After the most shocking upset in US political history, Donald Trump is now America’s president-elect.
As this possibility grew ever likelier in the late evening and early-morning hours, global markets went haywire and indicated a potential Brexit-style sell off.
But after Trump clinched, and especially after he struck an amiable tone in his acceptance speech, panic abated and the US stock market actually opened mostly flat. Still, millions remain jittery, upset, and in disbelief.
So what should people do with their money given the market tumult and this jarring new political reality?
Business Insider caught up with three certified financial planners to get their election reactions and investment wisdom as we head into this new territory.
You probably don’t need to ‘change a thing’
First off, take a deep breath. Reacting impulsively to market volatility rarely works out well. Few people — especially average investors — are any good at timing the markets and coming out ahead. Your long-term retirement investments don’t need an overhaul after this election.
“Of course, emotions might be high as markets move, but that’s normal,” Eric Roberge, CFP and founder of Beyond Your Hammock, told Business Insider. “You have to look at the money you have in the stock market and ask yourself, ‘What is this money for?’ If this is long-term (retirement) money, and you already set up a specific strategy, then I wouldn’t change a thing.”
If you won’t need this money for a decade, or two or three, Tuesday night — and even the next four years — is practically irrelevant from an investment perspective, says Roberge.
“I do not believe this is cause to change strategy as our view has a longer horizon,” agreed Michael Solari, a CFP and principal at Solari Financial Planning. “Other economic factors are strong and should carry through this election cycle.”
Unless you’re about to retire, that is
If you’re planning to retire in the next five years, on the other hand, the Trump presidency poses more implications for your nest egg.
“You better take a hard look at how you are invested to see if you are taking on too much risk,” says Roberge. “You’ll want to make decisions sooner than later on this money.”
If you’ve been putting off speaking to a financial planner, there’s no time like the present to check that off the list.
“For investors closer to retirement, if you’re nervous about your investments then you’re not confident in your financial plan,” says Jeff Rose, CFP and founder of Alliance Wealth Management. “Sit down with your adviser if you have one, and if you don’t, go find a good one and review your situation.”
If you’ve got cash laying around, this could be a great opportunity to act
Young investors are famously leery of the stock market, participating at far lower levels than preceding generations. For 30-somethings scarred by the tech bubble at the turn of the century and the financial crisis in 2008 and 2009, the latest bout of market confusion and volatility may seem like more evidence for staying out of the game.
But in reality, the opposite is true. Investing in the stock market tends to work out in the long-term, and it will be tough to build sufficient retirement savings without doing so. If you’ve got a lot of cash sitting in a savings account earning next to nothing in interest, now is a great time to look for opportunities to deploy those funds and capture investments at a discount.
“If you have money on the sidelines ready to invest, the next few months might prove a good time to get in to the market,” Roberge said. “Certainly, if the markets take a dive, you may want to add a portion to take advantage of reduced prices.”
“For young investors, now is a good time as any to invest. A dip in the market is like finding a clearance item that just hit the shelves,” Rose said. “This isn’t a time to panic, but a good time to take a deeper look and your financial situation to see if you’re still on track to meet your financial goals.”
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