Personal Financial Planning After The Global Financial Crisis

The global financial crisis (GFC) made a lot of people question their personal financial planning strategies. This always happens after a downturn or severe market correction. The fact that the GFC was the biggest market downturn in about 70 years and the whole world was affected caused more fear and worry than usual. In addition to that, the global markets have been slow to recover. It is understandable that many people would be wondering if it they should hang on to their original strategy or should they look for alternatives.Is your strategy sound?If a financial planner, as part of a comprehensive financial plan, recommended your investment strategy, then your strategy should be sound. The recommendations would have been made after he or she completed a fact find about your situation. This would have taken into account your investment time horizon and you investor profile. Your investor profile is determined by a series of questions to find out your tolerance to investment risk. Investment risk, in this case, means short term fluctuations in the market. The recommended investment portfolio would have reflected your risk tolerance by limiting your exposure to growth assets – shares and property – whose values do fluctuate with market movements.How Long Should You Stick with an investment strategy?You should stay with the original strategy for the length of the plan. If you have a ten-year plan then you stay with that. There is no doubt, staying with an investment strategy for the medium to long-term works best. The other alternative is to try to pick the market. In other words, when the market looks like going down, you move into a safe investment until the market starts to move up. The trouble is most people get the timing wrong – by the time the market has dropped, they are usually too late and the same applies when it goes up. Even the professionals have trouble picking the market. How many picked the global financial crisis?Tough out the Tough timesThe hardest part is to have faith in your original financial planning strategy when the market is moving against you. It is well to remember that is the nature of financial markets. Both the share market and the property markets have around 5 – 7 year cycles. If you look at their history over the long-term they both make money. That is why your strategy would have been designed for a particular time frame, so that your portfolio could ride out those downturns. Generally, the only people who lose during market downturns are the ones who panic, sell the investments at a loss and put the money into a safe place. They are unlikely ever to get their money back.If you have had good advice or if you did it yourself after much research and planning, you should stick with your original personal financial planning strategy and allow the growth assets in your portfolio time to grow.

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