After the Global Financial Crisis(GFC), a lot of people questioned their personal financial planning strategies. People often do this after a market downturn or correction, let alone after the biggest we have had in about 70 years. Anyone who has lived through other major downturns will know it will take a few years to recover investment losses. It is natural for people to wonder if their personal financial planning strategy is still the right way to go.
Is your strategy sound?
If a financial planner, as part of a comprehensive financial plan, recommended your investment strategy, then your strategy should be sound. The recommendations would have been made after he or she completed a fact find about your situation. This would have taken into account your investment time horizon and you investor profile. Your investor profile is determined by a series of questions to find out your tolerance to investment risk. In this case, investment risk refers to the exposure to short-term market fluctuations. The recommended investment portfolio would have reflected your risk tolerance by limiting your exposure to growth assets – shares and property – whose values do fluctuate with market movements.
How Long Should You Stick with an investment strategy?
You should stay with the original strategy for the length of the plan. If you have a ten-year plan then you stay with that. There is no doubt, staying with an investment strategy for the medium to long-term works best. The other alternative is to try to pick the market. This means, moving into a safe investment when the market drops and then moving back into the market when it goes up. The problem is most people cannot get the timing right – they are usually too late to get out before the market dropped or to get in before the market went up. Even the professionals have trouble picking the market. How many picked the global financial crisis?
Tough out the Tough times
The hardest part is to have faith in your original financial planning strategy when the market is moving against you. It is well to remember that is the nature of financial markets. Both the share market and the property markets have around 5 – 7 year cycles. Over the long-term, both these sectors make money. That is why your strategy would have been designed for a particular time frame, so that your portfolio could ride out those downturns. Generally, the only people who lose during market downturns are the ones who panic, sell the investments at a loss and put the money into a safe place. They are unlikely ever to get their money back. If you and your adviser worked together to form an investment strategy or if you did it yourself after doing your research, you should give the growth assets in your portfolio time to grow by staying with the origianl personal planning strategy.