Bumpy markets have you worried? We can help.

How to understand the markets, think about the economy, and protect your money

Your most common questions, answered

When the markets swing up and down, you may have questions about your retirement and investment accounts. We’ve got answers.

During volatile times, it can be tempting to take your money out of retirement accounts until markets quiet down. However, this adage can help: It’s not about timing the market, it’s about time in the market. Jumping out, then back in, can upend the steady progress you’re making. In addition, when markets are lower, you’re “purchasing” more at lower prices—equaling the potential for higher gains when markets rebound. Read this case study about staying invested during market volatility.

When the stock market swings downward, it can seem (really) appealing to change how you invest in hopes of a better return. But unless you’re just a few years from retirement, changing to “safer” options may not be the best long-term strategy. (And you may be missing out on the growth potential that time in the market gets you.)

If you are very near retirement, there are investing tips that can help you manage market volatility. If your investments and risk tolerance aren’t in sync, you can take our risk quiz (PDF). A financial professional may help, too. Don’t have one? We’ll help you find a financial professional near you.

Learn more so you can worry less.

These resources help you plan for your financial goals today—and in the future.

Worried about your hard-earned retirement savings?

Staying invested when markets get bumpy

You may feel unsure about your investments when the markets go up and down. That’s natural. This case study can help you understand why time in the market matters more than timing the market.

Imagine you invested $100,000 on January 1, 2008. That year, the markets went down. Your balance dropped to $64,388 in one year.1

Move money into a CD

What would've happened if you’d moved your money to a CD with a guaranteed 2% return

Stay in the market

What would've happened if you kept your money invested in the market

If you stayed in the market five years, it would have meant 74% more.2 The bottom line? Staying invested during volatility may pay off.

Whatever you need, we’re here to help.

What our customer experts want you to know about market volatility:

  • Market volatility is normal.

  • It’s more about time in the market than timing the market.

  • Diversifying your investment mix can help.

1 Example for illustrative purposes. Based on S&P Index returns as of December 31, 2007 through December 31, 2008. 

2 Example for illustrative purposes. Returns related to a 2 percent interest-bearing CD. Market returns based on S&P index returns as of December 31, 2008 through December 31, 2013. Past performance does not guarantee future results.

The subject matter in this communication is educational only and provided with the understanding that Principal® is not rendering legal, accounting, investment advice or tax advice. You should consult with appropriate counsel or other advisors on all matters pertaining to legal, tax, investment or accounting obligations and requirements.