8. Allow that asset prices go up and down
It’s well known that the share market goes through rough patches. The volatility seen in the share market is the price we pay for higher returns than most other asset classes over the long term. But when it comes to property there seems to be an urban myth that it never goes down in value. Of course property prices will always be smoother than share prices because it’s not traded daily and so is not subject to daily swings in sentiment. But history tells home prices do go down as well as up. Japanese property prices fell for almost two decades after the 1980s bubble years, US and some European countries’ property values fell sharply in the GFC and the Australian residential property market has seen several episodes of falls over the years and of course we are going through one right now. So the key is to allow that asset prices don’t always go up – even when the population and the economy are growing.
9. Try and see big financial events in their long-term context
Hearing that $50bn was wiped off the share market in one day sounda scary – but it tells you little about how much the market actually fell and you have only lost something if you actually sell out after the fall. Scarier was the roughly 20% fall in share markets through 2015-16 and worse still the GFC that saw roughly 50% falls. But such events happen every so often in share markets – the 1987 crash saw a 50% in a few months & Australian shares fell 59% over 1973-74. And after each the market has gone back up. So, we have seen it all before even though the details may differ. The trick is to allow for periodic sharp falls in your investment strategy and when they do happen remind yourself that we have seen it all before and the market will find a base and resume its long-term rising trend.
10. Know your risk tolerance
When embarking on investing it’s worth thinking about how you might respond if you found out that market movements had just wiped 20% off the value of your investments. If your response is likely to be: “I don’t like it, but this sometimes happens in markets and history tells me that if I stick to my strategy I will see a recovery in time” then no problem. But if your response might be: “I can’t sleep at night because of this, get me out of here” then maybe you should rethink your strategy as you will just end up selling at market bottoms and buying tops. So try and match your investment strategy to your risk tolerance.
11. Make the most of the Mum and Dad bank
The housing boom in Australia that got underway in the mid-1990s and reached fever pitch in Sydney & Melbourne last year has left housing very unaffordable for many. This contributed to a huge wealth transfer from Millennials to Baby Boomers and some Gen Xers. Hopefully the current home price correction underway will help in starting to correct that. But for Millennials in the meantime, if you can it makes sense to make the most of the “Mum and Dad bank”. There are two ways to do this. First stay at home with Mum and Dad as long as you can and use the cheap rent to get a foot hold in the property market via a property investment and then using the benefits of being able to deduct interest costs from your income to reduce your tax bill to pay down your debt as quickly as you can so that you may be able to ultimately buy something you really want. (Of course, changes to negative gearing if there is a change to a Labor Government could affect this.) Second consider leaning on your parents for help with a deposit. Just don’t tell my kids this!
12. Be wary of what you hear at parties
A year ago Bitcoin was all the rage. Even my dog was asking about it – but piling in at around $US19,000 a coin just when everyone was talking about it back then would not have been wise (its now below $US6500) even though many saw it as the best thing since sliced bread. Often when the crowd is dead set on some investment it’s best to do the opposite.
13. There is no free lunch
When it comes to borrowing & investing there is no free lunch – if something looks too good to be true (whether it’s ultra-low fees or interest rates or investment products claiming ultra-high returns & low risk) then it probably is and it’s best to stay away.
I have focussed here mainly on personal finance and investing at a very high level, as opposed to drilling into things like diversification and taking a long-term view to your investments. An earlier note entitled “Nine keys to successful investing” focussed in more detail on investing and can be found here.
If you’re ready to talk about your future and start to build a comprehensive financial plan, get in touch with one of our Financial Planners today.
Important note: While every care has been taken in the preparation of this article, AMP Capital Investors Limited (ABN 59 001 777 591, AFSL 232497) and AMP Capital Funds Management Limited (ABN 15 159 557 721, AFSL 426455) makes no representations or warranties as to the accuracy or completeness of any statement in it including, without limitation, any forecasts. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance. This article has been prepared for the purpose of providing general information, without taking account of any particular investor’s objectives, financial situation or needs. An investor should, before making any investment decisions, consider the appropriateness of the information in this article, and seek professional advice, having regard to the investor’s objectives, financial situation and needs. This article is solely for the use of the party to whom it is provided.