Your investment portfolio is like a bar of soap. The more you touch it, the smaller it will get.
Let’s be real: Some of our clients are skittish. Like many people, when they see negative headlines, their first instinct is to sell their stock holdings and head for the perceived safety of cash. This is a bad idea for lots of reasons.
First, though, let’s get one thing out of the way off the top: You should know that Azzad receives no financial incentive to keep you in stocks. We charge a fee comprised of a percentage of assets held, which means no commissions, no hot stock tips, and no gimmicks. You pay us for advice. We’re not brokers; we’re registered investment advisors, which means that we have a fiduciary duty to the clients we serve. Simply put, we’re legally obligated to put our clients’ needs first. We’re looking out for you.
So, when an Azzad advisor recommends that you stay the course, it’s not because he or she is trying to squeeze money out of you; it’s because they’re trying to keep you from getting squeezed. That’s their job.
Next, up volatility. After years of relative calm, it’s back with a vengeance. Rationally, we all know that our accounts can go up and down each day–sometimes by a lot. We know that when we get into investing. It comes with the territory. Checking your account can create unnecessary stress and perhaps worse, may end up pushing you to act when you shouldn’t.
It might be helpful to think of stock ownership like home ownership. Your home is an asset, too, probably one of your largest assets. But chances are you’re not checking Zillow every day to see how the value has changed because you’re not planning on selling any time soon. You know the housing market goes up and down.
Unfortunately, when the market is up and everyone is growing their assets, planning and portfolio construction can take a backseat for many investors. Portfolios that are thoughtfully constructed and diversified are built to withstand a variety of market conditions over the long term. That is not to say things can’t go wrong or diversification will insulate you from losses—because it won’t.
But investors have much better odds of success when they rely on tested investment principles, data-driven methodologies, and the support of an Azzad advisor who will help them navigate choppy waters.
Financial planning and modeling is perhaps the best way to sleep at night during periods of extreme market volatility. In working with clients, we run Monte Carlo simulations to account for the inevitable ups and downs in the market to help investors grow comfortable with what their portfolio may be able to withstand over time.
We’ve said it before, but it bears repeating. “Time in the market” is generally more effective than trying to time the market. An investor who remained fully invested in the U.S. stock market over the past 30 years would have received almost triple the return of an investor who missed the best 12 months of market performance.
Regardless of what happens to the markets, stick to your investment program. Market pros agree: Changing your strategy at the wrong time can be the single most devastating mistake you can make as an investor. And even if they won’t say it outright, deep down they know the following is true: Going all cash is a stupid financial move.