I'm 58 years old and have half of my wealth exposed to equities (the rest in cash and bonds). I have already seen a significant drop in my Superannuation. I'm reading more than a few economists are predicting this could be worse than the Great Depression, and we don't have any precedents to go by. What is stopping the markets from falling to Depression-era levels (ie 90%) and taking 25 years to recover back to its original 1929 levels? I'll be 83 and still working!
Michael from Seaforth
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Hi Michael, thanks for your question. I have no doubt many investors will be thinking about these issues like you. Given your super fund is a 50/50 split between growth assets and conservative assets, you’re far from being fully exposed to the volatility we are currently experiencing.
Over the years, we have seen many crashes and corrections in the markets, and the reasons behind the uncertainty and associated volatility are often unprecedented. We don't know why until after the event.
Concerning what lies ahead for business, markets, and the health of the global population, we all agree that tough times are ahead. But in reality, no one knows how long it will take to control coronavirus, how low markets may go, or how long they will take to recover.
One thing I've seen when chatting to clients is bad news is in abundance. We all tend to become cynical and focus primarily on how bad the virus is effecting the markets, and how low our superannuation may get. While in reality, these times of high uncertainty and negativity surrounding the global share markets, often in hindsight, provide the best buying opportunities. Usually, you won't know how cheap the markets have become until after the fact – some months and years later.
My advice to people in your situation is to consider the age and your investing timeline. At age 58, you are a 30-year investor from here. This fact allows you to ride out the volatility.
We all have three choices to make with our investments:
1. The worst option
Panic now, sell at a low point or, in other words, sell when the market is CHEAP.
2. The most common option
Hold steady, don't sell or buy, and throw investment statements in the bottom draw as time is on your side.
3. The best option
Buy while the market is cheap
When buying when the market is crashing, you will never pick the bottom of the market; therefore, we have been investing progressively. There's a saying in the markets that states you’re "catching a falling knife" when buying in these types of share markets. I believe we need to put up with a few cuts to the hand to take advantage of the value on offer.
What is most important is to seek qualified financial advice. An adviser will help you make the right decisions at the toughest times.
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