As you know, we use a risk profiling tool, indeed if you have been a client for some years you will know that these have evolved over time. These all tend to test how you feel about investment loss. It’s a bit like throwing a snake into someone’s lap and asking them how they feel about snakes.
In all my time as an adviser I have never met anyone that likes to see the value of their investments reduce. Yet of course they do from time to time – and time is the key word, or perhaps concept.
Investment returns come from companies providing “solutions” to society at large. This results in products and services being sold for a profit and investors in those companies share the rewards of the endeavour. Wherever you are now, take a moment to consider all the things in front of you, to your left and right, including your attire, and perhaps the medication and food you have already ingested today. It’s made, but almost none of it is made by you.
Almost all investment theory works on the assumption that whatever can reduce in value the most is more “risky”. Cash tends not to reduce in value much, except for the impact of inflation or the bank failing. Shares can alter in price dramatically in the course of a few hours. So to simplify, shares are classified as high risk and cash low risk, with Bonds (and there are numerous types) classified as a little higher risk than cash as they provide return of capital and fixed income, much like cash.
Getting the balance between how much you should hold in cash, bonds and shares will dictate your returns (we call this asset allocation). How long you invest for is also a key part of the results. Unfortunately we live in a world obsessed with the short-term and immediate, yet you will almost certainly be investing for the remainder of your life, which I hope is a rather long time.
The interactive chart below shows 1 year returns, 5, 10 and 20 year returns with increased allocation towards shares from Bonds. In this instance the chart uses purely UK data for UK shares and UK Bonds, our portfolios are actually global, but this will hopefully provide some help with long-term thinking and what “risk” really is.
Figures reflect back-tested data for the period 1926-2020. In cases where the minimum return is a positive number, the red bar still portrays the min return but with a positive percentage.
You can draw your own conclusions, using the intelligence bestowed upon you, or you can listen to the the latest ideas about what will happen in the next 12 months, I would advise and suggest taking a much longer-term approach. For the record, the UK stock market is only about 5%-7% of the world stock market, depending on the value of the pound, which is why our clients invest globally.
If you are a car driver as I know most of you are, the current price of petrol will almost certainly have caused a gulp of disbelief as you fill up your “pride and joy”. The rate of inflation may be a testing 9% or 10% (next release from the ONS is next week) but the price of fuel is rising much faster than that. Indeed, I have noticed the price at a station change within the space of a return trip to a local garden centre.
Today, 16th June 2022 unleaded petrol is around £1.87 a litre or £1.93 for diesel. In June 2020 it was £1.07 and £1.11 respectively. That’s an increase of 74% in a year. If only I could tell you that investments had fared as well, they haven’t. Markets have been very difficult lately, largely since November. Global equities are down 1.48% over 12 months and global bonds are down 12.01%. When the numbers go in opposite directions to our daily reality of the cost of living it becomes alarming.
I am not going to pretend to you that this is easy or that inflation will quickly disappear as the Bank of England appears to believe (returning to around 2.4% in 2024). We could be in for inflation that lasts rather longer than that. Sadly, we are in short supply of good politicians around the world, those that we have seem intent on destroying any sense of self-respect. The “unexpected” war in Ukraine is certainly lasting longer than most expected… which does leave me wondering, who on earth is doing this “expecting”? most of the hard-nosed realists I know do not have much faith in politicians to resolve much at all, other than their own salaries and second jobs.
THE JUBILEE, 1977 AND A 67% MARKET DECLINE
If the Jubilee parties didn’t remind you of 1977, the impending rail strikes and some of the economic data may soon help you to do so. Still, we have learned lessons from the past haven’t we! I imagine that you appreciate that I am being a little sarcastic. Sadly, you and I cannot control very much of what is going on. We can control how we respond. All the lessons of history are that successful investing means riding out the peaks and troughs of the global market cycles. Some of these are very deep and “hurt”. For some context, the average bear market since 1926 fell by -35% and lasted 18 months. Some were worse, some better (hence average). The worst fall was in June 1972, markets collapsed -67% and the bear market lasted 2 years 7 months. £100,000 in 1972 would have fallen to around £33,000 however for those that held their nerve that same £100,000 became £1,207,159 when considered over 154 months (12 years 10 months). That is amazing isn’t it… but so few investors had the patience, confidence or perhaps ability to stay the course. This is not easy, hindsight is easy, the present and an unknown future are “difficult” yet that is the reality of our daily lives. Complex, unknown and full of conflicting messages and competing media.
Today the Bank of England raised its base rate to 1.25%. Let me get ahead of the “news services” and spin this in different ways. Interest rates have increased 25% overnight. The highest for over a decade. This is true, but in the context of interest rates they are half as much as they were in November 2008 (3%). When I started the firm in 1999, rates were 5% (some 333% higher). When I started in this game, they were 10.88% and I have a very real experience of them at 14.88%.
Life changes, your plans may need updating, but your main priorities and principles are unlikely to alter at all. Do get in touch with me if you are concerned. As I may have said, investing is a long-term, a lifelong process. Remember your money should serve you, not the other way around.
You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
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