Broker Check

Problems with Panicking

March 27, 2020

Problems With Panicking

If you’ve ventured out to a grocery store lately, you’ve undoubtedly seen empty shelves and bins. There’s only one reason to explain this in a nation that is the world’s largest food exporter. People are panic buying. That’s not surprising. We’ve never faced an enemy like the novel coronavirus, and we’re understandably frightened by a long list of potential and imagined what-ifs. At the same time, panicking is making the situation worse than it need be. 

Obviously, our concerns go far beyond whether we’ll be able to find frozen vegetables, canned food, toilet paper, hand sanitizer or other things we need. We’re also concerned about the health of our family, friends and neighbors. We’re concerned about how long it will take to find an effective vaccine and treatment. We’re concerned about our livelihood, our savings and our nation’s economy.

But in each of these areas, panicking can make the situation worse – and weaken our ability to cope emotionally and physically with present and future challenges. It’s much more effective to calmly assess situations and consider what practical steps you can take to help yourself and to improve the circumstances of others.

People are not only panic buying and panicking emotionally. Recent stock market performance shows they’re also panic selling. Again, it’s understandable. No one can predict how low the market will drop, how much the economy will be hurt and when things will start to rebound. But reacting emotionally can also make a bad situation worse in the long run.

While it’s not always wrong to make some changes in the type of situation we find ourselves in, making decisions based on emotions can be particularly costly. Selling now can turn paper losses into real losses. Again, it’s important to gather information from reliable sources, calmly assess current situations, review historic data and consider what practical steps, if any, should be taken. Discussing any potential moves with someone you trust is a good way to ensure any decision you make is reasoned and measured.

While we need to stay informed, it’s probably best for our emotional well-being to limit the amount of time we spend taking in headlines or watching individual investments. Even in these difficult times, we need to reflect on things we all can take for granted in our normal, busy lives, connect with others emotionally and find things to be thankful for.

As always, and particularly now, I am available to answer your questions or discuss your concerns. Please don’t hesitate to reach out. Call 330.707.4135.