8 Tips for Surviving a Volatile Stock Market

Man worrying about a volatile stock market
Antonio Guillem / Shutterstock.com

Pandemic. Presidential election. Trade war. Economic recession. Yikes.

The stock market dislikes uncertainty. When Google searches for “COVID” increase, for example, the S&P 500 stock market index tends to lose value.

These days, there’s plenty of uncertainty. It’s understandable if retirement investors are feeling skittish and anxious. But market peaks and dips — and the sugar highs and pit-in-the stomach lows — have happened before, and they’ll happen again.

Instead of letting anxiety steer, arm yourself now with these tried-and-true tips for staying calm and managing risk.

1. Know your comfort level

A worried woman in a mask and gloves protects a piggy bank
Alliance Images / Shutterstock.com

Pay attention to your stress level as you consider any investing options. Listen to yourself. Choose options that let your money grow while you feel confident and safe without courting more risk than is tolerable or wise.

Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson, in “7 Ways to Slay Your Fear of the Stock Market,” advises against:

  • Investing money you think you’ll need soon
  • Investing more than makes you comfortable
  • Putting money in speculative stocks — they’re more like gambling than investing

2. Spend less than you earn

Woman with piggy bank
Jason Stitt / Shutterstock.com

If the word “sensible” sounds outdated to you, think again. It embodies solid wisdom for this unsteady time — and for any time.

It’s sensible to spend less than you make, then save or invest the rest. No matter how much you do or do not earn, this is key to financial security.

Not that it’s always easy or doable. But aim there and, eventually, get there. This way, when problems arise, you’re not on a financial edge, easily tipped into crisis.

3. Use a budget

Couple sitting down to budget
Rido / Shutterstock.com

It’s hard to save money if you don’t know what you’re spending.

A budget helps calm anxiety and gives a much-needed feeling of control. That’s because it helps you anticipate and plan for what’s coming, and it dashes cold water on dangerous magical money thinking.

Money Talks News partner YNAB (short for “You Need A Budget”) is an app that offers an easy way to track your spending and build your savings.

4. Approach marriage with eyes open

marriage and taxes
Sherry Yates Young / Shutterstock.com

At its best, marriage can pay big dividends, financially speaking. Couples can pool resources, balance each other’s financial strengths and weaknesses, reduce the cost of overhead, and support each other to advance in the workplace — to name just a few benefits.

Divorce can undo all that and worse. It’s particularly devastating to the finances of people in middle age.

“If you get divorced after age 50, expect your wealth to drop by about 50%,” writes Bloomberg, citing an analysis of a survey of 20,000 Americans who were born before 1960. Among that age group, divorce reduces a woman’s standard of living (income adjusted for household size) by 45% and a man’s by 21%, Bloomberg says.

Enter a new union with eyes wide open about a partner’s financial life, especially spending habits, debt and use of credit. Communicating, financial planning and counseling can strengthen your union to avoid financial stress, especially from problems handling money.

If you are thinking of splitting up, here’s how to keep down the cost of divorce.

5. Have a plan and follow it

Older couple thinking about their long-term investments
ESB Professional / Shutterstock.com

Your chance of weathering a market downturn successfully will be vastly improved by having or making a plan and sticking with it. Money Talks News founder Stacy Johnson explains how to think ahead so you’ll be ready in “Take These 5 Lessons From the 1987 Stock Market Crash.”

Finding it difficult to create or stick to a plan? Stop by Money Talks News’ Solutions Center and look for the perfect financial adviser.

6. Don’t leave money on the table

401(k) retirement nest egg
Andrey_Popov / Shutterstock.com

Are you lucky enough to have a retirement plan with contributions matched by your employer? If so, invest enough from your paycheck to claim all of the employer’s matching money due to you.

Ignoring this free money is a bonehead mistake made by about 1 in 3 workers. Sometimes it can’t be helped, such as when money is so tight that you simply cannot make your full contribution.

In that case, pare back contributions temporarily — from 3% to 2%, for instance. Or take a brief break. But, get back on track as quickly as possible with at least the minimum investment needed to get all of your free money.

7. Keep a sharp eye on fees

bullseye
Madcat_Madlove / Shutterstock.com

Expense ratios can put a damper on a portfolio’s growth, costing you as much as $400,000 — or even more — over a lifetime.

