wouldn't it make more sense to keep quiet and reap the benefits of this prescient knowledge? No one knows if a certain stock will go up or down, if the market will boom or bust. So take a deep breath and relax in the knowledge that, over the long-term -- as in the last century -- the market experiences gains about 80 percent of the time.
Your Comprehensive Financial Plan and the Financial Media
If you pay attention to the financial media, whether watching investing shows on TV or reading the financial news in the paper or online, you probably feel inundated with investment advice. The next time you're watching breathless coverage of the latest "major financial event" affecting the markets, stop and remember that the financial media -- in all its iterations -- exists to make money.
And how does it make money? Through sensationalism. Dramatic headlines strike fear into the hearts of viewers, which, in turn ups the ratings and helps to sell more commercials. It's that simple.
Keep these tactics in mind the next time you sit down to watch your favorite financial show, and don't fall for the hype. Bring your concerns to your wealth advisor, who can assure that you've got a solid, comprehensive financial plan that can weather the storm... and then unplug. Bonus: the behavioral coaching that your advisor provides to keep you steady at the helm actually adds an average of 1.5 percent to your annual return, says Vanguard.
Costs Matter: Why Fee Only Makes Sense
Figure out exactly how much the wealth management process costs. This involves more than simply the fees you pay for investment guidance and wealth management services; you've also got to take other factors into account, such as:
- Your tax burden
- Commissions related to high turnover and active trading
- Front load fees
- 12b-1 fees
These additional costs add up quickly, and can take a significant bite out of your earnings. We suggest using a fee only financial advisor that only charges a fixed fee and practices transparent accounting. Knowing where all your money is going will help you sleep easier at night.