Despite our fervent hopes that Ukraine’s sovereign rights would prevail over tyrannical aggression, it’s now clear that Vladimir Putin has doubled down on the latter.
Time will tell how his plans will play out. If there’s one thing we do know, it’s that you cannot drop a bomb without creating very real reverberations. So, no matter what occurs in the coming days and weeks, please take to heart this reminder for guiding your financial resolve:
Here and now is exactly what market risk looks like along the road to long-term wealth. Your best path remains the same: Stay the course.
In addition to news of the heartbreaking human toll Russia’s military incursion is creating, you’re also going to be deluged by financial and economic analyses on its effects on global markets. As The Wall Street Journal’s executive Washington editor Gerald F. Seib reflected, “Russia’s military incursion deeper into Ukraine is one of those rare events that won’t merely affect the world. It will change the world.”
For example, it’s no secret that global energy policies will probably need to be revisited, as will existing balances of power. As Dimensional Fund Advisors explored in its timely piece, “Navigating Geopolitical Events,” ample historical precedent illustrates what can happen during times of political strife. Some markets may grow highly illiquid, or close altogether as severe sanctions and other influences impact trading. Then there’s the Fed’s ongoing efforts to tame inflation. Will they, or won’t they raise rates as originally intended?
Again, despite disturbing news, we urge you to remain adherent to your existing investment plans. Think of it this way: If there were no disturbing news, there would be far fewer “opportunities” for risk-averse investors to dump their declining holdings at discount prices. By sticking with your existing, globally diversified allocations, you can seize these opportunities to buy low, and expect to eventually sell high over the long-term.
At the same time, we’ve also already offset your global risk exposure (with higher expected returns) through an appropriate allocation to less-volatile holdings (with lower expected returns). This means you’ve effectively already done all you can to prepare your portfolio for riding out the downturns, market illiquidity, and other risk-driven events that may occur in the near-term.
Before we wrap, let’s also take a moment to be grateful for freedom.
"For to be free is not merely to cast off one’s chains, but to live in a way that respects and enhances the freedom of others." - Nelson Mandela
Like any free society, we realize the struggle to attain our foundational aspirations. But we truly believe, as a nation, we never stop trying. Which is why we are confident we can and will unite during these challenging times to preserve our core values as a nation. One of these core values is the enduring wealth free markets can bring to all who participate in them fairly and in good faith. For that, we are grateful as well.