Market volatility and your investments - what to consider

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MoneyPlus Features Team

March 14, 2022

5 mins read

Turbulence in the markets, as we've seen in response to the crisis in Ukraine, can be unnerving and make you question what's happening with your pension plans and other investments. The key is to keep calm and remember that ups and downs are a normal function of markets, and part and parcel of investing.

The recent market turbulence caused by the Russian invasion of Ukraine may be causing you some concern about the performance of your pension and other investments, particularly against the backdrop of inflation and rising energy costs.

We know this can be unsettling, especially if you’ve seen your values fall as a result of recent events. But it’s important to remember that markets move up and down (often referred to as volatility) due to major geopolitical events like this and they tend to recover over time. Do be aware, though, that past performance is not a guide to future performance.

Volatility rises

Share prices have been up and down since the start of the conflict. At the time of writing (11 March), the UK stock market, as measured by the FTSE© All-Share index, is down by around 5%.

Share prices had been volatile over recent weeks and for a number of reasons, including in the build-up to the invasion. We should remember as well that equities, or stocks and shares, are typically one of the more volatile types of investment and their value can rise or drop at times. That said, over the longer term, they can offer good growth potential.

Consider the long term

When it comes to investing over the long term (usually more than five years), markets have risen in value. Historically, investors who’ve held onto their investments during periods of market ups and downs are likely to have seen their value increase.

The value of all investments can go down as well as up and may be worth less than you paid in.

Think carefully before making any decisions

Some people may panic when they see the value of their investments fall, so speaking to the right people about your concerns can help you make the right decisions.

You may be wondering, why not get out while things are bad and just get back in when they’re better?

  • Trying to time the markets is extremely hard.
     
  • Investors who give way to panic and sell during periods of market stress often feel the pain of loss twice. First, when they lock in their losses by panic selling, and secondly when they miss out on the eventual recovery.
     
  • If you’re a long-term investor, you’ll need to get back into the market eventually and the best time for either move isn’t at all clear. Recoveries aren’t marked by an ‘all clear’ sign.

Focus on what you can control

While you can’t control how markets perform, you can control where you’re invested. Periods of volatility are a valuable reminder of the importance of diversification – which means spreading your money across different types of investments and geographical locations.

Diversifying across different investments and countries can help reduce the amount of risk you take and potentially receive more consistent returns, with fewer ups and downs. You can find out more about why diversification is an important part of investing in our guide.

Making informed decisions

Making changes to your pension plan and its investments is a big decision and could impact how much you’ll have in the future. You may want to take professional advice before making any decisions, and there will likely be a charge for this. If you don’t have a financial adviser, you can find one at unbiased.co.uk

If you have a Standard Life pension plan, you can easily check the value of your plan by logging in or registering for online services.

The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice and is based on our understanding in March 2022.

 

 

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