Financial planners hopeful market rebound will bring retirement accounts with it

Stocks and retirement accounts tanked when the pandemic forced shutdowns worldwide, but the U.S. economy reopening has markets trending up.

Millions of Americans lost money in their retirement accounts due to the coronavirus pandemic, causing a volatile few months.

“Most of the main concerns are frankly have been more emotional and mental,” said financial advisor Lee Mezrah, president of Mezrah Financial in Tampa.

Mezrah said he has been calming his clients and making sure they see the current situation as a potential opportunity to invest more into their retirement.

“Obviously, it’s been a downward trend pretty heavily in March. Those that stuck it out had a huge upswing in April, and their patience paid off,” said Mezrah.

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He said retirement accounts likely saw anywhere from a 10 to 20% dip before trending back up. But close to retirement, that’s not a change you want to see. So Mezrah said you should reduce your risk when you're a few years out.

“You can’t stay in the same asset allocation for the entire time frame. You have to adjust it based on your age and risk tolerance,” said Mezrah. “So if you’re not doing that, I would encourage you to pay closer attention to that.”

One group dove in when others pulled out -- millennials. Wealth management company Apex Clearing found that nearly a million millennial investors bought stock in major companies. And the pattern slipped over into long-term investing.

“I’ve seen a ramp up from the millennials and maybe even older age in regards to using this as an opportunity to start putting away more money for retirement,” said Mezrah of his clients.

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No matter where you are on your retirement journey, financial advisors said it’s best to be patient with the markets and keep saving if you can.

“It’s not easy because we’ve been dealing with a lot mentally and emotionally,” said Mezrah. “You have to stay the course. You cannot panic. And I see most people have not.”

Mezrah said people who are a few years away from retiring should have low to no risk accounts, and those kinds of accounts likely didn’t lose much if any money in the past few months. He also recommends diversifying your financial portfolio with IRAs, mutual funds, 401Ks, real estate, etc., so that your money isn’t all in one pot.