There’s a lot of anxiety — especially for retirees and those soon to retire — over the 2018 midterm elections, with everyone wondering what Congress will look like come January.
Will Democrats seize control and look to impeach President Donald Trump, sending the stock market into a nosedive? Or Will Republicans maintain control, ensuring at least two more years of tax cuts and deregulation? Will your 401(k) make it out the other side alive? What about the national debt that has ballooned to levels not seen since the Great Recession in 2010?
If you’ve gotten yourself all worked up, relax.
A recent article by CNBC highlights a few things you should keep in mind, mainly that this won’t be the last election of your retirement and there will likely be many, many more. You will see more election surprises and probably a couple of bear markets, according to Andrew Crowell, vice chairman of wealth management at D.A. Davidson & Co., an investment company.
Whether the long-term bull market will derail is one thing, and there’s no point in trying to do anything at this point other than keep an eye out for potential opportunities, as is always the case.
Take health care. Republicans were unable to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act, so the ACA is still the law of the land. “However, if we see a red sweep of any substance it’s quite possible we could see real gyrations in the health-care market,” Crowell said.
“Insurers typically don’t fare as well, because they take the brunt of price caps,” said Crowell. “But health care is also a fantastic high-growth sector.
“The convergence of science and technology bring life-saving solutions unlike anything we’ve seen before.”
Keep Your Shirt On
Do not rush out and adjust your portfolio on Wednesday after the elections. No matter the outcome, it will take time for new leaders to formulate a plan.
No matter your age or how close you are to retirement, recognize that your savings time frame is going to include a lot of elections, and a lot of election surprises, and probably several bear markets.
If you’re younger, you should probably welcome market volatility. “The stock market is one of the only commodities where people get depressed when it goes on sale,” Crowell said.
Younger investors may not know the Warren Buffett hamburger analogy. It goes like this: If you love hamburgers and the price drops by 20 percent, wouldn’t you really love a hamburger? “A young investor who is committed to systematically investing through ups and downs should celebrate,” Crowell said.
Closing In On Retirement
If you’re within five years of retirement, have a budget plan in place that lists where your income will come from after you’ve received your final paycheck.
“Map out at least 20 to 30 years,” he said. A higher percentage of people who retire in their 60s will live into their 80s and 90s.
Assets should become more conservative as you move closer to retirement. “Yet, it still should never be so conservative that one risks hamstringing their potential returns in retirement,” Crowell said.
Don’t exit equities entirely. Plan for two or three decades of retirement fun and make sure your money keeps pace with the cost of living — and make sure your portfolio still anticipates market volatility.
We’re all familiar with the mountain chart of the S&P 500 and how it keeps climbing up to the right. “With that mental picture, I would tell people to pause and take a deep breath any time before getting emotional about anything in the short term,” Crowell said.
And while elections determine who leads the country, the stock market still comes down to one thing: each company’s boardroom.
“The stock market is nothing more than the compilation of the share prices of a lot of individual companies,” Crowell said. “It still goes back to a company’s boardroom.”
“We have such a long history of seeing how the stock market performs or recovers after elections that have surprise outcomes or predicted outcomes,” Crowell said.
And when share prices rise, it’s not because there is a Republican or a Democrat in office.
“Profitability may change, but companies need to navigate the new playing field after an election, and history shows that most do.”
No matter how Americans vote, companies will still hold meetings to determine how they’ll sell more cars or more toothpaste.