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10 Ways to Find Opportunity in This Market

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Financial advisors and clients have had to navigate rough and tricky currents this year, with high inflation, rising interest rates and a bear market roiling portfolios and risking retirement plans. Now investors may be bracing for a recession, although there’s no consensus on when or whether the economy will shift into one.

ThinkAdvisor this week hosted a webinar, “Recession Proofing Your Clients’ Portfolios,” in which four financial experts offered their insights on the market and ways to help guide clients and manage their portfolios through choppy financial waters.

“It’s probably premature to say that a recession is inevitable. The big question is whether we’ll have a hard landing or a soft landing” as the Federal Reserve fights inflation, said Christine Benz, Morningstar personal finance director, who joined Michael Finke, American College of Financial Services professor, Mike Kurz, Investments & Wealth Institute programs director, and Marcia Mantell, Mantell Retirement Consulting owner, on the panel.

Investors “are pretty placid” by and large, with many sticking with their 401(k) automated contributions rather than taking the “wrong way to go about your business” and pulling back or repositioning, Benz said. The notion that most retail investors are making major shifts from their investment plans is overblown, she said.

Investors born from 1958 to 1961 — the peak of the baby boom — are nearing retirement and have lost at least 20% of their portfolios this year, Finke noted. “That’s putting their retirement expectations in jeopardy,” he said. “They’re scared and they’re sick of losing money.”

Here are 10 ideas the panelists offered for working with your clients during this uncertain time for markets and the economy.