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How To Retire: Let History Repeat Itself

Jun. 04, 2020 4:22 AM ET11 Comments


  • You might be experiencing stress and anxiety during the coronavirus pandemic and all that it entails.
  • These are normal psychological and physiological responses to trauma.
  • For investors, particularly those concerned with their retirement portfolios, it’s all about how to respond to this trauma during and after the pandemic.
  • While we have to consider whether stock market history will repeat itself, we must consider it rationally, not obsessively.
  • Remember, you planned for this.
  • Looking for a helping hand in the market? Members of The REIT Forum get exclusive ideas and guidance to navigate any climate. Get started today »

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During downturns, bear markets, and market crashes, we tend to obsess over the same question:

Is this one different?

Is this one different from all the other downturns, bear markets, and market crashes? Downturns, bear markets, and market crashes were all triggered by some type of event, be it acute or the result of a series of unfortunate, related events. So maybe the question isn’t whether this downturn, bear market, or market crash is different. Instead, should we be asking if the event or events leading to panic in the stock market are different than previous triggers. Maybe it’s a mix of both. And that uncertainty is actually welcome as it pertains to our discussion, because investors must reflect on both questions in order to figure out how to proceed.

Nobody knows for sure if the stock market will not only recover, but soar to new heights as it has after every other calamity. We have virtually no control over this outcome; however, we do have control over how we respond.

Recognize Your Anxiety

First, recognize, and even embrace, your anxiety. But most of all, understand it. We’re in the middle of a situation where we all lack control. Even when governments lift stay-at-some orders, anxiety, for many people, will persist. A natural response to events out of your control and the resulting anxiety is to find something you can (or think you can) control. If you can exercise control over something in your life or your surroundings, you can help alleviate the more global feelings of anxiety. That’s how the thought process of an anxious person often works.

So your anxiety is normal. And your response to it is textbook. You might not think you’re anxious, but if you’re trying to find answers to the above-mentioned questions, anxiety or some form

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