Photo of Ray Ferrara CFP Ray Ferrara CFP Jun 17, 2020

One of the most unsettling feelings in the world is to watch the stock market crash knowing that you are invested heavily through your 401(k). A knee-jerk reaction to such a scenario might be to move your money out of the market and into a money market account. However, this could end up doing more harm than good.

“So, if the market is suffering and moving all of my funds is not generally a good idea, what can I do to protect my 401(k) during a stock market crash?” Well, the answer to this looks a little different for each investor, but there are some general truths to keep in mind. 

Protecting your 401(k) during a stock market crash

We know it is scary to see investments take a dive, but this is not the time for panic. This is the time for smart decision-making:

  • Think of the long-term — Volatility in the stock market is normal. Some years are better than others, some are worse. During a large-scale crisis like the COVID-19 pandemic, many people liquidated in an effort to avoid taking a bigger loss.

    However, you must remember that money in your investments is not lost until the investment is sold. The market is volatile, but with a balanced, diversified portfolio, you should be able to ride it out and yield returns when you are ready to retire. 
  • Rebalance your portfolio — You should have an asset allocation strategy in place. You want x percent in stocks, bonds, etc. When a crash occurs this allocation will become unbalanced. So Use those times to sell the things that have become too high a percentage and use the money to buy those assets that have too low a percentage.
  • Keep contributing — When the market is suffering, you might be tempted to stop contributing to your 401(k) if you are still saving. This is a problem because it puts you off track to reach your retirement goal. Most financial advisors take into consideration the risks of volatility and market downturns when creating a retirement strategy. It is important to stick to this plan to stay on track. 

Protecting your 401(k) with a financial plan with ProVise

Going into retirement without a financial plan is like cooking without a recipe. If you do not take the time to learn the recipe, gather the right ingredients and cook them correctly, you will end up with a bad meal. Having a financial plan takes the recipe and ingredients into consideration — how much you need to save, how to navigate the volatile fiduciary landscape and how much you should try to live off of annually during retirement — so you can end up reaching your retirement goals.

At ProVise Management Group, our CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ professionals can help you make the right investment decisions when it comes to your 401(k) and other financial areas. We can analyze your current circumstances and goals to create a plan for you at a fiduciary standard of care. We offer an unconditional money-back guarantee if you are unhappy with your written plan. Simply return it to us and we will refund 100% of the fee paid.

Are you ready to talk to a ProVise financial advisor about protecting your 401(k) during a stock market crash? Contact ProVise today to schedule a complimentary consultation.