How to Manage Your 401k Account During Market Declines

By Jon Pettigrew, CFP®, ChFC®, AIF®, and Wealth Advisor

Market downturns happen… but don’t last forever. 

Time in the market matters, not market timing. 

  • Markets reward long-term investors. Having an investment plan and sticking to it is the best course of action to avoid emotional trading. We encourage investors to periodically tune out the news and focus on their long-term goals. 
  • Emotional investing can be hazardous. It’s normal to feel nervous when markets decline, but actions taken during such periods can mean the difference between investment success and shortfall.
  • Contributing during market downturns: Bear markets provide the opportunity to buy more shares of stock for the same amount of money, which lowers your average cost per share. Consider increasing your 401k contributions during market downturns.
  • Market declines are part of investing: Market volatility is both commonplace and healthy. While market declines are never pleasant, they have rewarded patient, long-term investors with attractive buying opportunities. In fact, of the 33 market corrections since 1980, 90% of them saw gains over the following year – averaging around 25%. While past results are not predictive of future results, each downturn has followed by recovery and a new market high.
  • Investment choices… reward vs risk: It is impossible to predict the impact and timing of when the market is at its lowest point, and impossible to try to time. Changing your investments during a bear market can be risky. If you become risk adverse and reduce your investment risk exposure, when the market does rebound you take a chance of missing those gains had you stayed the course with your investment plan. 

If you are in retirement or nearing retirement, the losses of today are very real, and time to recover may be a factor to consider. We remain committed to helping you work toward your retirement goals. If you have concerns about your account, please contact us: 

Jon Pettigrew

Wealth Advisor CFP®, ChFC®, AIF®

[email protected]

Austin Potter

Wealth Advisor

[email protected]

Deborah Dalman

Retirement Plan Relationship Manager, Licensed Sales Assistant

[email protected]


1 White, Burt. “The 3 Inflection Points Behind the Stock Market’s Dip.” Stonebridge Financial Partners, Accessed 10 June 2022.

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