More Americans may want to stash cash under their mattress instead of invest in the stock market, that’s according to a recent Gallup poll conducted in early January. Half of Americans said the stock market is a bad place to put $1,000 right now, while 46 percent said it is a good place.
And last week’s market sell-off, sparked by currency problems in emerging markets such as Argentina and slowing growth in China, may not change their minds.
The S&P 500, a broad measure of the stock market, had its worst weekly loss since June 2012. It closed 3.3 percent below its record high of 1,850.84 set on January 15, 2014. The Dow Jones Industrial Average, which follows 30 companies, is down 4.2 percent while the tech heavy NASDAQ is down 1 percent this year.
The stock market was on a tear in 2013, the S&P 500 gained 29.6 percent, marking its best year since 1997. After such strong upward momentum last year, market experts have been calling for a pullback in the markets.
Last week may have spooked investors but experts warn sell-offs are part of the stock market cycle.
“If we let a little bit of air out of the balloon. If we lose another percent of two it’s not the end of the world,” advises Ivory Johnson, founder of Delancey Wealth Management in Washington, DC and a CNBC Blogger.
He recommends investors ask their financial advisors whether their portfolios are properly allocated to equities and other asset classes.
Key questions to ask your financial advisor include: Do I have the right time horizon? Does my portfolio reflect the current environment?
An important question investors should ask themselves is how risk averse they think they are and whether it matches their sentiment about the market.
Johnson says now is not the time to be nervous about the stock market. He warns people should be nervous if they have no financial plan at all.
More volatility is expected in the markets until Wednesday when the Federal Open Market Committee makes a decision on interest rates and whether any additional tapering will occur. During its December meeting the Fed left its key interest rate, which effects mortgage, credit card and student loan rates unchanged, but announced it would begin to scale back its bond buying program by $10 billion per month as the economy improves.
Shartia Brantley is a producer and on-air reporter at CNBC. Follow Shartia on Twitter at @shartiabrantley