As the bull market enters its seventh year, some experts are squawking like Chicken Little, "The sky is falling." Is a correction, a sudden decline of 10 percent or more in stock values, on the horizon? Strong arguments can be made either way. Position yourself for a fall, just in case.
Don't panic: "Realize that corrections are good things and essential to the long-term growth of the markets," says J.J. Burns, a certified financial planner with J.J. Burns & Co. in Melville. "They help reset prices and . . . offer opportunities to put new money to work at a discount."
Truth is, more money has been lost preparing for corrections than in the corrections themselves, says Charles Massimo, CEO of CJM Wealth Management in Deer Park.
Think diversity. "Diversifying is a way investors can avoid getting obliterated by a market correction," says Adam Koos, president of Libertas Wealth Management in Dublin, Ohio.
Rebalance: "You are likely overweighted in stocks since they have been almost straight up," says Cary Carbonaro, managing director of United Capital Private Wealth Counseling in Huntington. Find the right mix of stocks, bonds and other assets -- tinker, don't totally reconstruct. Where to turn? Kevin Mahn, chief investment officer of Hennion & Walsh Asset Management in Parsippany, New Jersey, favors U.S. stocks (over other developed and emerging- market countries), real estate investment trusts, and, for income-oriented investors, bonds.
Re-evaluate risk: Is your portfolio in sync with your risk tolerance and life situation? Says Keith Lanton, president of Lantern Investments in Melville, "If you've recently retired, you may need to make adjustments."