Calm, Concerned, Catatonic?

The markets have been feeling good about The Donald.

How are you feeling?

From calm to concerned to catatonic.

That’s the spectrum of emotions I hear when people contact me with questions about the effect of the new administration’s policies on their portfolios.

The fact that the value of many portfolios has significantly increased during the “Trump Rally” has not helped the situation. In fact, the higher stocks go, the more nervous stock holders become. [I imagine the recent downturn, however slight, has not made anyone feel a whole lot better.]

If you feel the need to take action, I suggest you look at this unsettling moment as an opportunity to take a fresh look at your long-term financial situation.

1. Check your allocation. Generally speaking, the higher the percentage of stocks, the higher the risk, the return, and the volatility. With the rise in US stocks during the pre-Trump years, you may find you are invested more aggressively than you thought, and could indeed experience more volatility than you want.

2. Check your financial plan. A plan can’t predict the future, but it can help you evaluate short-term decisions in light of your long-term goals. Maybe you can afford to dial down the risk, and the returns, and still reach your goals. Emotions aside, politics aside, that’s usually a valid reason to change a portfolio.

3. Check your cash. Having cash on hand is good for your nerves and your financial health. Having sufficient cash savings means you can wait out a downturn without being forced to sell investments when the time and the price are not optimal.

[Like another opinion? Consider “One Crucial Investment Question: Are Your Goals Different Now?” an article by Ron Lieber in “The New York Times.” ]

If the current political environment tells you that it’s time to get a financial plan, or update the plan you already have, I recommend you choose an hourly planner — someone who doesn’t sell any financial products, and can be 100% objective about you, your goals and your investments.

With or without Donald Trump, the markets will continue to move up and down in 2017 and beyond, but with the right plan, and the right planner, you’ll feel confident that you’re moving ahead.

I look forward to hearing from you.

P.S. Yes, I am living in Bellingham, Washington. No, I am not retired.

It may not be for everyone, but I am successfully working virtually with clients in far-off places, like California. We use online meetings, email, even ancient technologies, like the telephone and US Mail.

Do get in touch. If we can’t work together on a virtual basis, I am happy to recommend planners who are closer to home.