Market volatility temptations: asset class deceptions

Investor mistakes usually arises during market volatility – whether the consequences of that volatility are trending up, or down. Prolonged market volatility can be, and is, unsettling for many investors – even passive investors with little or no say as to how their default (incl most superannuation) portfolio(s) are invested.

It is tempting to look at the ‘paper loss’ reflected in portfolio/ account statements and believe that there may be a better way to invest than in the selected portfolio.  The worst reaction to this belief, is to change the portfolio while it is ‘down’ – and without consideration of the effect on the strategic purpose for which it was chosen.

If you, or anybody you know, is considering withdrawing from the traditional diversified investment market (the first and most usual investor mistake in these circumstances), we strongly recommend a strategic review of the reasons for implementing such a decision – a service that our team of advisers at ContinuumFP is qualified, experienced, and ready to provide.

Two great mistakes made by investors at such times, are either

  1. to hurriedly withdraw from the traditional diversified portfolio and store their remaining wealth as Cash; or
  2. to move that wealth into a single asset, often property.

There are many reasons given by people for these adjustments to their portfolio, and they are usually sound arguments – the mistake in each case though, is usually the timing of the change.  They tend to react, rather than to act tactically with an eye on the longer-term strategy.

Whilst Cash for example, is perceived as being bulletproof from a capital preservation standpoint, it is subject to the vagaries of inflation, and for the foreseeable future, perhaps decades yet, is expected to yield very low returns.  Cash has no capacity to increase in capital value (except, one might argue, during a deep recession, or perhaps an economic depression).  And in the process of switching invested (growth) assets to Cash because they have fallen in value for the present time, the fall is locked in as a loss with little hope to be recovered.

Particularly in Australia, directly held Property is a much-loved asset in which our faith is distorted by the infrequency of reporting of the valuation of an individual property, the under-reporting of the unpleasant experiences of many investors in the asset class, and the much-touted gains by those who have been successful with such investment (usually because they held the property long enough to take advantage of ‘a cycle’ in that market).

Consequences of investor mistakes 

Over a rolling five-year cycle returns and risk profiles for shares (equities) and direct property have been very similar for the past fifty years or more: and there have been many investors who have ‘done well’ with direct property investments.  As a general observation, these have been people who have only borrowed lightly against their property (if at all); and who have recognised the need to hold adequate cash to offset unexpected (but seemingly inevitable) significant maintenance costs and to provide cash when there is an interruption to income from the property.

Our investment philosophy allows for direct property investment, but only provided it meets all of the requisite investment criteria relevant to the investor.

Avoid investor mistakes: take advice

When Continuum Financial Planners’ advisers are developing investment strategies for clients, the recommendations for the investment assets selected to target successful attainment of the financial goals and objectives take into account a number of factors, including –

The outcome of the research we undertake is provided by way of documented advice that presents:

  • benefits and pitfalls for the strategy,
  • the platform on which it is to be implemented,
  • the portfolio of investment assets recommended – and
  • (a feature of most of the portfolio strategies), diversification.

ContinuumFP advisers advise and educate

Investor mistakes are most prevalent amongst the unadvised investors and whilst the cost of advice is often given as the reason advice is not sought, the cost of these mistakes often far outweighs the cost – and certainly the value of advice.  The financial planning team at ContinuumFP are available and ready to review your strategy and your portfolio, and to set you on the path to attainment of your financial goals and objectives, strategically and confidently.

To meet with one of our team to determine your way forward, call our office (on 07 34213456), or complete the Contact Us form on our website and we will arrange an initial meeting for you to discover how we can help you avoid those costly investor mistakes.

<This article is built on an article in our June 2022 eNews – see ‘Wealth Management matters’, linked here; it is published in July 2022 and will be reviewed periodically and updated as required.>