Since we last wrote a market summary on 17th March, the UK and indeed the world, has become a different place. “Lockdown”, “furloughed”, “social distancing”, “self-isolating”, “antibody test”, “key workers” and “Nightingale” have become a firm part of our everyday vocabulary. Our future King and the Prime Minister both tested positive for COVID-19 and our Chief Medical Officer has also been in isolation after displaying symptoms. As the virus spreads, it’s clear that we’re all equal. This virus does not discriminate between background, religion, vocation, political affiliation, or net worth.
These are undoubtedly challenging times and according to the medical experts, the peak is still yet to come. We are in the midst of a health crisis, which many have likened to a war. The difference is that this is a health war, with every country in the world united in an effort to beat the same enemy. These are scary times, but it is important to remember that we’re all in this together.
Credit: Charles Mackesy
In terms of the stock market, everything we said in our previous correspondence absolutely still stands. Through this health war, people will suffer, be it losing a loved one, facing a business closure, a loss of earnings or some other kind of major disruption to their lives. From a financial perspective, our order of concern should remain:
Will I have enough money to see me and my family through and will my business/job/career survive? What Immediate actions do I need to take?
Your investments/pensions etc. These are invested in a portfolio aligned to your medium to long-term goals, so if you have no reason to sell for personal liquidity reasons, the action to take is to ‘do nothing’.
The country’s economy usually reacts later than the stock market, but it is clear now that a recession is a real possibility. Remember that recessions are part of the economic cycle, and whilst painful, are expected.
The investment decisions you make now will have an impact on your future. Looking at the price of the stockmarket or your investments day by day will fill you with anxiety. The less you look, the better you’ll do, but most importantly, the better you’ll feel. If you’re looking daily, you increase the chance of making a bad decision.
A useful analogy is to think about your home. You haven’t checked the price of that day by day, because you can’t. However, assuming you’re not selling your house, the price is irrelevant, you still own the same number of bricks.
The same is true with your investments/pension. Put simplistically, the prices have changed but you still own the same number of units/shares within your investment (granted, some fees are covered by selling units). When things change for the better, the prices will change for the better too. As we mentioned last time, we don’t know when this will be, but patience is key.
Studying previous global stock market crashes, it is a recurring theme that when the story, noise and media attention are at their peak, things are usually about to change. The below chart shows the performance of America’s S&P 500 index, but the principal remains the same:
As always, past performance is no guarantee of what will happen in the future, but in uncertain times, it is useful to remind ourselves that we have experienced a number of market crashes over the years and on each occasion, although it has taken varying lengths of time, markets have recovered.
Please remember that we are here to help and are more than happy to talk through any aspect of your finances with you; that’s what we’re here for.
If you are worried about family or friends who don’t have an Adviser or aren’t getting the support they need, please feel free to pass on this email and give them our contact details. Some clients have already asked us to contact their friends/family and we want to help as many people as possible to make wise financial decisions and avoid mistakes that can have consequences for years to come.
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Alastair, Chris, Craig and the Money Matters team
Alastair Raine Chris Woodhams Craig Honeyman
CeMAP, DipFA BA (Econ) DipPFS, Certs (SMP & ER)
Director Director Financial Consultant
If it matters to you, it matters to us!