Stock market volatility can be a wild ride. If you follow the daily price movements of a stock market index, it’s enough to make you dizzy at times. If you watch the same index’s performance over longer periods, however, you may notice that things tend to smooth out.
Unless you’re close to retiring and will need to tap your assets soon, taking the long-term view probably makes sense. Rather than making investment decisions based on day-to-day or even quarter-to-quarter performance, step back and look at how your investments are doing over longer periods.
Stocks Over the Long Term
Of the three major investment types — stocks, bonds, and cash alternatives — stocks are attractive to long-term investors because they have 1 historically provided the best opportunity for growth and the highest relative return over the long term. However, stocks have more short-term volatility than the other two investment types, so they carry more risk.
Time Makes the Difference
It’s never good when prices drop and your stock investments lose value. It’s particularly bad news if you’re going to need your money soon. But when you have time on your side, you can focus on an investment’s long-term performance numbers (and the stock market’s overall long-term performance) instead of its day-to-day ups and downs.
Although past performance is no guarantee of future returns, and it has sometimes taken years, the stock market has always bounced back following periods of price drops. When you have time to wait, the stock investments you hold could rebound following any future market dips.
Your situation is unique, so be sure to consult a professional before taking action.