As you’re well aware, we’ve seen some sudden and sizable drops in the financial markets in 2019. While market volatility is nothing new, the recent plunges happened during a period of general political and economic unease. Still, it can be harmful to overreact to such events – especially if it means making radical changes to your 401(k).
And yet, many people do just that. During market downturns, investors often move money from their 401(k)’s stock accounts into perceived safer accounts, such as those primarily containing bonds or other fixed-income securities. This move may result in reduced volatility on your 401(k) statements, and if that’s all you want, you might be satisfied. But you do need to realize the cost involved – specifically, fixed-income investments will not provide the same rate of return that equities (stocks) can. So, if you liquidate some of your equity holdings, you may slow the growth potential of your 401(k), which, in turn, could slow your progress toward your long-term financial goals. Furthermore, if you get rid of substantial amounts of your equities when their price is down, you won’t be able to benefit from owning them when their value goes up again – in other words, you’ll be on the sidelines during the next market rally.