There is no way to soften the bad news COVID-19 has brought in recent weeks to the economy and the stock market. It’s important to remember that this is not 2008 in that — until the virus took hold, at least — the economy was healthy with unemployment low and growth steady.
But that’s not much solace when you’re seeing gains of the last two years evaporate, seemingly overnight. For those of you with money in the markets — via 401(k)s, IRAs, 529s and other brokerage accounts — it is understandable to feel uneasy, frightened, anxious and the like.
That said, we have experienced big drops in the markets before. In 1987, 2001, 2008, markets cratered — and eventually recovered. The bull market that emerged after the financial crisis was the longest in history. But among the lessons that history has taught us is that gains like the 30%-plus we had last year in the S&P were unsustainable. We knew it would end. We just didn’t know when.
The question is. What do you do now? A few suggestions.
With Rebecca Cohen