Whenever there’s a downward swing in the market, it can be unnerving. No one wants to see their nest egg shrink or their investments lose value. Yet market fluctuations should be expected, and we all have to be prepared to navigate the up and downs.

Practicing patience and prudence with your finances and seeking guidance from a financial professional can help you stay the course during times of uncertainty.

If you’re feeling rattled about the markets, review these five steps before making any sudden changes to your investment strategy:

Think about your long-term goals:

It’s important to remember that investing is a long-term endeavor and fluctuations come with the territory. Now is a good time to revisit your investment strategy to ensure it aligns with your long-term goals. If it does, stay the course.

Don’t react:

When stocks plunge, you may want to sell everything and completely change your investment strategy. However, it’s important to remember that when the market falls, any losses in your portfolio are only realized if you sell your holdings. The value of your investment may fluctuate over time, and you may gain or lose money. Evaluate whether it’s truly the right time to sell.

Consider buying:

As odd as it sounds, now may be the right time to buy. Think of it as a sale with prices discounted from the recent peak. Yes, prices may fall further, but if you’re investing for the long-term, this may be a good time to add to your portfolio.

Seek guidance:

Talk with a financial professional. He or she can review your investment strategy and work with you to make any changes if needed.

Diversify:

You’ve heard the saying: Don’t put all your eggs in one basket. The same applies to your investment portfolio. Make sure to have a mix of stocks and bonds. Remember, stocks and bonds don’t always move in-step with each other, so losses in one asset class may be offset by gains (or less-severe losses) in the other.

It’s human nature to want to react and make changes if you feel like something isn’t going in the right direction. But when it comes to your investments, be patient and prudent. You’ll ultimately make better financial decisions. And remember, you don’t have to navigate the uncertainty alone. Talk with a financial professional for support and guidance if you need it.

This article was prepared by Thrivent Financial for use by Tri County Area representative John Lauer. He has an office at 3821 Main St in Morgantown and can also be reached at 610-286-5986.

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