It’s no secret that the stock market hasn’t had a good couple of months. Economic concerns and tensions overseas have created the perfect storm of sluggishness, and now, a lot of investors are seeing on-screen losses in their portfolios on the heels of a strong 2021.
To be clear, stock market corrections, like the one we’re in the midst of, aren’t a reason to panic. That’s because they’re actually quite common. Plus, the one good thing about a stock market downturn is that it can open the door to buying opportunities. And if you’re the type who’s not so comfortable hand-picking stocks, you may prefer to invest in the broad market by buying ETFs instead.
But is now a good time to be loading up on S&P 500 ETFs? Or does it pay to sit tight and wait for better days?
Seize the opportunity
ETFs, or exchange-traded funds, allow you to own a bucket of different stocks with a single investment. S&P 500 ETFs, meanwhile, allow you to effectively own a piece of the 500 largest publicly traded companies. That, in turn, gives you a world of diversity in your portfolio. And it also offers you a degree of protection during volatile periods like the one we’ve been grappling with since January.
Meanwhile, just as now is a good time to snag individual stocks at a discount, it’s also a good time to buy more shares of an S&P 500 ETF. While the stock market certainly hasn’t hit rock bottom, the reality is that there’s still plenty of room for broad market growth. So if you load up on S&P 500 ETFs now, there’s a good chance your portfolio will gain value in time.
That said, right now, a number of once-overpriced stocks are trading at lower levels due to the general market correction. If you’ve been thinking about branching out and buying individual stocks, you may want to jump on that opportunity while you can.
In fact, a good approach to today’s correction may be to add S&P 500 ETFs to your portfolio, but also scoop up shares of individual companies you’re convinced have solid growth potential. That way, you can set yourself up to benefit from gains when the broad market recovers, but you also might might get a chance to beat the market with the right individual stock picks.
Don’t stop investing
Many people are inclined to believe that investing in stocks when the market is down is a poor choice. But actually, the opposite tends to hold true.
Stock market downturns can be an ideal time to invest because you can get in at lower price points. So as long as you have enough cash on hand to cover a few months of essential expenses, and as long as you won’t need to tap your portfolio within the next few years, it pays to keep investing — even at a time when the market is volatile and stocks may have a long road toward recovery ahead of them.