“If you can keep your head when all about you. Are losing theirs and blaming it on you, If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you, But make allowance for their doubting too”
So we officially in a bull market, which does not make for pleasant reading for savings and investments. Markets have bad years as history has thought us. Firstly, do we know when equities will start to rise significantly again? No, we don’t. But there are some things we do know. We know that there is technical overselling (as per above). We know that negative sentiment is extreme (Bull/Bear Spread). And we know that valuations are now below ten-year averages (Global P/Es). We also know, thanks to the FT, that if you had stuck with stocks after the first 25% fall in 1970, 1974, 2001, and 2008 you would have been back in positive territory in between two and five years.
This is all very easy to note ‘ex-post’, and the price of admission to this point has been double digit declines across multi-asset funds so far this year. But the declines experienced by some investors in certain risk assets (single ‘meme’ stocks, cryptocurrencies) do not in general represent the returns experienced by those who engage with a financial advisor. Markets may have ‘changed’ in the short term, but if a client’s circumstances haven’t it is highly probable that the plan, fund choice etc, at the start of the year continues to be the right one. We also know that even in a world of rising interest rates; real returns are still negative – and are lower than they were at the start of the year. Inflation is decimating the purchasing power of money held on deposit more than any time this century. This is a crucial point for investors looking to save for the longer term. Whether for pension, child’s education, or rainy-day fund.