How does the current volatility stack up? Will 2018 end its days with similar volatility—ups and downs on the stock market—as it did in 2008? Decidedly NO!

While we still have several weeks left in the year, there have been only two years in modern history that saw 50% of the trading days as “volatile days” – 2002 and 2008. Volatile being defined as an “up or down” day on the market of 1% or more.

On the other end of that spectrum, the return of volatility in 2018 comes off a year that witnessed the lowest amount of volatility in more than 50 years as just over 3% of the days in 2017 were +/- 1% days.

The market’s 3%+ losses on Tuesday arose with the “tweet heard around the world,” highlighting concerns over trade wars and as yield curve-recession discussions heated up. These concerns will continue to weigh on the markets.

The S&P 500 closed down more than 90 points (or -3.24%) ahead of the market closing on Wednesday (12/5) for a National Day of Mourning for former President Bush. All told there have been 56 days this year where the market has closed +/- 1%, which we define as a “volatile” day. Through the end of Tuesday, this means 24% of the days this year have been volatile, which is right at the historical average.

Incidentally, 28 out of the 56 “volatile days” in 2018 have come in October, November, and December, while February of this year experienced 12. Interestingly enough, the only year (so far) in the past seven years that saw an above average, over 24% of days with 1% market swings, number of “volatile days” was in 2015, which saw nearly 29% of the days move +/- 1%.

Are we heading back into 2007-2011, where we endured 5 years of above average ups and downs? How can you best prepare your portfolio for what most feel is more volatility to come?

Quiet the Noise: Keep a clear perspective on the “goings on.” Average volatility—NOT one person I’ve surveyed remarks that the swings are average, but these are. Market fundamentals are largely unchanged from January 2018 as reported by City National. Unchanged. This surprises most and should bring a sense of how the noise is deafening right now.

Get a Captain or Get Busy: Don’t want to be responsible for portfolio losses? Don’t understand the dynamics of a rising interest rate market environment and the metrics that drive stock and bond performance in a precarious yield curve/rising interest rate environment? Partner with an advisor, demand low fees, and monitor their performance every 6 months. OR Get busy and do your homework, if your’e a DIY’er. The water is getting chilly, and it’s time to sharpen the “go it alone” investments route.

Hone in on your vision of a Perfect Day: Your portfolio is only a fraction of your life. What do you want for your relationships in 2019? How will you give back this Holiday Season and well into the New Year? How can you invest in yourself in 2019, especially when it comes to health, education, and exploration of new places or things?

Get your Perfect Day defined and the market noise will be easier to quieten!