With the spread of the coronavirus to the United States, many Americans are concerned — not only about their personal situation, friends, and family – but also their financial situation and investments. But there is no need to panic if you are properly prepared, both personally and financially.
Here are four steps to prepare for what’s next.
Get Updates from Reputable Sources
Government organizations like the Center for Disease Control are equipped to provide the most accurate updates on the spread of the illness, and what steps Americans should take to protect themselves. Be wary of sensational sources of information, especially on social media.
Likewise, periods of market volatility tend to bring about alarmist headlines in the financial news. Too often, these articles are written not to inform, but rather to provoke the reader and to generate fear.
Have an Emergency Plan
It is always wise to have a plan in place in case of an emergency. The Department of Homeland Security maintains a list of items for Americans to have on-hand in the event of an emergency.
Likewise, be sure your personal financial situation is designed to ride out short-term market volatility. This includes having money set aside in cash or bonds to meet short-term spending needs.
Manage the Risks
Limit the spread of germs and prevent infection through frequent hand-washing, avoiding close contact with people who are sick, and covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing.
With respect to your investment portfolio, maintain proper balance between stocks and bonds. Focusing on investments in with solid underlying fundamentals. They may go down in a market sell-off, but ultimately will bounce back.
Keep Things in Perspective
We do not know exactly what to expect in the coming weeks and months as cases of the illness rise. However, by taking the steps outlined above you can feel confident that you are well prepared for what’s next.
The health scare has already had an impact on the market, and will likely continue to create volatility over the coming weeks and months. Long-term, however, we do not anticipate the virus will remain an issue for the markets, as the crisis stage of the illness spread will eventually pass.
Accordingly, we recommend that long-term equity investors look beyond present volatility with an eye toward reaching their ultimate investment goals.