Fear Is Not An Investing Strategy!

In recent days, the airwaves have been inundated with all things COVID-19! At the time of writing this article, the infectious disease had not been reported as a pandemic but may be on its way. It is often the mistake of many individual investors to attempt to know the movements of the stock market. When a disruptive force gives the markets an opportunity to correct, investors not only help the market correct but substantially contribute to the degree of correction. One method of assistance is the overwhelming and uncanny ability humans possess for allowing fear to grip their lives so dramatically that bad decisions are turned into horrific decisions.

At the turn of the new year, the coronavirus began its assault on the people of China. We can debate whether the communication and unified efforts of the Ministry of Health of the People’s Republic of China and the World Health Organization (WHO) may have stifled the transmission of the disease. The fact is that this strain of coronavirus has spread rather quickly from one hemisphere to the next arriving in our nation on the west coast.

What does this information have to do with investing, you ask? Fundamentally, the same companies that achieved record profits in 2019 are the same ones that investor are now selling because of potential supply line delays or collapse. China provides a significant amount of goods to the Unites States. However, the companies that purchase their primary inventories from China for further manufacturing their products in the U.S. continue to hold substantial cash positions on their balance sheets, enjoy full employment of their workforce and, as mentioned earlier, know how to make a profit.

So, what is all of the concern about COVID-19? First, the ability to cope with unknown environmental infirmity by individual investors is almost nonexistent. Two emotions drive most of the market purchases and sells – fear and greed. One of the most often quoted statements of wisdom about these emotions was coined by one of the greatest investors of our lifetime, Warren Buffett. He said, “It is wise to be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.” The markets’ precipitous drop, as reported by the S&P500 and DJIA, for the period of February 19 through 28 can only be explained with fear. Stocks that were successful and reported good growth in 2019 were now being liquidated so quickly the indices reported an 11% drop meeting the definition of a correction.

Understanding that people are concerned about their overall investment portfolios, I recommend they revisit their purposes for accumulating the investments. If you have a change in your long-term need, your physical well-being has improved or declined dramatically, your family has received an unexpected windfall of assets – these are valid reasons to rebalance your portfolio to reduce risk or increase opportunity. To attempt to time the market by simply selling out after the decline of the market only converts your unrealized loss to a realized one. In country terms of my father’s remarking, “that is about as wise as shutting the barn door after the horse has left the barn.”

The better approach to protecting your family’s long-term investment savings is to make decisions out of unbiased research and analysis. Study the fundamentals of the markets and set a level of expected risk that will trigger the time of rebalancing instead of allowing fear to drive your decisions and possibly cost your family the security you desired in the first place. 

If you feel that you can’t make the decisions necessary to stay the course of your original investment approach, seek out a Certified Financial Planner™ professional and ask for a complimentary consultation and stress-test of your portfolio. You may sleep better at night.

Related Podcasts

Strategies for Filing for Medicare Benefits

One of the most complex benefits provided by the federal government is Medicare. Numerous elections that affect your lifetime benefits cause people much anxiety. You will learn when and why to file for certain benefits under the Medicare laws in this article.

While working, employers generally provide health insurance benefits for its employees. The coverages are broad and provide a level of safety for the participants. However, when a worker turns age 65, some strategies must be considered about filing for Medicare in a timely and appropriate manner.

Medicare Part A is the program that provides hospitalization coverage for in-patient care, hospice care, skilled nursing facility care and home health care. The cost for this coverage is free to individuals who have worked forty (40) quarters during their career and contributed to the system through payroll deductions. When examining your paystub, the payment for this program is deducted from your gross pay at 1.45% per pay period. All qualified individuals should file for Medicare Part A coverage upon turning age 65 regardless of employment.

If an individual continues to work beyond age 65, Medicare Part A serves as a supplemental to the person’s employer-provided group coverage if the plan covers equal to or more than 20 employees. However, if the employer plan covers fewer than 20 employees, additional research will need to be performed with your employer-plan provider. The insurance company may or may not cover your healthcare needs as the primary insurer. 

Medicare Part B is the program that provides medical insurance for out-patient care. This type of coverage will provide payment for services from your doctors, durable medical equipment costs, preventive services and home health care. The premiums for Medicare Part B are borne, partially, by every participant. For 2019, the monthly premium for Medicare Part B is $135.50. However, some participants may be required to pay an additional amount referred to as the “Part B income-related adjustment amount” if his or her modified adjusted gross income is greater than $85,000 for a single person or $170,000 for a joint filer. Modified adjusted gross income is defined as adjusted gross income plus tax-exempt interest.

One area of the Medicare Programs that many people don’t understand, or utilize appropriately, is Medicare Part D, the prescription drug coverage. Anyone that is needing prescription drugs on a regular basis for their care should consider the benefits of enrolling in Medicare Part D. There are several punitive measures for failing to enroll at your first opportunity. Many different carriers provide plans for this program and a professional should be consulted to determine which plan is most appropriate for your needs.

Medicare is a wonderful program for those qualified individuals. You don’t have to worry or wonder if you are utilizing the program to its fullest extent. Consult a CPA or Certified Financial PlannersTM practitioner to assist you in enrolling for this important coverage. For additional information about retirement benefits and strategies, please go to our Compass Capital Management Resource Center.

Related Podcasts