There’s no doubt that 2020 has been a wild year. And then on top of it all, the upcoming US election on 3 November has the potential to make things even more turbulent.

If the last election was any indication, we should be prepared for unpredictable outcomes and volatile markets. And while volatility in markets can open up vast opportunities, it can also bring heightened risk for investors.  So how does one navigate these uncertain conditions?

Here are seven tips to help you prepare for the risks and opportunities which could arise during this period:

  1. Revisit your investment strategies and stay focussed. An investment strategy should factor in a range of possibilities, including short term volatility, so this is the perfect time to look over your strategy and remember how you’ve planned to tackle these conditions.
  2. You might find it helpful to set up a Watchlist so you can monitor particular stocks at a glance. Log in and go to “Watchlists”.
  3. Set up alerts so that you’re notified for market sensitive announcements, price changes, or when a stock goes ex-dividend. You can do this online by logging in and navigating to “Watchlists” > “Alerts”. Or if you’re on the CommSec app, log in and go to “More” > “Alerts” (on iOS) or “Main menu” > “Alerts” (on Android).
  4. If you’re concerned about price fluctuations affecting your open orders, consider placing a limit order. This means that your order won’t execute unless a stock price moves into your target range.
  5. You may want to set up conditional orders. These allow you to set specific conditions to buy or sell shares at a certain price if a share reaches that price in the market – and we’ll aim to place your order without you having to contact us. You can find out more about Conditional Trading here. Or to set one up, log in to your account and go to “Trading” > “Conditional Orders”.
  6. Make sure your CommSec account details are up-to-date before Election Day. Increased market activity during the election may mean that wait times are longer than usual if you need to contact CommSec. So take the time now to check that your password and account details are correct. Remember to also be extra vigilant about your security and take the time to check out our tips on how to keep your account secure.
  7. If you want to trade international securities and you already have an international account, please make sure you have a valid W-8 form on file and that the account has been funded. Due to a high volume of applications and market volatility during this time, CommSec has temporarily paused accepting applications for new International Share trading accounts. 

It’s impossible to plan for every potential scenario. But when volatility looms ahead, it never hurts to generally prepare yourself and your investment portfolio for potentially bumpy market conditions. 

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