I can’t tell you how often I get asked, “Is now a good time to be in The Market?”

Before I can answer this question, I need to understand the goals and the timeframe of the person asking. “What are you investing for? When do you plan to withdraw money? And how much?” are the questions I ask them first.

One of the basic investing principles I subscribe to is that over the long term, markets are efficient. Investors are rewarded for taking on risk and uncertainty. The relationship between risk and reward tends to balance out through history. The bigger the return you require, the more risk you will need to take to attain your goals.

This may sound simple, but staying disciplined and balancing your risk and return profile can be challenging, especially during a period of declining stock prices.

The first ten days of 2016 started off as the worst calendar year for US stocks. News coming from China was not great, and oil prices seemed that they would never reach a bottom. The financial news was the major headline on all news media. With such a scenario it can be hard to look away and be patient.

Although steep declines are unnerving, you cannot let panic set in. You have lived through such shocks before and you know that volatility is sometimes the name of the game. You can almost be certain that next quarter, something different will unexpectedly pop up.

And when that next shock to the market does arise, you should remind yourself of your timeframe, what you are investing for, and the planning process itself. Patient, clear-headed thinking like this helps to beat back panic and fear. And if you need or would like a friendly reminder to aid in this process, please do not hesitate to contact us.