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"What's going on with the market?!" Advice for dentists in a volatile financial climate

March 15, 2016
It's a fact: We're in a period of market volatility. Dentists, if you're worried about your portfolio, you're not alone. Here's some advice from Andy Upchurch, who's seen a thing or two when it comes to tricky financial climates.
Andy Upchurch, RHU, REBC, President, Continuum Financial Solutions

After 24 years as a financial advisor to the dental/medical marketplace, I’ve seen my fair share of up, down, and sideways financial markets. In market conditions like we are facing right now, I am often asked if my clients are calling with concerns each day. The answer is a resounding “no.” A balanced approach to investing as well as a thorough understanding of historical market mechanics lends itself to a calm, disciplined long-term strategy.

In the late 90s, I vividly remember a very popular TV news magazine doing a piece on a chimpanzee throwing darts at the stock listings in the Wall Street Journal. Whichever stocks the dart hit, their performance was tracked as if the stock was purchased. Not surprisingly, in that runaway bull market, most of those stocks did well. This period of time spawned the beginning of the discount, do-it-yourself brokerage accounts. Most people felt they could effectively manage their portfolios on their own with much lower “costs.”

RELATED:7 key questions dentists should ask before hiring a financial advisor

There were a few corrections along the way, but the next paradigm shift took place a short 10 years later. The precipitous market correction of 2008 was significant, and its ramifications had investors scrambling. As often happens in life, we have to re-learn things we truly already know. What investors were reminded of in this case was that it’s easy to manage life when everything is going well—but it’s much more difficult when it takes a turn for the worse. As I mentioned in the opening sentence of this piece, history tells us that the financial markets will provide up, down, and sideways markets, and it’s not necessarily the up markets you will need help navigating.

On the surface, it may seem that investors needed professional advice to avoid and/or deal with the market drop of 2008–2009. On the contrary, where they needed help was navigating the market rebound from 2009–2014. Many investors sold their positions and moved to cash in a quest for safety. This sell-off locked in losses for many investors, and their fears paralyzed them in the following years, causing them to miss another great bull market run that recaptured the previous retreat and then some for many investors!

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So, what’s happening with the market currently? It could be multiple factors. Currency concerns in China, political uncertainty domestically, and falling oil prices are some of the favorite explanations. The most important questions, though, are:

  • Are you balanced and diversified?
  • Do you have a plan?
  • Do you have a long-term time horizon (7 years or longer)?
  • Are you working with an experienced advisor?

If the answers to those questions are “yes,” then the day-to-day machinations of the market are much less important to you and the overall health of your balance sheet.

Andy Upchurch, RHU, REBC, is the President of Continuum Financial Solutions. Based in Charlotte, NC, Andy travels throughout the United States as a dental/medical specific financial advisor. Andy can be reached at (317) 701-2226 or at [email protected]. You can read more about Andy and the type of work he provides for his clients at

Disclosures: Registered Representative and Financial Advisor of Park Avenue Securities, LLC (PAS), 4201 Congress Street, Suite 295, Charlotte, NC 28209. Securities products/services and financial advisory services offered through PAS, a registered broker-dealer and investment advisor, (704) 552-8507. Financial Representative, The Guardian Life Insurance Company of America, New York, NY. PAS is an indirect, wholly owned subsidiary of Guardian. Continuum Financial Solutions is not an affiliate or subsidiary of PAS or Guardian. PAS is a member of FINRA, SIPC. Material discussed is meant for general informational purposes only and is not to be construed as tax, legal, or investment advice. Although the information has been gathered from sources believed to be reliable, please note that individual situations can vary. Therefore, the information should be relied upon only when coordinated with individual professional advice. This material contains the current opinions of the [author/presenter] but not necessarily those of Guardian or its subsidiaries and such opinions are subject to change without notice. 2016-18051 02/17