Aim to invest long term and just do not panic

BEFORE financial advisors can provide you with appropriate advice, it is imperative that a financial needs analysis is undertaken to fully understand your financial requirements.

BEFORE financial advisors can provide you with appropriate advice, it is imperative that a financial needs analysis is undertaken to fully understand your financial requirements.

Some of you may need income, while others could be seeking growth. As we are living so much longer, most individuals will probably need both. Once the analysis is completed, the appropriate investment strategy must be implemented.

It is important that you fully understand any investment decisions you have made. If you require income, then you want certainty and security. If its growth you're after, you need to understand the associated risks.

During a 10-year period there will be fluctuations in the market, and there will be periods that your portfolio may be down but over a long period of time, you will benefit far more on the upside than had you just left your money in interest bearing accounts.

So I question what advice have you received from your advisor over the last year?

As an on-going exercise to remind readers to preserve and, in the long term create wealth, I reviewed the advice I'd given over the last 18 months on radio, TV and in the press and thought some of these pointers were worth reiterating.

Investors with a long-term strategy need not worry.

Investors should commit to a long-term growth view and forget about what happens in the short term. Time and patience are of the essence in an investment. Stick to your long-term strategy.

Markets never go up in a straight line and can collapse with catastrophic results. We are living through some of the most turbulent market conditions of the last 80 years. Don't panic or sell but phase money into the market.

Don't try to time investments. Interest rates will be down by the end of the year and those who sold out of markets will be sorry.

When you sell, someone else sees a buying opportunity. Those who stay put will reap the benefits. Ask any successful investor.

I suggest long-term investors are not underweight in quality equities.

Long haul investors should be a little more positive. Bad news will continue on a daily basis, but markets look ahead and globally astute investors have been buying undervalued stocks.

Statistics reflect that over 60percent of retail investors sold out at the worst possible time - moving into cash.

At least 75percent of those investors are still in cash. Interest rates are 33percent lower and markets 40percent to 50percent higher. While it is unlikely that interest rates will rise in South Africa in the foreseeable future, they are more likely to start rising internationally.

Once again markets look choppy and, while I do not predict a market crash in the short term, we all know that no investment goes up in a straight line. There must be some profit taking and, accompanying it, some inherent nervousness.

My advice is to stay invested if you have a five to 10-year or longer time horizon. For new investors, I suggest phasing money into the markets over the next 4 to 6 months but at all times, stay invested and don't panic.

l The writer is a director of Bryan Hirsch Colley

X