Do you know what’s going to happen in the markets tomorrow?
Neither do we!
All we know is that the markets are an opportunity to invest our money in helping the economy grow, and watching our money grow with it. That’s a really simplistic view, but it helps us extract our emotional reactions from the final decisions that we make.
Should we ignore fear? Absolutely not – we should talk about it lots! That’s one of the benefits of having a financial adviser that you trust on your side. Talking things through is a great way to avoid knee-jerk reactions.
Having recently researched some articles on Investopedia and USnews – here are some emotional reactions to avoid.
1. Avoid isolating your decisions
Rather examine the potential impact that each decision could have on an entire portfolio. This applies to selling AND buying. Failure to do this can result in you investing too much in a single asset class, industry, or geographic market. It could also result in your selling off when the market is at its lowest. Remember to step back, look at the bigger picture and then make your decision.
2. Avoid looking at the immediate conditions
Don’t just ignore the potential of long-term wealth accumulation in favour of short-term losses or returns. Statistically, losses happen more frequently over a short timeframe and, as people tend to be very sensitive to losses, a behavioural phenomenon known as ‘myopic loss aversion’ occurs, which affects willingness to take short-term risks. This, in turn, results in people making emotion-based investment decisions that can have a negative effect on a portfolio.
3. Avoid blindly following the crowd
A good investment strategy is to buy low and sell high, but if you follow the masses blindly, it’s easy to end up buying high and selling low, which may have opposite results and prevent you from taking advantage of the same market opportunities. A buy-and-hold strategy is often far superior.
If you know that you can be prone to having knee-jerk reactions, you may wish to try to avoid constant information about how the market or your portfolio is performing, so that you can just focus on sticking to your long-term investment strategy. Don’t chase the news or get swept away by fear and groupthink.
4. Avoid frequent trading
Again, if you are prone to having a sometimes irrational bias towards action you need to slow things down. Moving too quickly can result in higher investment costs and an increase in making poor decisions.
If you ever have itchy feet, it can often be a good idea to wait a few days before executing a big financial decision and seek advice by organising a meeting to discuss an option.
5. Avoid investing money that you cannot afford to lose
It’s important to keep cash on the side for emergencies and opportunities. You may not feel happy having some of your money just sitting there, not earning boastful returns, but having all your money tied up in the market is a risk that’s arguably not worth taking.
To help you make healthy financial decisions, set yourself some rules, such as only contributing a percentage of your monthly income; and establish some realistic targets, such as aiming to save a certain amount of money by the end of the year. Some people can even find it helpful to limit their options by purchasing more illiquid investments to avoid the urge to simply sell or switch on a whim or when the markets aren’t performing as desired.
Many people also find delegation a handy tool. By delegating your financial decisions to a professional who you trust to manage your portfolio, you can spare yourself a lot of stress and rest assured that you will receive sound advice as to how best to execute your financial plan to achieve your goals.