Why financial advice matters

Investment & Wealth Advice

Five strategies to navigate your finances through uncertainty

Bertie de Klee, Private Banker

Autumn has arrived with a bang. No sooner had summer ended than Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, was addressing the nation on national television to announce new, stricter measures to combat the spread of Covid-19.
It was a huge setback for investors who had hoped that the growing numbers of workers returning to the office and a successful ‘Eat Out to Help Out’ scheme may have signified that the worst had passed. The reality is that uncertainty is very much back on the agenda, and yet the effect of Covid-19 on the economy and businesses is not the only challenge that lies ahead.
In November the US goes to the polls to elect a president and this will likely exacerbate stock market uncertainty. Meanwhile, time is fast running out for the UK and the EU to agree a Brexit deal, and developments in recent weeks have put a potential no-deal back on the table. Earlier in September, the government published its Internal Markets Bill – designed to protect trade arrangements between the countries that make up the UK – which is proposing a new law that would directly violate the Brexit Withdrawal Agreement.
In short, there seems little respite from the headwinds, but this is when the value of financial advice comes to the fore. An experienced, professional hand will help you navigate your finances through the uncertainty and turmoil, and provide you with much-needed reassurance that your financial goals will be met.

1. Don't panic

Investors who panic and sell at the first hint of a crisis tend to lose out in the long run. Historical studies show that if you had missed out on just the 10 or 20 best individual days in the stock market over the past 20 years, your average annual return would have fallen sharply. The market’s best days also tend to come along during the same periods as its worst days. The lesson from such studies is to stay invested through turbulent markets. 

Trying to time the market is virtually impossible – it is the time in the market not the timing of the market that matters.

2. Ignore noise

Headlines at the beginning of last week screamed ‘FTSE 100 plunges on lockdown fears’, yet share prices soon stabilised despite greater restrictions to combat the spread of Covid-19 being announced. Ignore the day-to-day ups and downs of the stock market and the worrying headlines that go with it. Instead, focus on the things you can control, including the cost of investing, asset allocation (sensible diversification is also vital to riding out downturns) and having a detailed understanding of your long-term financial goals.

3. Think rationally

No one knows if stock markets will simply shrug off the latest developments or whether there is worse to come. No one knows how long the Covid-19 restrictions will be in place or whether a second national lockdown will be introduced. No one knows how Brexit will play out or whether President Trump will secure a second term in office. There is only one road to long-term returns, and this can – and very likely will – be a bumpy one. The rational response remains in place – if you can afford to take the bumps, keep travelling.

4. Stay balanced

A balanced portfolio has long been key to riding stormy markets – it is a message that has been reinforced during this year’s volatility. Indeed, you will often hear investment professionals talk about the importance of asset allocation to balance and diversify a portfolio. Asset allocation is simply the mix of the different types of assets, such as equities and bonds, that make up an investment portfolio. Over time, different assets perform differently from one another. Some assets, for example, are more volatile than others, meaning their value can change more sharply than others. The mix of assets in your portfolio will depend on your own personal circumstances, but getting the balance right is important if you want to achieve your financial goals.

5. Review and reassess

This is not the first crisis investors have faced and it will not be the last. Global economic and stock market uncertainty can be unnerving for some investors. It is important not to make any knee-jerk reactions; rather, take a step back and review your long-term strategy to ensure your financial goals remain on track. For most, any reanalysis now is unlikely to suggest a change of investment strategy – a portfolio that made sense initially should still make sense today. It doesn’t always take a global crisis for people’s financial circumstances to change, but inevitably there will be some who have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic. And this is where financial advice can help.

What we do for our clients

At Weatherbys we take a holistic view of your current assets and future spending requirements. We use this information and work with you to develop a cash flow plan that helps you to map out your fiscal requirements and demonstrate how various different scenarios might affect those needs.

However, as we all know, life does not move in a straight line and there will be occasions when your cash flow plan will need re-evaluating. If your circumstances have changed or you are at all concerned, then please do not hesitate to get in touch with your Private Banker and we will rerun your plan for you.


Important information

The information contained in this article does not constitute financial advice or a personal recommendation.  Past performance is not a guide to future performance. The value of an investment and its income can both increase and decrease and you may not get back the full amount originally invested. The value of overseas investments will be influenced by the rate of exchange.

Tax laws are subject to change and taxation will vary depending on individual circumstances.


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