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At last, good news

TrevorKeidan.gif
TrevorKeidan.gif

Stress tests offer relief, but full recovery could still be some way off for many investors.

Optimism appears to be returning to Wall Street following the release of some long-awaited key US data.

The data - which involved US banks as well as the country's unemployment figures - sparked a rally in US stocks. 

Investors were pleased that the much-touted bank stress tests did not throw up any major surprises.

Perhaps it was this newfound positive sentiment - and possible anticipation of things to come - that sparked some interest from one of my clients in his personal portfolio.

"Have my investments lost money?"  The client in question asked.

"Only if you need the money now," I replied.

As it happens, this particular client's investment portfolio was down by about 30 percent since he started investing just over two years ago. His pension scheme - which he was paying in to monthly - was also down by a similar amount.  

"Remember our goals," I continued. "You are in it for the long term and your investments are for your retirement."

The client in question is 45 years old, and he had planned to access his funds and investments at 60 or 65. The worst of his individual lump sum investments was down by 55 percent while the best performer had declined by 9 percent.

In addition to his lump sum investments the client is also making regular contributions to a pension scheme. This was also down by about 33 percent. The scheme is due to mature in 2015.

"What do you think my investments will be worth in 5 or 6 years time?" the client asked.

"In your time horizon I would expect growth to be target or even better due to the severity of the correction and don't forget unit cost averaging." I replied. "A lot depends on this much talked about recovery."

Warren Buffett was reported to have told CNBC last week that the economy, "the economic Pearl Harbor" he had described earlier in the year has passed, but the "war isn't over".     

And it certainly isn't. Take a look at the United Kingdom's latest budget which was announced last month to realise the seriousness of the UK economy and the global financial crisis in general.

The UK's Chancellor of the Exchequer Alistair Darling announced that the UK will borrow a record £175 billion ($260 billion) over the next two years. Total government debt will double to 79 percent of GDP by 2013.

So, what advice did I give my inquisitive client? Amidst all this economic uncertainty, I told him to keep up with his monthly contributions which would allow him to buy units at cheap rates that he would benefit from when cashing in the fund in 2015 or later.

By investing a set amount each month he would be able to take advantage of market fluctuations.

I also told him to avoid cashing in any of his other investments right now to give them a chance to recover - it is just a matter of time.

Trevor Keidan is managing director of Infinity Financial Solutions. Should you wish to contact Trevor send an email to tkeidan@infinsolutions.com.

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