• 2-Minute Article
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  • Oct 25, 2019

3 Questions to Ask a Financial Professional During Market Volatility

Knowledge can help put you at ease in turbulent times.

Questions to Ask Your Financial Advisor During Market Volatility

Updated: September 21, 2023

Questions this article can help you answer:
  • What should I ask my financial professional if the markets are volatile?
  • What steps can I take on my own during market volatility?
  • What can past market performance tell me about today’s markets?

With a 24-hour news cycle and constant market performance updates at your fingertips, you may be inclined to react any time there’s a headline about market volatility. However, sticking to your long-term plan may be a wiser option than making a change to your investments. In fact, the average investor typically underperforms the broader market because of emotional decision-making – that is, fear of loss can make you want to sell at the first sign volatility even though staying the course could ultimately help you avoid making poor investment decisions.1

Amount by which the average investor underperforms

A financial professional can serve as your ally when it comes to helping to manage your financial strategy during all market conditions, but volatility can be a prime opportunity for you and a financial professional to reassess your goals and overall plan. Asking the questions below can help you understand more about what’s driving the changes and what you should or shouldn’t do about it.

1. The market appears disrupted. What should I do?

If you’re concerned about a rocky period in the markets and aren’t sure if you should be taking action, reach out to your financial professional. They may suggest a meeting to reassess your financial strategy and evaluate your short- and long-term objectives. It may be time to take another look at your needs and discuss whether goals have changed. Changing needs, rather than short-term volatility, could indicate that it’s time to consider a new strategy or product.

2. Is market volatility normal?

When signs of volatility appear in daily headlines, it can be helpful to understand what’s happening in the broader context of historical stock market performance. The current performance may be affecting your portfolio in the short term, but looking at other examples and with a longer lens can help put market conditions in context. For example, on one day in September 2021, major indices lost around 2%, making it the worst day since May 2021. It’s helpful to know, however, that when markets closed that day, they were still up around 11% since the start of the year.2 (Past performance does not guarantee future results.)

3. Can we review my risk tolerance?

It’s possible that your risk tolerance or goals from the past have changed and your strategy hasn’t been updated to reflect that. Having this conversation with your financial professional can help you realign your investment strategy to better match new goals or an evolved tolerance when it comes to volatility.

Changes in the market are a given, but they don’t have to derail any long-term plans. Market disruptions happen and they can be a great opportunity to connect with your financial professional, review your overall plan, and even learn about new ways to get closer to financial success.

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