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Managing Your Workplace Retirement Plan in Volatile Times

Christopher A Wysong, CFP®

Jan 24, 2023

Investment markets are in a challenging period in which large swaths of the stock and bond market have lost value. You may have noticed the impact of this on your own workplace retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) or 403(b) accounts.

Managing Your Workplace Retirement Plan in Volatile Times


Investment markets are in a challenging period in which large swaths of the stock and bond market have lost value. You may have noticed the impact of this on your own workplace retirement savings plans, such as 401(k) or 403(b) accounts.


While watching the value of your portfolio drop is never easy, investors must understand that markets can be volatile over short periods. Variable investments like stocks and bonds don’t move in a straight line – and occasional cooldowns are inevitable. It’s also worth remembering that if you’ve been investing in your workplace retirement plan for some time, it’s likely you benefited from strong markets in the historic bull run that followed the 2008 recession. Here is some more perspective to keep in mind:


Sticking with the plan

It isn’t unusual to question your investment strategy when markets aren’t working in your favor. Consider the two key reasons why you shouldn’t be concerned by volatile, short-term, market performance in your retirement account:


1.     You are investing for the long term. Your concern is less about what the markets do today and tomorrow than how your investments perform between now and the time you retire. If you have a long time horizon before retirement and faith in the quality of your investment choices, you should be able to ride out the short-term market swings.

2.     You are investing regularly over time. Periods of market volatility can work in your favor. When investments drop in price, you are able to purchase more shares than you would have at a more elevated price. Assuming the investment recovers and grows over time, that can be beneficial to your ultimate investment returns. This is an advantage of making regular investments on a systematic basis.


For these reasons, it makes sense to be persistent with your regular payroll deductions that are directed into your retirement savings, and let markets recover so your portfolio is in a position to bounce back.


Changes to consider

Should you be content to stand pat with your portfolio regardless of the market’s performance? In many cases, yes. However, there are several potential actions to consider in light of recent market performance:


1.     If you’re closing in on retirement (within five years or less), it may make sense to scale back the level of risk in your portfolio mix. That could mean shifting some assets into fixed-income investments and taking some money out of your equity investments.

2.     If you feel any of your investments have been less productive than they should be for an extended period, you may want to consider repositioning some assets.

3.     It may be an opportune time to boost the amount of money you set aside for retirement. If you haven’t regularly raised your contribution level, consider doing so now. For those age 50 and older, you can take advantage of catch-up contributions of up to $6,500 to your workplace retirement account.


Talk to your advisor

It’s important that the investment strategy you pursue in your workplace plan be consistent with your overall financial goals. Now is a good time to sit down with your advisor to determine if you’re saving enough for retirement and if the investments in your retirement account are working most effectively for you.


Christopher A Wysong, CFP®, APMA® is a Financial Advisor and Practice Manager with Childress and Associates, a financial advisory practice of Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. in Centerville, Ohio.  He specializes in fee-based financial planning and asset management strategies and has been in practice for 16 years. To contact him please call 937-247-4565, or mail at 60 Rhoads Center Drive, Suite C Centerville Ohio 45458.  Christopher A Wysong, Financial Advisor in Centerville, OH

Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards Inc. owns the certification marks CFP®, CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™ and CFP certification mark (with plaque design) in the U.S.


This information is being provided only as a general source of information and is not a solicitation to buy or sell any securities, accounts or strategies mentioned.  The information is not intended to be used as the sole basis for investment decisions, nor should it be construed as a recommendation or advice designed to meet the particular needs of an individual investor.  Please seek the advice of a financial advisor regarding your particular financial situation. 


Investment products are not insured by the FDIC, NCUA or any federal agency, are not deposits or obligations of, or guaranteed by any financial institution, and involve investment risks including possible loss of principal and fluctuation in value.  


Investment advisory products and services are made available through Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC, a registered investment adviser.  


Ameriprise Financial Services, LLC. Member FINRA and SIPC.  


© 2023 Ameriprise Financial, Inc. All rights reserved.    

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