If you are scared you are certainly not alone. A single day FTSE 100 fall of 10.87% is enough to scare the most resilient of us.
At the moment we are all fighting against millions of years of evolution. Our brains are hardwired to look for and spot danger (and our investments falling in value certainly spells danger) and then to take immediate action. The grey matter will also tune in to anything which will support the need to take avoiding action from the perceived impending danger.
The result is that you will see Coronavirus dangers everywhere and see no end to the stock market falls.
So it is no wonder that you may be getting closer and closer to making what could well be a disastrous selling decision. If, as I expect, there are further significant stock market falls, those who do sell will be congratulating themselves and telling the rest of us how clever they have been. But that is not the end of the story because re-investing is an even more difficult decision than selling.
In my thirty plus years as a financial adviser I only had four clients who insisted on selling all their investments when they saw trouble on the horizon. When markets duly fell they were telling me how clever they were and pointing out that I should have been the one providing the selling advice. One, I remember, was particularly unpleasant.
But what happened next? As far as I am aware one never had the confidence to re-invest. If his retirement lifestyle over the past 15 years has been based on fixed interest rates he has certainly been missing out. The other three did re-invest but not until their confidence had returned, which, guess what, was when the market had returned to a level above the point at which they sold.
I don’t underestimate just how scary this is but I do just not believe that the economic fall-out from Coronavirus will be as dramatic as the stock-market is suggesting other than for the wider travel industry.
So what should you do?
- Check to make sure that you are entirely happy with the level of your cash holdings and that, on reasonable planning assumptions, you will not need to sell any investments linked to share prices for at least three years.
- Check to make sure that you do not have all your eggs in one basket. A good level of sector and geographical diversification is ideal.
- Check that you have a robust monitoring process in place. Not selling does not mean burying your head in the sand and taking no action.
- Check the level of fees and costs. If you are using a Financial Adviser total fees could be in excess of 2% per annum. That will have a huge impact on results over the medium/long term. Reducing fees could be even more important than trying to time markets.
Provided you are happy with all your answers put up a good fight and tell your brain this is no more than a very scary stock market fluctuation, and everything will work out just fine.
If you have medium/long term money lurking in Bank/Building Society accounts or even in Premium Bonds/National Savings this could be an excellent opportunity to buy some shares/funds at knockdown prices as long as you accept there may be more falls before the recovery.
If you are still worried/concerned phone or text me, Richard, on 07770 575122 and let’s see if I can help. I am not a regulated financial adviser and nothing I say should be treated as personal advice, but I do believe my previous experience as a financial adviser and current experience as an investor and investment/retirement coach could be very valuable to you.
Retirement Risk Zone
If you are in what I call “The Retirement Risk Zone“- the three years before retirement and the three years after – this is a particularly important time for you. Make the wrong decision now and it could have a major impact on your lifestyle for the rest of your life.
If you have any doubts about your ability (or your adviser’s ability) to get this right give me a ring on 07770 575122, and let’s talk about whether my guidance service and more than 30 year’s experience as a financial adviser can set and keep you on the right track.
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