How To Manage Your Finances In A Crisis

Wednesday, April 22, 2020 | Leave a comment

By Darrell Bryant

No one can deny that we are in the thick of things right now. Between a global pandemic, economic worries, and political uncertainty, it’s no surprise that we are seeing increased market volatility. All of this uncertainty may be causing you to wonder, “How will this affect me?” or “Will my portfolio recover?”

While the severity of these events is not to be minimized, we can battle fear and anxiety by going beyond the headlines and educating ourselves with the facts. With that in mind, here are 5 financial actions you can take during these turbulent times.

1. Touch Base With Your Advisor

Your financial advisor is educated about what’s going on and will be able to give you clarity on exactly what is happening to your portfolio. Your advisor has likely been through market turmoil before and can help you feel confident that you have a well-balanced portfolio, built based on your needs and your risk level. 

2. Look For Opportunities

This quote by Warren Buffett is all too applicable: “Be fearful when others are greedy and greedy when others are fearful.”

In every stock market downturn, opportunities may be waiting for those with the right perspective to see it. Where many people go wrong in volatile times like these is selling near the bottom of a bear market, staying on the sidelines during a good portion of the recovery, and then jumping back in closer to the next top. Put that together, and you not only lose money but also lose out on potential growth and compound interest from the time you were out of the market. Emotional investing can cost you.

It may seem counterintuitive, but keep investing consistently. When stock market prices are down, you can think of it as an opportunity to snap up some bargains before the recovery takes place. In the previous market crash of 2008/2009, the people who continued to invest strategically had the opportunity to make a significant return on their investment. 

3. Minimize Taxes

Tax-loss harvesting is the strategy of selling a security that has experienced a loss. By realizing a loss, investors can offset taxes. The sold security is usually replaced by a similar one to maintain the desired asset allocation and expected returns. With the markets hitting low points, it might be an ideal time for you to sell something and take the loss, but then buy something to participate in the market’s recovery. If you look for the opportunity to invest in something similar or rebalance, you could have a tax deduction to use for this year and potentially even future years. 

Before doing this, talk with your advisor about how much of a difference this could make on your financial plan.

4. Look Into A Roth Conversion

Market downturns can be the perfect time to convert to a Roth IRA and pay significantly less in taxes, not to mention we may be at the lowest tax rates we will see in our lifetime. Let’s say you have an IRA that used to be worth $100,000 and is now worth $75,000. You could convert this position now and pay less in taxes than what you would have paid when it was worth $100,000…25% less.

There are many factors to consider when deciding if a Roth conversion is right for you, such as your current income versus your expected retirement income, your projected minimum required distributions, the tax implications, current liquidity, etc. Making this decision is something you should discuss with your advisor. 

5.  Consider Your Options

A few other opportunities you could take advantage of with lower interest rates and stock prices are the following:

  • Weigh the pros and cons of refinancing your home.
  • Purchase future travel at a discount. 
  • Fund a 529 for your child’s college tuition with low market prices.
  • Refinance any outstanding debt.
  • Buy a home at a discount if you are currently renting. 

Are You Ready To Take Control?

When this market volatility has passed (and it will), some will lose, some will break even, and some will get ahead. We at D. Bryant Retirement Strategies want to see you get ahead, and we welcome the opportunity to help you make decisions that will enhance your finances so that when we go back to our regular routines, we do so with more clarity and confidence. To get in touch, easily schedule a complimentary consultation by calling us at (402) 932-2141 or emailing contact@dbretirement.com.

About Darrell

Darrell Bryant, CFS®, CAS® is Omaha’s Retirement Strategist. As the founder of D. Bryant Retirement Strategies, he focuses on helping individuals and couples nearing retirement do so successfully. Along with more than 30 years of experience, he received the Certified Fund Specialist (CFS®) designation and a Certified Annuity Specialist (CAS®) designation from the Institute of Business & Finance. Passionate about helping as many people as possible in his community, he hosts Retirement Strategies Radio, heard Saturday mornings at 8:00 a.m. on 1110 KFAB. He has also written articles on financial planning that have been featured on Fortune.com, FoxBusiness.com, Money.com, and in the Midland Business Journal. To learn more, visit his blog, his website, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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