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Correction protection for your portfolio

Someday there will be a correction. Even if the squall of selling on Wall Street over the past few days proves to be fleeting, I can tell you with absolute certainty that stock prices will at some point move dramatically lower and your shares will do the same.

The question to be asking isn’t if a sell-off will happen but: Are you financially and emotionally prepared? In the attached clip, Jeff Kilburg of KKM Financial offers his 2 cents on how investors can stress-proof their portfolios for the coming draw down (whenever it may arrive).

“It’s been 35 months since we’ve had a 10% correction,” Kilburg tells me from the floor of the CME.  “Are we overdue? I would say so. In the pits behind me, where they trade 10 year notes (^TNX), they’re buying safe-haven trades.”

In addition to those treasuries, Kilburg sees buying in gold and his personal favorite, the volatility index, or VIX (^VIX). Kilburg says what he calls “correction protection” mitigates portfolio risk by being inversely correlated with the S&P 500 (^GSPC). In simple terms, that means owning things that move higher when stocks fall.

Kilburg freely admits to being biased, given that his firm sells volatility-based mutual funds, but he thinks getting long volatility makes sense for most investors. “Do a full scrub,” he suggests. “This is the time to really analyze and understand what’s in your portfolio.”

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Merrill Lynch is not responsible for the editorial content of this program