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Survive a stock market dip

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Any dip in the market can set people on edge. Feelings of uncertainty and worry are only natural: We see the numbers in our retirement accounts go down and we want to stop the bleeding any way we can. Of course, being able to check balances any time of day or night — and watching those numbers plunge in real time — doesn’t help fight the urge to react immediately.

If you’re feeling on edge during a market tumble, whether retirement is just around the corner or years from now, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind to help navigate market volatility with more confidence

Don’t sell

Panic selling stocks may be your first initial urge, but it is never a smart move. In fact, when the market is down, it’s the worst time to pull your money out.

The key to protecting yourself against this kind of reaction is to have a portfolio that matches your financial situation and goals for the future, including factors like your expected retirement age and your tolerance for risks. If your portfolio is too risky for what your gut can bear — whether because of your proximity to retirement or not — meeting with a financial professional can help you adjust your accounts to better match your risk to what you can tolerate.

Look ahead … far ahead

Don’t just focus on your balance right now. If retirement is not around the corner (meaning less than five years away), you shouldn’t fear the short-term changes of the market.

Over the long run, stocks increase in value, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be periods where they will decline. Instead of panicking, view these dips as buying opportunities that allow you to buy stocks at essentially a “sale” price. And if you’re putting money into your account evenly throughout the year, that means you’re bargain shopping when prices dip.

Reallocate your funds

If you’re not far off from retirement and want to make sure you don’t get socked on a dip right before you’re about to start your next chapter, it’s time to talk to a financial professional about reducing your risk.

If you are close to retirement, it’s important to be much more risk averse and have a more conservative asset allocation. That may mean taking some of your funds and buying an income annuity to assure a monthly cash flow during retirement. Another option is a longevity annuity, which provides you with an annual income at a certain age like 80 or 85, which can protect you from outliving your retirement funds.

Remaining calm during a market drop is difficult, but essential to staying on track for the future, whether retirement is close by or still several years away. Meeting with your financial professional can help you better understand changes in the market and how to weather a stock market plunge with more confidence.

Want the most from your retirement? Get smarter with Smart Strategies from Athene. Your source for tips, tools and financial solutions that can help you live your best life.

Athene and its employees are not authorized to provide tax, legal, or investment advice. Please contact a qualified professional for such advice.