Retirement planning and stocks: a finance expert weighs in

May 19, 2022, 11:02 PM | Updated: May 20, 2022, 11:07 am

After another rough day on Wall Street, a finance expert says now is not the time to panic but it may be the time to make changes to your finances to weather the storm and prepare for retirement.

“It’s scary. I’d say a lot of investors and people planning for retirement are very nervous right now,” said Jeff Segelke, president of Segelke Financial Group. “Because it feels like things just keep going down, down, down.”

Segelke says the S&P 500 is down 18 percent year to date. The Nasdaq is down 27 percent. Adding to the concern is an uncertain future. Not knowing how long the downturn will last in the stock market.

“’What if this keeps going? Is my retirement just going to be depleted and all the sudden half of it is gone?’ And so, I think there’s a lot of concern and worry that this could be the start of a 2008-type scenario.”

Sgelke says there are “a number of things going against us right now”, including high prices for things like gas, groceries and housing, rising interest rates, supply chain issues, Russia’s ongoing war and a volatile stock market.”

“Well, none of it is really good right now. None of it,” he said. “All of that happening at once is creating this huge mess.”

But there are things you can do when it comes to finances. Segelke says if you’re within a few years of retirement, you should be more conservative in the amount of money you’re investing and consider taking money out of the market.

If you’re near retirement he says you’ll want to have enough money on hand to pay your bills and live for a couple years.

“The stock market is in a position where it could very easily in six months could be 15 to 20 percent higher than it is right now or 15 to 20 percent lower than it is right now,” he said.  “And there’s really no telling which way it’s going to go at this point.”

If retirement is more than 10 years away, Segelke says you could move some money to safer places but you can rest assured things will eventually bounce back.

If retirement is far away and you’re wondering whether to change your contribution to your 401k or IRA, Segelke points out that new money going in now is buying low and when things bounce back your money will grow.

“I would eve argue you should increase the amount of money you’re putting in,” he said.

“It’s really important that investors, that people in general, that we just, that we don’t freak out. That we don’t get too depressed.”

Whether or not you’re investing, Segelke says everyone should try to bring down their debt and build up a three to six-month emergency fund and build up some food storage.

“Just do the basic things to make sure your finances are on steady ground. So that you’re ready to weather any storms that are coming,” he said.

The future is uncertain. But economists say Utah’s economy remains strong, the strongest in the country. And it’s not too late to adapt our behaviors to deal with what’s happening now and prepare for something worse.

Segelke says we don’t know whether a recession is in the near future but added, “We find out we’re in a recession after we’re already in it. We don’t get told, ‘oh there’s a recession coming next month. It’s always, ‘oh it started 3 months ago and we’re already in it.’”

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Retirement planning and stocks: a finance expert weighs in