Jan 23

Coping with Down Markets

By R. Todd Holden | Financial Advisor

In spite of my long-held and deep conviction that stocks and stock mutual funds are an incredibly effective tool for middle-class Americans wanting to create wealth, I feel the strain and stress of down markets just like my clients do.  The difference is I need to assist my clients through these difficult times without them making decisions that will hurt them and their families in the long run. 

An industry colleague recently wrote that learning how to cope with down markets is akin to flying an airplane; you can read all about it, but you really have to experience it to understand it. He’s right. All the charts, statistics and investor questionnaires we advisors like to use are meaningless when you see negative balances on your statements. 

Here’s what I look at to maintain an optimistic, long-term outlook when faced with down markets.

Life Magazine – June 5th, 1970. The cover of this issue has a ferocious bear with its mouth wide open and is titled “INFLATION, RECESSION AND A FRANTIC BEAR MARKET.” Our economy has grown substantially since then. Leading companies of today such as Google, Microsoft, Apple and Amazon did not exist when this was published.

Time Magazine – November 2, 1987. This cover is titled, “THE CRASH – After a wild week on Wall  Street, the world is different.” My wife still has the “I Survived Black Monday” t-shirt that my employer at the time gave me. The t-shirt has lasted longer much longer than the bear market, although it’s a little threadbare at this point.

The ICA Guide from American Funds.  American Funds updates this guide annually. This is not a recommendation to purchase the Investment Company of America (ICA), but this guide provides a wealth of information on why stock market investing makes sense. The highlight is their Mountain Chart which shows the history of the fund, but more importantly, the trials and tribulations that our country has faced each and every year since the fund began in 1934. Some of these we remember: Pearl Harbor, the Kennedy assassination, Nixon’s resignation, 9/11 and a few others still resonate as “where were you when….” moments in our national conscience. However, most of the leading news stories from years gone by are faint memories now. This is why I look at the Mountain Chart regularly; it reminds me that in spite of it all, we muddle through, adapt, and our economy grows.

Our statements for the last three months have been difficult to open. This may continue.

Regardless of how long this down market lasts, we all need to find a way to cope with it so that short-term troubles don’t turn into long-term mistakes. I have found what works for me, and it is in your best interest to find a system that works for you. This could include calling your advisor. It’s what we’re here for.

If you would like a copy of the ICA Guide, your advisor can send one to you. I’m sorry but I’m keeping my copies of Life and Time. I still need them occasionally.


The opinions voiced in this material are for general information only and not intended to provide specific advice or recommendations for any one individual. All investments involve risks, including possible loss of principal. Historical performance is not an indication of future results.
Securities offered through LPL Financial, member FINRA/SIPC. Insurance products offered through LPL Financial or its licensed affiliates. Investment advice offered through Northwest Financial Advisors, a registered investment advisor and separate entity from LPL Financial.
Not NCUA Insured. | Not Credit Union Guaranteed. | May Lose Value.


Todd Holden, Financial Advisor

Todd Holden

Financial Advisor

Recent Articles