Check the fees you’re paying by looking at a fund’s disclosure statement, where fees are listed as a percentage. Over time, charged repeatedly, even small percentages add up to real money drained from investments.

Are You Paying Too Much in Investment Fees? Here’s One Way to Tell” explains what to look for.

However you invest, there often is a lower-cost way to do it. Index funds are a great choice for those seeking low-cost investments.

8. Take advantage of pandemic savings

saving money
Licvin / Shutterstock.com

When you review your budget, look for pandemic savings you may have captured from spending less on going out, eating in restaurants, commuting to work or dressing for working in an office.

And there might be pandemic savings you may have missed. Can you make these cost reductions permanent features of your budget and direct the money to savings?

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

Read Next
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45
9 Products That Will Organize Your Home for Under $45

These clever Amazon finds can help transform a messy nest into the pristine home of your dreams.

14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask
14 Service Providers Most Likely to Lower Your Bill If You Ask

With these companies, it might be easier than you think to negotiate your monthly bill down.

7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make
7 Big Purchases You Should Never Make

Sometimes a big-ticket purchase is nothing more than a big waste of money.

8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress
8 Products to Reduce Anxiety and Stress

Current events have you feeling anxious? These Amazon products can take the edge off.

These Medicare Expenses Will Jump in January
These Medicare Expenses Will Jump in January

Some Medicare premiums and deductibles will take a bigger bite out of Social Security payments next year.

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Most Popular
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy
10 Things Frugal People Never Buy

If you’re a true tightwad, the mere thought of spending money on these items gives you the willies.

10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making
10 Useless Purchases You Need to Stop Making

You might as well flush your money down the loo if you spend it on these things.

7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now
7 Social Security Rules Everyone Should Know by Now

Confusion over Social Security is a shame, considering how many of us will need this money badly.

9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco
9 Shopping Mistakes to Avoid at Costco

Are you missing out on serious savings at your favorite warehouse club?

If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It
If You Find This Thrift Shopping, Buy It

They don’t make coffee makers like this anymore.

The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles
The 16 Cars Most Likely to Last 200,000 Miles

One automaker takes half the spots on a list of the longest-lasting vehicles.

14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021
14 Things You Should Stop Buying in 2021

These convenient household products come with hidden costs that you might not have considered.

3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free
3 Ways to Get Microsoft Office for Free

With a little ingenuity, you can cut Office costs to zero.

Is Writing a Check Still Safe?
Is Writing a Check Still Safe?

Every time you pay by check, you hand your bank account numbers to a stranger.

6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers
6 Ways to Protect Your Retirement Accounts From Hackers

Imagine having $245,000 stolen from your retirement account — and not being reimbursed.

8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today
8 Things You Should Replace to Improve Your Life Today

Being frugal isn’t smart if you put off replacing these items.

This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.
This Is the Most Dependable Car Brand in the U.S.

This brand’s vehicles are least likely to give drivers repair headaches, according to J.D. Power.

7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking
7 Social Security Benefits You May Be Overlooking

There’s more to Social Security than retirement benefits.

13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now
13 Amazon Purchases We Are Loving Right Now

These practical products make everyday life a little easier.

The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners
The 6 Best Investing Apps for Beginners

If you’re looking to ease into investing in the coronavirus economy with just a little money, check out these easy-to-use tools.

7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook
7 Income Tax Breaks That Retirees Often Overlook

Did you realize all these tax credits and deductions exist — or that they apply to retirees?

7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco
7 Kirkland Signature Items to Avoid at Costco

Even if it seems you save a bundle buying Costco’s Kirkland Signature brand products, they may not be the bargain they appear to be.

Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best
Homeowners Say These 2 Kitchen Appliance Brands Are Best

One brand takes five of the top honors, while another ranks highest in three categories.

The 10 Worst States for Retirees in 2021
The 10 Worst States for Retirees in 2021

Based on factors like affordability, quality of life and health care, these are not ideal places to spend retirement.

View More Articles

View this page without ads

Help us produce more money-saving articles and videos by subscribing to a membership.

Get Started

Add a Comment

Our Policy: We welcome relevant and respectful comments in order to foster healthy and informative discussions. All other comments may be removed. Comments with links are automatically held for moderation.