I know it feels like you need a valium these days to look at the market. My advice (coming from a former network news anchor): try not to check the news often. Spoiler alert; it’s not great.
Instead, put your blinders on and try these tips to stay the course:
Don’t try and jump off the ride in the middle. Roller coasters can be scary and invigorating. They go up and down like the market. You knew that when you bought the ticket and took the ride, you knew that when you bought into investing. In the thick of the 2008 financial crisis, The Dow went from 13,000 down to half…but then before this crisis, we were at 30,000. Those are the ups and downs of the market. That’s how markets work. Don’t look every day. You’ll get nauseated. The only days that matter in investing are the days you sell and buy. Everything else is just noise. So, don’t make major decisions (like removing from retirement or investment accounts) when you’re freaking out.
The only truism is to buy low, sell high. Wait to buy stocks on sale if you have money to invest. If you already have money invested, don’t take it out because while there is a floor, we don’t know where that is. Don’t forget: you are buying companies and brands in the market, not just stock. The fundamentals of companies will go back to normal and getting those that are solid, just like well-made clothes, on sale could be a sweet deal and good long-term investment.
This is a basic investing tactic where you space out the amount you are investing. For easy math…let’s say you have $1200 to invest. If you dollar-cost average, you would be putting $100 into the market every month instead of all at once. If you are a newbie, keep it simple to index funds or ETFs. Now is not the time to be stock picking.
Stop Mourning Paper Losses.
Don’t be mad at yourself with the “could have, would have, should have” shit. All investments have great risk and great reward. If you are lamenting your “losses”…make sure you are doing it based on the number you put in, not the paper gains you had. In the end, houses are only as valuable as what someone will pay for them. So are companies. So are investment vehicles.
I’m not a religious person. And I don’t believe in just believing marketing will go up because that’s what all the talking heads and pundits say. History and analysis show us they will. They have at every major dip, crisis, recession and depression that has come before. But, I have faith in people. In entrepreneurs. In innovation. That’s what this economy is made up of. And, if I bet on anything it’s on you. And me. On us…all the wicked smart, crazy innovative, wildly entrepreneurial people who will flip this thing off soon enough and come out better on the other side. Yes, I will bet on us any day, even (and especially) the darkest ones.
Remember: Investments Aren’t Just Stocks.
When I was at CNBC, I did a whole series on alternative investments. Putting your money in the market isn’t the only place for it to grow. You can invest in comics, horses, art, memorabilia, wine, and even sneakers. Some of the uber-wealthy are looking to Picassos and Warhols, which many wealth managers endorse as holding their value.
Buy low, sell high: the only truism of Wall Street. The issue is…we don’t know where the high and the low are. But, we know that we are closer to the low than the high right now. So, if you have a long-term investment horizon (10 years) and you’re not putting your whole life’s savings in and are dollar-cost averaging, this could be a great time to get into the market or put more money into it if you have some on the sidelines. Otherwise, keep cruising along as you were and don’t slow down to watch the collision on the highway.
A version of this article was originally published on Forbes.