MIAMI – It's been a volatile year for the United States stock market, falling below 16,000 in February before rebounding to more than 18,000 in April. For business professionals such as lawyers who have a lot invested, there's the temptation to pull their money out; however, that may not be the best idea.
"Consider the long term," Alan Weisberg, founding partner of Weisberg Kainen Mark in Miami, told the Northern California Record. "Frequently, reacting emotionally ends up working to your detriment."
Weisberg has been a tax attorney for more than 40 years and is also a former federal prosecutor.
A recent survey of lawyers conducted on ALM's legal news websites showed that 170 of more than 200 lawyers surveyed were planning to put off their retirement to make up for losses suffered early in the year when the market had declined significantly. Those losses have been made up for since then, but anyone who pulled out before that missed the chance to regain that money.
That's part of Weisberg's advice to lawyers (and any other highly paid business professionals) who are concerned about their investment money being in the stock market.
Weisberg also said lawyers and other investors need to make sure that they get as much information on getting these three points correct: Determining if the market will continue to go down, "Because if the market goes up, and you were wrong, you just cut off that continued growth," Weisberg said; determining when to get back into the market, which Weisberg said "may actually be the hardest decision" because if professionals wait too long, the market could rebound and they'd miss the maximum gain from that; and determining if the profit made from staying in the market will exceed the taxes that will have to be paid when the stocks are sold.
Weisberg, however, says that this advice is pointed at those who currently have gains in the market. For those who are currently looking at losses, his advice changes.
"You can go ahead and harvest those losses, and you don't have to get it right three different ways," Weisberg said, basically saying it's OK to cut those losses and get what they can for their stocks.
As for why the market has been so volatile this year, Weisberg points to both domestic concerns as well as financial ones.
"The concern of downturn in China, all the problems that have been going on in Europe for some time, and the prospect of rising interest rates, all of those things are of concern to investors," he said.
In the end, Weisberg recommends staying the course in the market. When asked if he saw anything coming down the road that could pose a serious concern, he responded "I'm a long-term player, and I try not to overreact to short-term concerns."