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Press Release

Low Volatility Market: Ways to Reduce Risks That Persist

August 22, 2017

Senior CFP Board Ambassador Jill Schlesinger, CFP® offers tips for investors who might be complacent 

Rising asset values in the stock and housing markets, and low volatility, could be tricking investors into a sense of complacency.  To mitigate unanticipated risks, investors will need to revisit their financial strategy, said Senior CFP Board Ambassador Jill Schlesinger, CFP®. 

“Amid this environment, you might be wondering: What could go wrong? Remember that risks persist. While their existence does not mean that long-term investors should change their game plans, risks are a reminder to guard against complacency and to approach investing with caution.”

Through the first seven months of the year, none of three major stock market indexes has fallen by more than 5 percent. One gauge of market movement, the CBOE Volatility Index (VIX), which measures investors’ expectation of the ups and downs of the S&P 500 Index over the next month, recently dropped to its lowest level in 24 years.

One danger for individual investors in a low-volatility market is that they can be drawn into the illusion that investing is easy – or that they can beat the market. In her latest contribution to LetsMakeAPlan.org, Schlesinger offers the following tips to help investors avoid a false sense of security.

1. Have a financial plan: Control your financial destiny by creating a financial game plan with your CFP® professional, which considers your risk tolerance and puts you on track to save enough money to reach your delineated goals. 

2. Beware the savings trap: Rising asset values in the stock and housing markets can lead investors to gloss over the basics. “In 2006, I met with a then-client whose net worth had jumped because of a combination of a booming stock market and skyrocketing real estate prices,” Schlesinger said. “In his mind, he didn’t have to save more money.” You probably can guess what happened in the ensuing years.

3. Rebalance your diversified portfolio: There is no better time to rebalance your portfolio than when stock markets are calm and rising. Additionally, this could be an ideal time to replenish your emergency reserve fund, which is where you set aside enough money to cover six to 12 months of living expenses.

4. Stop trying to beat or time the market: Despite evidence that it’s nearly impossible to beat the market consistently over the long term, many investors still delude themselves into thinking they can do so. The same theory goes for those who may also be sitting atop some cash and waiting for the “right” time to put it to work. Who knows when that will be? Although you may invest at the seemingly “wrong” time, putting your money to work brings you one step closer to reaching your goals.

Americans who need help creating and sticking to investment and financial plans that work in all kinds of markets can turn to CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals, who are trained to provide a comprehensive evaluation of their clients’ financial needs and recommend the most appropriate plan to address those needs.  CFP® professionals are also required to put their clients’ interests ahead of their own and adhere to a fiduciary duty when providing financial planning services.