As the country prepares for a new administration, you may be wondering: What will the election results mean for my money? And for the stock market?
While it’s difficult to make specific predictions, here’s what experts think is likely to happen in the days and months ahead—and how that could affect you.
In the short-term, expect big market swings as Wall Street digests news it wasn’t expecting. Overnight, the Dow and S&P 500 index futures, which signal where the market may open, fell sharply (though stocks recovered Wednesday). Why? Simply put: Trump—a Republican businessman who has been heavily critical of President Obama’s policies—represents uncertainty. And Wall Street doesn’t like uncertainty. Plus, many on Wall Street had expected a Clinton victory, so were caught off guard.
What does that mean for you and your investments? “I don’t think this should change your [overall] investment outlook at all,” says Dave Gardner, a Colorado-based financial advisor, adding that the immediate post-election reaction is bound to be an overreaction.
Kansas-based financial advisor Desmond Henry agrees that the volatility will likely be short-lived, and advises keeping the focus on your long-term goals. That way you can ride out the dips—and maybe even benefit from them by buying stocks or funds at a discount that then increase in value over time. (Selling stocks reactively when the market drops, on the other hand, can lock in losses.) Sometimes the best advice for investors “is the advice to do nothing,” says Henry.
That said, experts say Trump’s election could affect your wallet in other ways.
Trump talked a lot about lowering taxes and consolidating tax brackets from seven to three. If he’s able to get his tax proposals passed, analysts say the three-bracket system would mean lower taxes for the country’s highest earners—those making more than $413,350 a year—as well as those making around $100,000, who would see their tax rate drop from 28 to 25 percent, and those earning between $9,275 to $37,449.99, who would see their rates drop from 15 to 12 percent.
Student Loan Debt
While he hasn’t released a detailed plan on how he plans to tackle rising student debt, he pledges on his website to “work with Congress on reforms to ensure universities are making a good faith effort to reduce the cost of college and student debt in exchange for federal tax breaks and tax dollars.”
Wages and Work Benefits
Trump has said he supports six weeks of paid family leave to be funded by eliminating unemployment insurance fraud.
He has also indicated he supports raising the minimum wage to $10—below the $12 proposed by Hillary Clinton, but enough to help some minimum-wage workers.
Perhaps the most significant financial aspect of Trump’s election is the possibility that Obamacare may be repealed and replaced. Other than allowing consumers in one state to buy policies from other states, Trump’s Obamacare replacement strategy is unclear. It’s safe to assume, though, that it might include elements of the Republican Party replacement announced in June. That plan includes expanded use of health savings accounts and does away with coverage mandates and penalties.
So, What Should You Do Now?
Take a deep breath. While markets may be volatile in the short term, advisors recommend staying focused on your longer term financial strategy and goals—and not paying too much attention to the day-to-day movements in the weeks to come.
Businesses and markets will adjust to whoever is in office, says Joe Heider, founder of Cirrus Wealth Management in Cleveland, who cautions against becoming “overly reactive to short-term events.”
“With investing,” he says, “you should have a long-term view.”