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Spanish Daily Journal
     March 16, 2020      #48-76 sdj
A trader has his head in his hand on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange Thursday. Many investors in the market have expressed the same pain as value dwindles.

Virus impact makes investors ill 

El impacto del virus enferma a los inversores

Being a financial adviser, you must know the ins and outs of investment options. But, you must also know something about psychology.

These past weeks and days of financial turbulence associated with the coronavirus, oil production and prices, and their impacts on stock prices are testing these advisers in ways which have not been experienced within the past few years.

The telephones at the offices of Scott Piggush, a Manteno financial consultant, and Mike Williams, an adviser with Thrivent Financial in Bourbonnais, have been constantly ringing.

And with tens of thousands and sometime hundreds of thousands of dollars at stake, the two understand the anxieties associated with investors as they see retirement accounts being gouged by forces outside of their control.

“Turn the TV off,” said Piggush regarding advice he gives clients. “I’m talking to people all day.”

His message to investors in simple: Don’t panic.

“People should know what they own, especially if you own volatile investments. But understand if you sell you have to be right twice,” he said, meaning selling at the high and buying at the low.

“Investors need to know with a down market they haven’t lost shares, they’ve lost value in shares. Investors are still buying shares at low prices and when the market rebounds, that will provide returns,” he said.

Williams echoed the advice of Piggush.

“Emotions are not your friend when it comes to investing,” Williams said.

“My primary advice is this. Unless your plan or fiscal situation has changed, market fluctuation shouldn’t change your plan,” Williams said.

Selling at this point in a down market, Williams said, only locks in losses.

“The markets always fluctuates,” he said, acknowledging this is rather pronounced fluctuation. “You want to know what’s going on, but don’t react to every comment. Stay calm.”

Williams said investors should contact their advisers.

“Your adviser can remind you of what your strategy is.”

Like Piggush, he said, too much news can overwhelm people.

“After talking with some of my clients, a common response has been: ‘It’s not nearly as bad as I thought.’ Investors’ accounts are not as bad as many people think.”

And, he said, people need to remind themselves that in a down market, investors are acquiring assets at a greater pace due to lower values.

“This time can be a gift. You are getting more shares for less money. Remember the old adage: Buy low.”

Greg McBride, chief financial analyst at Bankrate.com, told the Associated Press, noted panic is an investor’s worst friend.

“As the uncertainty persists, the market frenzy will continue, perhaps for weeks, perhaps for months. But long-term investors must think in terms of years or decades.”

Stock market investments are most often made as part of long-term plans. Money needed in the next few years shouldn’t be in stocks, advisers note. 

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