Q. I’m nervous about what will happen to the stock market no matter who wins the election. What do you think will happen. I have 20 years before I retire.
— Worried American

A. You need to make sure to keep your emotions in check, especially during this passionate time before the election.

The stock market goes up and down, and unfortunately, we cannot predict the future.

You have a good amount of time before you will need to start tapping your portfolio, so you are in an excellent position to be a long-term investor in a diversified portfolio of stocks andnot worry, said Stephen Craffen of Stonegate Wealth Management in Oakland.

Craffen said over different rolling 20-year periods, the worst stock market return averaged around 2.5 percent a year — not great but at least not negative. In turn, the best averaged as much as 18 percent annually, he said.

“So for your time horizon, which is at least 20 years, the odds of you doing well in the market are quite high,” he said.

Craffen said you can increase your odds of success by being very diversified and including index funds in the following domestic categories: large-cap stocks, mid-cap stocks and small-cap stocks.

He said you should also include international stocks, but he’s sticking to the basics for this example.

“The worst mistake an investor can make is to panic during a decline and try to time the recovery,” Craffen said. “If someone does that successfully, it is more luck than skill in our experience.”

Email your questions to ask@njmoneyhelp.com.

Karin Price Mueller writes the Bamboozled column for The Star-Ledger and she’s the founder of NJMoneyHelp.com. Click here to sign up for the NJMoneyHelp.com weekly e-newsletter. Like NJMoneyHelp.com on Facebook and follow it on Twitter

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