Edward Jones financial advisors are taking steps to help protect the health of their clients, families and colleagues, in addition to help educate the community on what's happening to the economy amid the COVID-19 pandemic, a press release states.

""We're right here in the community with you, going through this together as neighbors and friends. And we will get through this together," said David D. Cooper of Edward Jones of Smithville.

To help reduce the spread of coronavirus, financial advisors are taking several steps, including suspending face-to-face visits with clients, holding virtual meetings and training sessions and ensuring office spaces are sanitized and disinfected.

"Like everyone, we really have to do our part to help mitigate this crisis," Cooper said. "But, since our entire reason for being in business is to help our clients enjoy more rewarding lives, we feel that our efforts now are just an extension of that."

People's financial situations, Cooper said, also weighs on advisors minds.

"The current market selloff is certainly concerning, but it seems to be driven more by fear and panic than by economic or financial reality," Cooper said.

Monetary and fiscal policy are necessary, he said, but that medical progress with fighting the virus will dictate the timeline for reducing market volatility and results in rebounds in stocks.

Cooper also volatility will persist until new infection rates begin to slow. Investors should find optimism he said, in that prior to the epidemic, unemployment was near a 50-year low with solid wage growth; there had been an uptick in the housing market, which may accelerate due to declining mortgage rates; and that the Federal Reserve has cut short-term interest rates back to near 0%.

Cooper also said the drop in investment prices may indicate financial markets have already "priced in" the likelihood of a short-term recession.

"This could mean that we've already endured much of the stock market pain," he said.

For investors wondering what to do now, Cooper said investors should keep their eyes on the future.

"With the market decline, people will be tempted to change their investment strategies," Cooper said. "They need to keep in mind that most of their financial goals, such as a comfortable retirement, are long-term in nature — a lot longer-term than the shelf life of the coronavirus. If investors have established a long-term strategy that's appropriate for their needs, they should stick with it."

Cooper also suggests to individuals concerned evaluate their risk tolerance.

"If you are truly losing sleep over what's going on in the markets, it's possible your portfolio is positioned too aggressively for the amount of risk with which you're comfortable," Cooper said. "In that case, you should work with your financial advisor to see if you need to adjust your investment mix to include more fixed-income securities, which can provide some downside protection. But you'll be making a trade-off, because you'll also be affecting your long-term growth potential."

In this economic climate, the Edward Jones advisor said it may actually be a good time for investors to consider adding to their portfolios.

"Right now, many stocks are at their best values in more than a decade," he said. "If you need to rebalance your portfolio, this could be a time to do so."

Ultimately, Cooper said, investors should not panic.

"All our emotions are running high right now," he said. "And while everyone's top priority should be to protect themselves, their families and their communities, it's still important not to lose sight of their financial well-being. And for that, the best thing all of us can do is look past short-term downturns and maintain the discipline to keep investing in all types of markets."

Northwest Editor Sean Roberts can be reached at sean.roberts@mycouriertribune.com or 389-6606.​

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