Questions to ask your financial advisor
It's been a challenging year for investors. Economic concerns at home and geopolitical strife abroad have both influenced global financial markets in 2022.
The S&P 500 booked its worst half of the year since the 1970s.1 But not even the bond market could save more conservative investors. The bond market is currently on track for its worst year ever.2
With that kind of performance, you might be anxiously awaiting your next meeting with your financial advisor to ask for professional insight into what's going on — and more importantly, what you can do about it.
To help guide the conversation, consider bringing these questions with you:
Can we reassess my risk tolerance?
Now might be a good time to discuss risk tolerance with your advisor — because any past conversation was probably more theoretical than practical.
In the midst of a volatile market where stocks have dropped significantly in value, you might find that what you said about your appetite for risk when times were good doesn't align with how you actually feel when your net worth realizes the risk.
That doesn't mean you need to make drastic changes to your portfolio. In fact, now is probably not the time to tinker, as you only lock in losses and distract from your overall strategy.
But you should reassess your risk tolerance with your advisor to ensure you're both on the same page.
If you find there's a discrepancy in your stated tolerance for risk versus how you feel when you see potential losses in your investments, your advisor can create a plan to gradually get your portfolio more aligned with where it needs to be on the aggressive-to-conservative scale.
That way, the next time there's market volatility — and there will always be a next time — you'll feel more comfortable with how your portfolio is positioned.
How has my portfolio performed?
The most important question you can ask your financial advisor is not about market performance. It's about your performance.
While news headlines often talk about the performance of a few major indices, like the S&P 500, that doesn't mean your portfolio is behaving the same way. And that could be good news, given how the S&P performed so far this year!
Your portfolio tracks its own benchmarks and has its own unique makeup, depending on your risk tolerance and goals. Make sure you understand the following:
- What your portfolio is invested in.
- How your asset allocation is structured.
- Why your portfolio is invested the way it is.
- How your portfolio has performed against its specific benchmarks.
What should you ask your financial advisor the next time you meet? Focus on questions that are specific to your situation - and what you can do about it.
How can we take advantage of a down market?
No one likes to look at downward-trending graphs and red markup that signal losses when reviewing their investments. But there could be one small silver lining: opportunities to save on taxes.
Ask your advisor if there are any tax planning opportunities available. You may be able to take advantage of a tax loss harvesting strategy or use losses in some investments to offset gains elsewhere.
What does my investment withdrawal strategy look like?
Successful investors know that growing wealth is a long game — even as you approach retirement. While you will need to begin relying on your assets once you stop working, there may be whole accounts that you don't touch for another 10 (or more!) years as part of your overall plan.
Ask your advisor about your specific withdrawal strategy. Understanding how you'll access your nest egg and where you'll pull money from first can give you some peace of mind — even in a down market or ahead of a potential recession.
Where can I take action right now?
A good investor also knows that sometimes, the right thing to do is nothing at all. Despite market volatility and fears of an economic downturn, your advisor may caution you against making radical change in your portfolio.
Even in uncertain times, staying the course is often the best move you can make.
Still, it doesn't feel good to sit idly by — so ask your financial advisor what you can do. What is within your control to increase your odds of success with your financial plan?
Some options to discuss might include:
- Updating your personal budget or adjusting your cash flow (so that you can spend less and save more).
- Getting any excess cash off the sidelines and into the market while stocks are essentially on sale.
- Adjusting the timeline of your goals or reconsidering how you'll retire. Is there a way you can step back from your primary career but still earn some income? Does working an extra three years dramatically improve your odds of long-term success?
Your Synovus financial advisor can discuss these topics with you and make suggestions of where you can focus your energy right now.
It's not easy to ride the waves of a turbulent market, but those who can stay calm and focused on the big picture may find themselves in a better position on the other side of the storm. By asking the right questions, your financial advisor can also provide better guidance along the way. Our experienced financial consultants are here to help whenever you have questions. Contact us at 1-888-SYNOVUS (1-888-796-6887).
Important disclosure information
Diversification does not ensure against loss.
- "The S&P 500 just had its worst first half in more than 50 years, which 'stressed' this classic investment strategy," Greg Iacurci, CNBC, https://www.cnbc.com/2022/07/01/sp-500-had-worst-half-in-50-yearsbut- the-60/40-portfolio-isnt-dead.html, Accessed August 2, 2022. Back
- "Brutal First Half Puts Bonds in Line for Worst Year in Decades," Yoruk Bahceli, US News & World Report, https://money.usnews.com/investing/news/articles/2022-06-30/brutalfirst- half-puts-bonds-in-line-for-worst-year-in-decades, Accessed August 2, 2022. Back
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