Don't Panic Whitepaper

Don't Panic Whitepaper

In your investing lifetime, you will live through several periods of market volatility. These periods may cause you to second-guess your investment strategy or even consider a different approach to managing your money. Certainly, the level of volatility we’ve seen during the COVID-19 (novel coronavirus) pandemic is rare.

While downturns can be unsettling, it helps to view market activity from a wider perspective. The U.S. stock market moved into a bear market in early March 2020, as investors worried about the ongoing economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic. By March 11, the Standard & Poor’s 500 dropped 9% to close in bear market territory (defined as a decline of 20% or more since the last market peak), ending the bull market that began in 2009.1

Even though these events make investors queasy, a long-range perspective can help. If we widen our gaze further, we’ll see that this is, in fact, the 9th bear market on record since 1926.2 Past performance can’t predict future market results, but investors have managed through the process of bear markets before, and we are invited to stay calm through these latest disruptions as well.


  1. CNBC.com, March 20, 2020. The Standard & Poor’s 500 is an unmanaged index that is generally considered representative of the U.S. stock market. Index performance is not indicative of the past performance of a particular investment. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Individuals cannot invest directly in an index. The return and principal value of stock prices will fluctuate as market conditions change. And shares, when sold, may be worth more or less than their original cost
  2. Kiplinger.com, March 20, 2020