Is It the End of Low Volatility?

Is It the End of Low Volatility?

Whether you view Friday’s stock market sell-off as an adjustment to permit the markets to climb higher on a more solid base, or were nervous about the sharp short term “loss” of unrealized gains, it’s clear that the stock market’s meteoric, historically-long winning streak hit a bump in the road this week.

Draw downs and sell-offs are normal, but they are still painful when they occur. The market calls it a “correction” but, to the individual investor seeing their net worth drop, it never feels “correct,” particularly since it’s impossible to accurately predict when the volatility and the draw down in prices will end.

It’s hard for anyone to really anticipate what their own risk tolerance will be until it’s put to the test. In moments of calm, we all want to think we’ll have the presence of mind to remember that the market is cyclical and that downturns and corrections are often an opportunity. Things might look a little different though, if your child’s 529 plan funds just shrank, or if you’re nearing retirement and are counting on an IRA and a 401K, or if you were just about to take some earnings to finance an important project.

Notice how you felt on Monday as the market dropped again: it’s a good insight into your current risk tolerance.

Related: How to Simplify Your Financial Plan for a Happier You!

Market values have increased dramatically in the last few years and in 2017 in particular. This current market volatility comes after the longest period in history without a correction and with remarkably low volatility. As a result, Friday’s sell off and Monday’s drop may have been a bit of a shock, even though a 5% drop was not unusual as recently as 2016. That makes it particularly difficult to anticipate what will happen next, in the direct short term, since investors may react unpredictably, including too many people who are driven by how they guess others will react.

There are two important things to remember when the market is volatile. The first is that volatility and risk are not the same thing: volatility is a normal variation in value, risk is the possibility that an investment will fail. The second is that it’s important to look at trends over time, not just yesterday’s news. As I said in this CNBC interview this week, this is a long-term process: you can’t be in it for just the 48-hour cycle.

If you’d like to review your financial plan or discuss  how your allocations conform to your own risk tolerance and response to volatility – please let me know and we’ll schedule a call to review your plan.

Brad Sherman
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Brad Sherman is a financial advisor and the founder and president of Sherman Wealth Management, LLC, an independent, fee-only, boutique Registered Investment Advisor that make ... Click for full bio

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: Feb 19-23

Most Read IRIS Articles of the Week: Feb 19-23

Here’s a look at the Top 11 Most Viewed Articles of the Week on, Feb 19-23, 2018

Click the headline to read the full article.  Enjoy!

1. Don’t Get Pinged by the Social Security Earnings Limit

I’d like to introduce you to Peggy. Born in 1956, Peggy will be 62 in 2018. She has worked in retail her whole life, the past twenty-five years spent in management. Peggy divorced from her husband 14 years ago, is still single and has no children. — Dana Anspach

2. We're Back to “Bad News is Good News” and “Good News is Great News”

This week the markets shrugged off last week’s fears and went back to the slow and steady melt up, despite economic news that looked likely to once again rock the boat. — Lenore Elle Hawkins

3. Q1 2018 Factor Views

Themes established in 2017 across a wide range of markets and factors continued to resonate through the fourth quarter. Economic growth was strong and supportive of equity markets across the globe, a range of volatility measures reached all-time lows, and business and consumer sentiment remained elevated. — Yazann Romahi and Garrett Norman

4. A Beneficial Basket of Commodities

Advisors and investors that feel they are hearing more and more about commodities and the corresponding exchange traded products in recent months are right. That is a natural result of dollar weakness and yes, the greenback is floundering again in 2018. — Tom Lydon

5. 3 Trends Shaping the Future of Asset Management

As the industry works to cope with new regulation, wades through an outpouring of new products, learns to satisfy investors’ shifting priorities and manages the active-passive debate, the viability of business units will be questioned, and at times radical measures will be taken. Peter Hopkins

6. 5 Ways Advisors Leave Money on the Table, and What to Do About It

My hope is that this article points out some opportunities for you to make more money and serve your clients at a higher level and that you decide to do something about it. — Bill Bachrach

7. The Market Has Gone Wild! Is It Time to Change Your Investment Strategy?

Whether the market is flying high or taunting your emotions with new lows and some bumpy volatility, here are four things every investor should keep in mind ... — Lauren Klein

8. How to Deepen Client Relations and Capture New Business Using Engaging Content

Why financial advisors NEED to understand much more clearly the power of good digital market. With tools like AdvisorStream, it’s easier than ever to get the content you need to drive leads and referrals today! — Kirk Lowe and Matt Halloran

9. Three Ways The Most Successful Gain Big Attention

How do some firms and ideas go from nowhere to everywhere in a few short months? All of a sudden a restaurant becomes popular, a gas station gains a cult following, or a Broadway show becomes too popular to get a ticket for years. — Maribeth Kuzmeski

10. Who Are the Hottest FinTech Firms and Influencers Around the World?

"Worldwide, $27.4 billion poured into fintech startups in 2017, Accenture reports, up 18% from 2016. With so much in play, it’s not surprising that 22 companies are new on this, the third edition of our list."  — Chris Skinner

11. The New Stock Market Normal Is Not What You Think!

Many sensational headlines have been written the past few weeks about market declines, but two things have increased for sure: the viewership and the ad revenues of financial media organizations — Preston McSwain​​​​​​​

Douglas Heikkinen
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IRIS Co-Founder and Producer of Perspective—a personal look at the industry, and notables who share what they’ve learned, regretted, won, lost and what continues ... Click for full bio