The corona-induced stock market slide nearly cut the number of TSP millionaires in half at the end of March 2020. This slide has made many rethink their investment plans and philosophies.
After years of incredible returns in the stock market, it almost seemed like it would never end. But as we are now reminded, down markets are part of the economic cycle and it is only a matter of time until one comes. Whether it is caused by a mortgage crisis, the coronavirus, or anything else, they will come.
I think it also important to note that down markets are not always a bad thing. Obviously we never like to see TSP balances go down, but it is a great time to invest more to take advantage of the lower prices. The stock market is the only place where many people freak out when there are sales. It may sound counterintuitive, but most fortunes are made during a recession.
I have to note, however, that a down market can be a really bad thing if someone was investing in a way that didn’t match their risk tolerance or time horizon. If someone was investing too aggressively with money that they’d need in the short term then they could find themselves in trouble. That is why it is so essential to understand how investing works and to have a plan in place.
I am sure that many TSP millionaires are bummed if their balance dropped below the million dollar mark. However, I am sure that many of these millionaires are looking forward to the opportunities that a down market presents.
TSP millionaires understand that the most important thing in investing is time and consistency. They know that there will be ups and downs (because they’ve lived through many of them) and it is important to stick to their long term plans and not make rash decisions. The market will recover and the TSP will come back up, and TSP millionaires understand that now is not the time to go 100% in the G fund.
Have a Retirement Plan
Now, I do want to reemphasize the importance of a plan. The best investment allocation and strategy often depends on someone’s age and retirement plans.
You will want to have a plan on how you are going to adjust as you progress throughout your career and approach retirement. It also pays to have a plan on how you are going to handle your TSP in retirement itself.
By having a plan, it makes it much easier to remember your long-term goals and to not make emotional decisions in a down-market.
Whether you are a TSP millionaire or not, every investor should focus on investing basics: time and consistency. Markets will go up and down but the best investors know what to focus on and what to ignore.
Focusing on the basics not only improves investing outcomes but also the quality of your sleep at night.