The financial crisis hit many hard, but the biggest losers are those who stopped investing entirely
PUTTING off a savings plan by as little as one year can cost investors thousands of dollars. It can mean the difference between a happy and unhappy retirement.
Someone who saves US$200 per month at an average rate of return of 6 percent for 10 years can look forward to accumulating savings of $32,653. By putting off saving this monthly amount by as little as one year could cost $4,185.
While it is true that the global stock markets have suffered over the past 18 months, perhaps the biggest losers are the regular investors who have veered from their original investment plans and have stopped investing. Those who have put their investment plans on hold have lost the one commodity that they will never be able to replace - time. Remember most of us only have a certain amount of time in which to earn money and, thus, save money.
With recent rebounds some of these investors are now looking to resume where they left off. Some are also eager to try and make up for the time they might have lost sitting on the sidelines.
As ever, when it comes to financial planning there is no ‘one-size-fits-all' approach. However, there is some advice that needs to be heeded dependant on how much time one has to save and invest.
Anyone under the age of 40 can effectively return to where he or she has left off. After all it is a safe assumption that the stock market and other forms of investment will - over time - stage a recovery and return to higher levels. It is also safe to assume that anyone taking a long-term view will also benefit from compounding. There is also the added bonus that certain stocks appear undervalued right now.
Those aged 40-55 should really continue to save as much as they can reasonably afford. People in this age bracket should avoid the temptation to halt or reduce their investments based on what stock markets are doing. They should also resist the urge to change their strategy.
For those aged 55 and over the options are somewhat more complex because the time remaining to earn a wage is limited. Those whose life savings have been affected by the volatility of the markets over the past 18 months should seek the advice of a finance expert who might advise a re-balancing of the portfolio or even a low-cost annuity that pays a set amount over a period of time.
Whatever the circumstances and stage of each investment, time is the common denominator. Given enough time almost any investment portfolio can be fixed.
Those who have lost the most in this volatile market are those who have stopped investing entirely. They should immediately restart where they left off.
Trevor Keidan is managing director of Infinity Financial Solutions.
Should you wish to contact Trevor send an email to [email protected].