Financial Planning
May 31, 2022

Coping with Market Volatility

Stewart Willis

2022 has been one of the most volatile times for the stock market in recent memory. In the first quarter of the year, the S&P 500 had its most dismal beginning of the year since 1939. World events such as the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the ongoing coronavirus pandemic all played a part in making an extremely turbulent economy.

So how do we navigate these volatile times? How do we protect our finances? There are several strategies that I guide my clients through.

Have a Plan

Benjamin Franklin is credited with the saying that “failing to plan is planning to fail,” and that is true when it comes to your retirement and your overall finances.

Having a plan starts with budgeting, working to pay off your debt and contributing to a retirement fund. You don’t have to designate where every single dollar is going, instead, you can follow the 80/20 rule. The rule designates the first 20% of your paycheck toward investments, savings or debt repayment. It also goes toward an emergency fund that should cover three to six months of your expenses. The remaining 80% will go toward your wants and needs of anything from food to entertainment.

There are many financial plans you can follow, and what works for your friend may not work for you. That’s why it’s important to meet with a financial advisor to turn your dreams into a fool proof, comprehensive plan.

Gauge Your Risk

How comfortable are you with risk? No matter what kind of investor you are, there is usually going to be some risk. There are several kinds of quizzes and resources out there that will gauge your risk tolerance; I recommend this one from Charles Schwab.

Understanding your comfort level with risk can help guide your strategies as an investor. Conservative investors should minimize their exposure to risk or they will be extremely uneasy during these volatile time periods. Don’t bet more than you are willing to lose, especially if you are at or nearing retirement age.

Diversify Your Portfolio

Part of having a plan is knowing exactly where you are putting your money. Are you diversifying your investments? As the old saying goes, don’t put all your eggs in one basket. Your portfolio should be diversified in order to withstand the ebbs and flows of a volatile market.

In order to reduce your risk as an investor, your portfolio should blend different investments by spreading the wealth amongst a variety of sectors. You might consider a mutual fund, ETFs(exchange-traded funds) or real estate investment trusts. Don’t just narrow your options to what you see in the stock market.

Diversifying will spread your investments out in order to limit a great deal of exposure on a singular asset.

Diversify Ideas

Beyond diversifying your portfolio, you should also be diversifying your money management. Do you have someone you trust guiding you through volatile financial times? At Asset Preservation Tax & Retirement Services, we don’t just rely on the guidance of our advisors, we meet with money managers and advisors at BlackRock, some of the smartest financial professionals in the entire world.

We’re constantly looking for ways to diversify ideas, learn and evolve in order to do things better and provide the most sound advice to our clients.

Focus on the Long Term

The most damaging thing you can do to your portfolio is to become short-sighted on what the market is doing at this exact moment in time. Volatility in the market is to be expected, but the real mark of a successful money manager is someone who can withstand the tides.

I tell my clients to never let their emotions get the best of them. When the market is down, don’t run from it and panic-sell. Instead, run to a trusted financial advisor who will help you build a financial plan that can withstand even the highest tides.

Stewart Willis is the founder and president of Asset Preservation Wealth & Tax, a financial planning firm in Phoenix, Arizona. Investment advisory services offered through Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC, an SEC registered investment adviser.

The commentary on this blog reflects the personal opinions, viewpoints and analyses of the author, Stewart Willis, providing such comments, and should not be regarded as a description of advisory services provided by Foundations Investment Advisors, LLC (“Foundations”), an SEC registered investment adviser or performance returns of any Foundations client. The views reflected in the commentary are subject to change at any time without notice. Nothing on this website constitutes investment, legal or tax advice, performance data or any recommendation that any particular security, portfolio of securities, transaction or investment strategy is suitable for any specific person. Personal investment advice can only be rendered after the engagement of Foundations for services, execution of required documentation, including receipt of required disclosures. Any mention of a particular security and related performance data is not a recommendation to buy or sell that security. Foundations manages its clients’ accounts using a variety of investment techniques and strategies, which are not necessarily discussed in the commentary. Any statistical data or information obtained from or prepared by third party sources that Foundations deems reliable but in no way does Foundations guarantee the accuracy or completeness. Rates and Guarantees provided by insurance products and annuities are subject to the financial strength of the issuing insurance company; not guaranteed by any bank or the FDIC. Investments in securities involve the risk of loss. Any past performance is no guarantee of future results. Advisory services are only offered to clients or prospective clients where Foundations and its advisors are properly licensed or exempted. For more information, please go to and search by our firm name or by our CRD # 175083.

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