#1: Uncertainty Is a Sure Thing. Keep Calm and Carry On.
When it comes to shock and awe, 2016 delivered. The United Kingdom’s decision to leave the European Union, the election of Donald Trump as president of the United States, turmoil in China’s markets, challenges to globalization — clearly, the world remains an uncertain place.
Swift and dramatic change can inspire powerful emotions and lead to very human, but ultimately destructive, investment decisions. For investors confronted with confusion and uncertainty, the natural temptation is to retreat. “Keep calm and carry on” may be good advice, but for many investors it can be hard to follow.
#2: Diversification Still Matters, So Keep Your Balance.
In the 2008-2009 bear market, diversification didn’t matter. The Great Recession took a toll on nearly every asset class and portfolio. But in the 2000-2002 downturn, diversification worked. If you hadn’t piled into tech, you were spared a lot of pain when the dot-com bubble burst.
The debate over investment diversification is likely to go on and on, but today a strategic allocation in stocks and bonds around the world remains a hallmark of a portfolio that can help investors fulfill their objectives in the long run.
#3: Income is Scarce. Casting a Wide Net Can Pay Dividends.
There are nearly 50 million people over 65 in the United States, and many of them have one thing in common: They want their dividends. Millions of retiring baby boomers need income, but they may have to search far and wide for yield.
#4: Relax, It’s Not All Doom and Gloom.
Take a deep breath. Relax. In an age when doom and gloom seem to be all we read about or see on television, it just might be possible that things aren’t as bad as they seem. In fact, things may just be getting better — and not for the few, but for the many.
#5: Life Happens. Control What You Can With a Long-Range Plan.
Don’t get too high or too low. Try to maintain an even keel. Fight fear with facts.
All of those can be hard to do when the world’s markets and global economy are going through times that can be both exhilarating and frightening. The evidence shows that euphoric investors tend to buy high, and fearful investors sell low.