Roanoke financial planner encourages re-examination of finances during stock market roller coaster

If you're about to withdraw, it may be time to take another look

ROANOKE, Va. – It was another wild day on Wall Street. The stock market fell more than 600 points Thursday before bouncing back and ending the day in the positive. All this came after a record breaking day Wednesday, rising more than a thousand points. This turbulent time has many people worrying about their own investments.

December is always usually a quiet month for the markets. But this year has been the worst December for U.S. stocks since 1931 which was at the front end of the Great Depression. We're not anywhere close to that territory this time around, but it has people watching very closely.

Thursday morning's opening bell brought lots of speculation and wonder of what would happen next. It's been huge losses and record gains all wrapped up in just a few days. Brian Bowen is the president of Roanoke based Integrity Financial Planning and said it's tough to nail down and exact cause, but there are some front runners.

"Look what's going on you've got a battle in Washington and gridlock where they're fighting each other and won't agree and so that scares investors because they want stability," Bowen said. "Could it get worse? Sure, it could get a little worse. We don't know, there's so much outside sources that are influencing all of this there's really no way to be a predictor of what's going to happen tomorrow or the next day."

Investors fall into two groupings right now, and one is faring a whole lot better than the other.

"You have the accumulators, that are still accumulating the assets and then you have the distributors that are distributing the assets, they're taking money out," Bowen said.

It's a troublesome time for those about to cash out, or already tapping into investments for retirement. Those folks need to make a decision now.

"You "just revisit where you're taking the money from, that's what we see a lot of folks come in and they have it where they're taking it from that's high risk and then you have this lower risk investment that they're not touching," Bowen said.

For those still with years left, the smart decision is pretty much already made for them. Historically, the market always goes up, rebounding after losses, and this is just a correction to ride out.

"If you're 40 years old or 50, and you've got 20 or 15 years before you're going to withdrawal this money, this isn't a depression we're headed to," Bowen said.

Bowen said it's hard to put a finger on exactly what caused the up and down, but politics, technology and speculation all play a part. But, what's most important, is to focus on what you can control like your own strategy and investment volume.

There could be one saving grace left in all of this that Wall Street can hang onto. Markets have rallied every year for the last five days of December since 1950, and investors are hoping the streak doesn't stop now.

"A lot of the key factors that we look at is this a good time to invest in the market it's good there is still good economic health just because there is a dip in the market doesn't mean that it's not a good time to invest," Bowen said.

About the Author: