Everyone is feeling the impact of the coronavirus. 401k balances are down, work hours are restricted, and you undoubtedly feel less confident about your income than you did 6 months ago, but that doesn't mean you need to panic or completely change your habits. In fact, many millennials have been patiently waiting for the next recession to get better discounts on stocks and real estate. On top of that, politicians like Elizabeth Warren have been calling for student loan forgiveness as an economic stimulus package to combat the recession. Even if you haven't been saving to invest for a recession your economic outlook could be completely changed by that alone.
Let's say you that have been diligently saving, when's the right time to invest? The pace at which the value of the stock market has declined is unprecedented, causing some to claim that we're at or near the bottom right now. And then there are some who feel that the market still has a ways to go before we see the turn around. So when do you invest? You've been saving for the right opportunity, but when's the right time to buy? For me, it all comes down to aligning with my long-term goals. I plan to write a dedicated post about my long-term financial goals, but in short, I want to have a net worth of $10 million (not counting my student loan debt) by 2030.
With a goal like that, timing the exact bottom of the stock market is much less important that sizing myself in over the next few months. I'm currently "nibbling" on each down day, adding a little to 5 specific stocks, and 2 mutual funds, in the hopes that they vastly increase in value before 2030 and provide some dividends along the way. Keeping my long-term goal in mind, I am much less worried about the day-to-day fluctuations of the market. If the market goes up, then I'll just keep watching. If stocks go down, then I'll add to my position. Now I will preface this by saying that I'm only investing money that I don't use for other bills or necessities like groceries. My wife and I live well below our means, and I only invest money that I specifically set aside each month. On top of that, I am not investing all of my savings either. I do have a moderate emergency fund saved up in a high interest savings account.
Normally, I would advocate investing your emergency fund, since they are so rarely used, but in times like this, I don't want to have my savings depleting in the market, and then have my wife or I lose our day jobs on top of it. Not being able to pay our mortgage would severely impact my progress towards a net worth of $10 million, so some safety is necessary. Overall, your strategy needs to closely align with the specific goals that you have, and don't get too caught up in the day-to-day changes. Have a nice safety net in place, if needed, and put the rest of your money to work on your goals. If the entire U.S. economy completely collapses and this is the end of society as we know it, then you'll have bigger problems than losing a little money in the stock market.