2 Moves I Just Made When Stocks Were Tumbling

Many of us remember when the stock market tumbled in March of 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Thankfully, that was a short-lived crash, and since then, stocks have largely performed well.

That all changed a couple of weeks ago, when late January brought unwanted stock market volatility into the mix. At one point, the S&P 500 dipped more than 10%, bringing the index into correction territory for the first time in almost two years.

As an investor who’s seen her share of downturns, the events of the past couple of weeks didn’t rattle me too much. But I did decide to take action to protect my portfolio — and expand it. Here are some specific moves I made.

Image source: Getty Images.

1. I threw some cash into my brokerage account

Because I’m set on emergency savings, I didn’t feel the need to shore up my savings account when stocks started tumbling. Usually, that’s an advisable thing to do so that you don’t end up in a position where you have to liquidate stocks at a loss to cover unplanned bills. But I already have around a year’s worth of expenses sitting in cash, so I’m not in a hurry to put more money into a savings account that will pay me minimal interest.

Instead, I went and transferred some money out of my savings account and into my brokerage account (don’t worry — it wasn’t cash from my emergency fund, but rather, from another account). My logic is that the next few weeks could be loaded with similar upheaval, and if stocks on my watchlist lose value, I’ll want the opportunity to scoop up them on the cheap. Which leads to my next point…

2. I bought a bunch of different stocks

A number of the companies I’ve been looking to own or expand my positions in saw their share price decline recently. I took the opportunity to add those to my portfolio.

Those buys didn’t come out of nowhere, though. Rather, I have an actual list of stocks I track, and I bought companies that play into my specific investing strategy. I also bought a few companies that I knew would lend to more diversity in my portfolio.

The one move I didn’t make during the downturn

Even though it was unsettling to see my portfolio value decline at such a rapid clip recently, the one thing I didn’t do was sell off investments in a panic. All of the stocks I own are stocks I intend to hang onto for several more decades at least. And so selling them would’ve meant losing money for no good reason.

Now that said, there are one or two stocks in my portfolio that I may choose to get rid of in the near term — not because of a recent decline in their value, but rather, a steady decline. If it comes to that, I’m hoping I’ll be able to use that loss to my advantage tax-wise, whether to offset capital gains or actual income.

The reality is that the events of the past couple of weeks aren’t unusual in the grand scheme of the stock market. Many of us just aren’t used to such intense volatility because the market has been strong for the past couple of years. But I can rest easy knowing I’m prepared for more turbulence — whether it happens in February or at another point this year.

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