In the last article we defined investing as buying an ownership stake in companies who are profitable today and whose profits are expected to rise over time. Trading is any other form of managing your money which may or may not take into account corporate profits as part of the decision-making process.
There is a concept in biology about the ability of organisms to adapt to changes in the environment. This adaptation process increases the odds of survival for organisms under stress due to environmental changes. A similar mechanism exists in finance that allows economic organizations, otherwise known as companies, to survive and thrive in changing or shifting economic landscapes.
In the last article Sue had a capital shortfall of $400,000 in order to support her desired retirement lifestyle. This amount will vary for each individual and will be larger or smaller depending upon your income, age and ability to save money as a percentage of your earned income.
High net worth investors are now sitting back and enjoying the summer weather, breathing a sigh of relief now that they are done with their annual tax filings. The work involved in assembling all of the relevant tax information is made more complicated by the fact they often deal with several investment firms.
U.S. financial research firm, Cerulli Associates, recently found that high net worth investors had, on average, 3.7 investment advisors. Ultra-affluent investors often spread their investments across many more.
John was concerned because his 82-year old mother, Betty, was having trouble generating sufficient income to cover her cost of living with interest rates at rock bottom levels. Along with many other investors globally who have poured some $4 Trillion dollars into government bonds since the 2008 Credit Crises, she wanted to feel safe and have her money guaranteed. But the price of safety in a low interest rate world is higher than you may realize.
As with many retirement savers, it took two stock market crashes (2001, 2008) and a global financial crisis to convince Adam and Sonya that trying to 'time the market' or pick specific sectors was a costly exercise in futility. But, with the value of their RRSPs nearly halved in the 2008 crash, they also recognized that they could not afford to avoid equities if they were going to have any chance of meeting their retirement goals.
Investors are becoming increasingly exhausted trying to follow the seemingly never-ending bad global economic news. Overseas markets have put a strain on Canada even though we are more stable, economically, than most other countries in the world.
Crystal balls are in short supply resulting in increased skepticism and general feeling of Is this downturn ever going to end?' The uncertainty has investors reeling - leading them to make judgements with their portfolios that they wouldn't normally exercise.
If you are a prudent investor, then you have a financial retirement plan that will ensure you have sufficient funds for the lifestyle you envision after you stop working. What constitutes sufficient depends on your ambitions and your hobbies, and also on how long you live. People are living longer, and it's not unreasonable to think that you could live into your 90s.
During any given time period, either greed or fear drive investment prices up or down depending on the mood of the majority of investors. During 2011, various global events have continued to weigh on investor confidence as the world watches and waits for the U.S. economy to regain it's prominence as the world's primary engine of growth.
During financial crises, stock prices suffer. However, they typically recover over time.
This chart illustrate the cumulative returns of a balanced (60% stock/40% bond) portfolio after five historical financial crises. In the short term, uncertainty from such external shocks can create sudden drops in value. For example, the portfolio posted a negative return one month after the October 1987 stock-market crash. Over a longer period of time, however, returns were much more attractive, and investors who stayed the course reaped considerable rewards.