Post the credit crunch of 2008, the banking crisis, concerns over the Eurozone and continuing low interest rates have tested even the most unwavering investor. There is no doubt that these are some of the toughest economic conditions we have seen for many years.
Even in challenging markets there are opportunities to be found and investing in shares or bonds (fixed interest assets) over the long-term presents a greater opportunity than not investing at all, for several good reasons.
Markets have survived events such as the Great Depression of the 1930s and the recession of the early 1990s. Short-term movements in the price of stocks and shares are smoothed out over the long term, putting dramatic losses and sudden gains into perspective. Staying invested can increase the likelihood that your investment will benefit from rebounds in the market and minimise the overall impact of volatility on your potential returns.
Cash or shares?
In a volatile environment it is tempting to transfer investments to a more secure asset class such as cash, waiting to reinvest when the market settles. However, you could miss the opportunity of a market rebound. In addition, although cash retains its capital security, over the long-term it will suffer the erosional effects of inflation, especially if interest rates remain at current lows.
Negative commentary often results in investors taking flight in difficult markets, with investments being sold when the price is falling and bought when the market is rising, which can be a costly strategy. The current investment environment still presents many opportunities with many good-quality companies. We can advise you how to identify these opportunities.
Focus on your goals
A key challenge for investors is to decide which is the greater risk: potentially losing money over the short term or not achieving investment goals at all. With life expectancies increasing and retirements sometimes lasting as long as 20 or more years, planning ahead and investing for the future is becoming more and more important.
Making the right choice
With such a wide choice of funds on the market to choose from, making the right choice can be daunting, particularly as even very similar funds can deliver significantly different returns. If you want to invest but are unsure where, we always recommend you seek professional financial advice. Past performance is no guide to the future. The value of an investment can fall as well as rise, may be affected by exchange rate variations and you may get back less than you originally invested.