By Emma Curtis and Alexis Ramirez
Ever since COVID-19 caused nation-wide company shutdowns, the United States’ stock market has been anticipating another crash.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average, a market index that measures the stock performance of more than 30 companies, saw its worst trading day since 2008 in March, due to growing fears of the spread of COVID-19.
Millions of Americans own stock in different companies around the world and could be facing a loss of shares, and possibly millions of dollars, due to the widespread halt of product manufacturing and distribution.
Dan Hepler, a father from Los Angeles, owns stock in almost 20 companies and spends two to three hours a day keeping track of all his investments.
“I started investing in 1985,” said Hepler. “So, I built up my knowledge over more than 30 years. I bought my first individual stock (Travelers Insurance) in 1993.”
Hepler started out with bond and stock mutual funds, went on to owning individual funds, and now dabbles in options trading. Hepler, like many other investors, was prepared for the damage COVID-19 and mandatory quarantine would do to the market.
“I knew that the quarantine would have an effect,” Helper said. “But it wasn’t what I expected, at least not at first.”
Hepler holds around two-thirds of his investment assets in gold and silver mining stocks. This could benefit Helper immensely during a market crash, considering most investors end up selling their normal popular stocks, like in Amazon, Facebook, Tesla, etc.
“At first, everything went down at the same time – gold, bonds, and stocks all fell simultaneously,” Hepler said. “But after a couple of weeks, gold began to rise the way I had initially expected.”
Hepler knew that because the government is providing billions of dollars to assist people during the crisis, the overall worth of the US dollar would weaken and lift the price of gold.
Before the pandemic, the stock market was doing really well which made a lot of people interested in investing.
— ratetake (@ratetake) May 16, 2020
Deborah Fassel, a retired special education teacher was planning on investing but had a feeling she should wait and see if COVID-19 would affect her investments.
“The stock market was recently at an all-time high which is why I wanted to originally invest,” said Fassel. “I had a feeling the pandemic would cause the stock market to drop, but I didn’t realize how fast it would actually happen so I’m glad I waited.”
Waiting to invest was a smart move by Fassel because a few weeks later, the stock market crashed and her investments would have been gone.
“Stocks are a good investment if you know what you are doing. It’s not a good idea to just invest off a whim”, Fassel said.
It’s important to keep an eye on the stock market before making an investment because losing a portion of your money, or even all of your money is a huge possibility.
“If I do end up investing, I would probably end up buying into Amazon because their stocks are doing extremely well despite the pandemic,” said Fassel.
An experienced investor, John Delgado, has benefitted greatly from his investments in Amazon since quarantine began.
Delgado has been working at Amazon for the past 12 years, and his loyalty to the brand surely shows; Amazon is the only company in which he is a shareholder.
“The company was doing well when I first got hired, and it’s still doing well to this day,” said Delgado. “The increase in the value of their stock has been damn near consistent over the years, so I’ll be investing with them for a long time coming.”
Delgado owns individual stock with Amazon and claims he is confident that the self-isolation regulations will only boost their stock-value more.
These veteran investors also gave some advice about what new investors can do to protect their wallets during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Avoid over-priced, over-hyped stocks (Facebook, Netflix, Google, etc.),” said Hepler. “Keep in mind: the dollar’s value is going to fall. Don’t buy bonds right now; they’re too expensive.”
During a pandemic and the slow decrease in all stock value, it is important to be smart about your investments and where your money is going. Don’t make rash or impulsive decisions and remember that this drop is only temporary.
“If you need to sell shares during this pandemic, don’t be afraid to do so,” Delgado said. “Quarantining and these social-distancing regulations will do real damage to the stock market — make good financial decisions now while you still can.”