The S&P 500 (which represents over 500 of the biggest companies in the U.S.) had its worst December since 1931. What happened next? The S&P 500 had its best January since 1987. In December, did we panic and sell? No. In January, did we get over-confident and make irrational decisions? Didn’t do that either. Instead, we stayed calm. And we stayed calm because we know this is what markets do; they’ve done this before too many times to count, so when it happened in December / January, we were prepared and we knew how to handle it, and when it happens again, we’ll be prepared for that too.
Kudos to our clients because not one panicked in December; there were emails and phone calls, which are welcomed, but nobody sold while the markets were down. If it was warranted, we took opportunities to shift money into stocks for clients and (on paper at least) they’ve received a little extra boost in their portfolio’s value with January’s rebound, more so than if we had done nothing in December, or even worse, had we sold in December.
Again, stay calm and stay the course, but the more of these quick volatile moves we get through, the better prepared and less worried we’ll be when they happen again.