How to cope with a 10% investment fall
How to cope with a 10% investment fall
A friend told me this week that he’d finally decided to become an investor.
He had accumulated a decent amount of money for his family’s future and often grumbled as he watched inflation steadily erode its value.
Why had it taken so long for him to invest? Quite simply, it was the fear of losing money.
Unfortunately for him, that’s exactly what happened next. He invested in January at a time when the stockmarket had enjoyed two years of rises and was, some said, due a correction. The FTSE 100 fell more than 10% from its peak within weeks of him investing.
For him, this triggered an unnerving sensation. Behavioural scientists have a name for it – “loss aversion”. This is where someone feels the pain of losing far more intensely than they feel the pleasure of gain.
Scientific studies suggest the pain can be three times more intense than the gain.
This is understandable. Evolution has hard-wired our brains to act to avoid harm – and losses.
My friend certainly felt the intensity and, perhaps, is particularly susceptible to loss aversion, which has stopped him investing earlier.
These emotions can cloud decision-making. That’s why Schroders developed a tool, the investIQ test, to let investors measure their own traits. Loss aversion, we have found, scores highly for many investors.
Video explainer: loss aversion
Once investors have identified their biases, the challenge is whether they can overcome them and just focus on the facts.
If you look at long timeframes, the UK stockmarket has been a good home for your money. A notional £10,000 investment in the FTSE 100 thirty years ago would be worth nearly £129,000 today, if you reinvested all the dividend income received. Even if you factor in the effects of inflation, the figure would be nearly £51,000 in real terms.
Of course, past performance does not offer a guide to future returns, and investing isn’t for everyone. Some people prefer not to put their capital at risk, which is always the case when investing.
As for my friend, I’ve urged him to take the test before he fails as an investor at the first hurdle and makes a rash decision. At least he’ll be aware of the emotional traits that may get in the way when he’s making important decisions about his future wealth.
Important Information: This communication is marketing material. The views and opinions contained herein are those of the author(s) on this page, and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other Schroders communications, strategies or funds. This material is intended to be for information purposes only and is not intended as promotional material in any respect. The material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. It is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. Reliance should not be placed on the views and information in this document when taking individual investment and/or strategic decisions. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future results. The value of an investment can go down as well as up and is not guaranteed. All investments involve risks including the risk of possible loss of principal. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Schroders does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. Some information quoted was obtained from external sources we consider to be reliable. No responsibility can be accepted for errors of fact obtained from third parties, and this data may change with market conditions. This does not exclude any duty or liability that Schroders has to its customers under any regulatory system. Regions/ sectors shown for illustrative purposes only and should not be viewed as a recommendation to buy/sell. The opinions in this material include some forecasted views. We believe we are basing our expectations and beliefs on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of what we currently know. However, there is no guarantee than any forecasts or opinions will be realised. These views and opinions may change. To the extent that you are in North America, this content is issued by Schroder Investment Management North America Inc., an indirect wholly owned subsidiary of Schroders plc and SEC registered adviser providing asset management products and services to clients in the US and Canada. For all other users, this content is issued by Schroder Investment Management Limited, 1 London Wall Place, London EC2Y 5AU. Registered No. 1893220 England. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.