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Published: May 02, 2022 6 min read

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April was a bad month for the stock market.

The S&P 500, a common benchmark used to measure how stocks are doing overall, fell 8.8% in April while the Dow Jones Industrial Average declined by nearly 5%. It marks the worst monthly performance for both indexes since March 2020 when the COVID-19 pandemic hit the U.S. The Nasdaq Composite also dived 13% in April, marking the index's worst monthly performance since October 2008.

None of that means you should panic — and it certainly doesn't mean you should rush to change your investing strategy.

"Markets go up and down and investing is a long-term undertaking," says Rob Williams, managing director of financial planning, retirement income and wealth management at Charles Schwab. "This is part of the cycle of economic growth."

Still, that doesn't make the current state of the stock market any less stressful. Here's what you need to know, and how you can best prepare for the future.