As news of the coronavirus continues to dominate the headlines and cause turmoil in the markets, it’s understandable that you may be concerned about your portfolio. Financial anxiety can have a profound impact on your quality of life—so we thought we’d share some tips to help you minimize stress during these uncertain times:
Focus on the long term
When the markets are swinging up and down, it’s hard to concentrate on long-term objectives. But remember that your investments are structured to meet the needs of your personal situation—factoring in your long-term goals, your risk tolerance, and your time horizon.
Depending on your circumstances, you may have investments allocated for specific goals and needs. Investments for long-term goals are typically invested more aggressively, which means they can be—and probably have been—more volatile. Keep in mind that you likely won’t need to liquidate these assets in the immediate future, so there is time for them to recover from their losses and potentially grow even more. Alternatively, investments that support short-term needs are generally invested in strategies that seek to reduce volatility.
It’s normal to feel like the markets will rise forever during bullish periods or drop until they’re worthless once things take a negative turn. Although we can’t predict when the coronavirus threat will end, you may find comfort in knowing that we’ve experienced similar market movements, from similar threats, in the not-too-distant past: In 2015–2016, the Zika virus sent markets down 12.9 percent. The SARS virus, in 2003, resulted in a 12.8 percent decline for the S&P 500. We’ve seen this before—and we’ve made it through to the other side.
Take care of yourself
Anxiety of any sort can have negative effects on your health. In the short term, it can cause irritability, headaches, muscle tension, insomnia, fatigue, and many other symptoms. Longer-term chronic stress can lead to more serious afflictions, like high blood pressure, heart disease, and diabetes.
The markets and economy are certainly not worth risking your health, so it’s important to take care of yourself during this stressful period. Try getting outside for some fresh air, taking a daily walk, riding a bike, or eating healthy foods. Getting plenty of sleep is important, too. If the evening news is causing you alarm and keeping you up at night, consider reading an enjoyable book instead.
Mind your media usage and look for positive distractions
If you find yourself constantly scrolling through social media on your phone or glued to the TV screen, there’s no doubt you will be inundated with stories of gloom and doom. Some media outlets tend to sensationalize stories to attract a larger audience. This can cause unnecessary alarm. If you feel you must check the headlines, try visiting the websites of more trusted sources, such as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention or the World Health Organization. They will have the most up-to-date news on the coronavirus, along with tips to protect yourself.
It’s also good to find positive distractions, like watching an upbeat movie, listening to your favorite music, or talking with friends and family.
Count on us
We take our commitment to our clients seriously—especially in times like this. We recognize that the market volatility and other issues beyond our control can cause emotional strain. And that’s why Oaktree is here for you no matter what concerns you have, whether you’re worried about the economy, the markets, or your personal situation. We’re just a phone call away if you need us.