'Investing is a journey.' Addressing investors, retirees concerns about the faltering stock market

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- The Dow, NASDAQ, and S&P 500 all fell sharply Thursday, continuing a rough five-month stretch in the stock market.

Since the beginning of the year, the Dow is down about 18%, the Nasdaq has dipped almost 33%, and the S & P has fallen nearly 24%.

"It's depleted (my retirement accounts) for one thing. And I've noticed gas is going higher, it's taking more money for that," said Karen Adkins, who is retired.

Adkins returned to the job market on a part-time basis after the pandemic began.

"One day a week, I work at Food Lion trying to help out. But when you're on social security, you can only make so much money," Adkins explained.

Falling share prices have coincided with record-high inflation.

"Everything is going up sky high, and people don't have that kind of money for all this. Everybody's trying to scrabble and save," said Haywood Gibson, a fellow retiree.

A survey from BMO Harris Bank found 1 in 4 people will need to delay their retirement, and 21% of respondents are saving less money. The report also noted that despite nearly 60% of Americans feeling a negative impact from inflation, nearly 4 in 5 felt confident about their finances.

"(The impact on my retirement accounts is) not too much. They're down. It's a loss, but it's just a paper loss. It's a temporary paper loss. So it'll recover," said Michael Wakefield, who is also retired; he added he began saving when he was young and is confident in his financial situation.

"Investing is a journey, it's a marathon, not a sprint," said Gary Harris, a Managing Partner at H&M Financial Group in Raleigh.

The drop in the market follows a strong period which began in March 2020, at the start of the pandemic.

"Over time, the market has proven that it gives a reasonably good return that's above inflation. So I think for the 30 year old, it's stay in. This a great opportunity. You're starting to get really good entry points," Harris said.

For those considering retirement, Harris offered advice to ensure they're prepared to do so.

"Prepare by living on what your retirement income is going to be, not what you're making. Try that for a while. If that works for you, then you're going to be fine. If it doesn't work for you, then you might want to delay (retiring)," Harris said.

He explained some clients have had conversations about altering their retirement plans.

"When it comes to retirees, we've always said you need to have a cushion and have an allocation, and don't panic. Don't react to your financial situation emotionally. Look at all the factors. If we've got things we need to move around, we'll move around. And we will draw a line in the sand for some that are close to retirement," Harris said.

Not everybody we met with Thursday was as invested in the stock market; Shane Sharma shared that decades ago, he opted to invest in real estate.

"If you can, buy a small house that you can afford. And then after some time, when (your financial) situation gets better, rent that house and move to the next one. And then soon as you can, at your convenience, go to the next one, until you have (multiple properties)," said Sharma.

He currently has three rental properties, all single-homes, after selling one home recently. It's provided an important revenue stream for the retired engineer.

"Over time, you keep on learning, getting better and you know how to handle these renters, so it's been very good to me," said Sharma.

Sharma, who bought his first rental property at 28, said he's been strategic in his pricing.

"That is key to my success. Because I don't rent to compete with the market. I keep the rent lower (than) the market price by about $200. I look at a husband, wife, and two kids, and that they should afford a single-family home. So I took that strategy. Even if I could get more money, I looked at that affordability gave me very good renters over time. They knew I was not greedy, and they took very good care of the house, of the properties, and I still charge less than the market rent presently," Sharma explained.
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