The stock market has been an even wilder ride than normal in the lead-up to 2019. Record gains follow huge losses, and then it just seems to start all over again. Even if you don't have money in the stock market, it can be an unending nail-biter — after all, a lot of retirement funds are tied up in Wall Street.
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Investing is, at heart, a long game. For many, the longer the better. While it's hard to watch index funds tank and market indicators flail, the best advice is often to take a deep breath. The CEO of the investing app Acorns, Noah Kerner, just sent out an end-of-year email to users with the following advice: "When markets go up, I invest. When the markets go down, I take a deep breath, tune out the news, and invest even more."
Even Warren Buffett (yes, the real one) has a similar take. "During such scary periods, you should never forget two things," he wrote in 2016. "First, widespread fear is your friend as an investor, because it serves up bargain purchases. Second, personal fear is your enemy. It will also be unwarranted." While a bear market can feel like an especially vulnerable time, it's also perhaps the best time to look out for No. 1.
Finally, we all should remember that failure is not likely to be as catastrophic as we imagine. There are ways to course-correct from virtually any setback, and by the time you're back on your feet, you'll be that much smarter about the future.