While the EU Referendum occurred almost three weeks ago, it feels like a lifetime since that date. So much has happened politically, economically and in the investment world that many investors may now feel ready for a break from what has already been a busy summer.
Of course, as well as being busy, the last few weeks have been uncertain. And many investors may now feel as though the future of the stock market and, more importantly, their pensions is up in the air.
After all, the UK economy is expected to endure a challenging period and a slowdown of sorts. A recession can't be ruled out and with the Bank of England likely to ease monetary policy in some way, shape or form in the coming months, it's arguably the most difficult time to be an investor since the credit crunch.
Worst of times... or best of times?
While that may be the case, it's also one of the best times to be an investor thinking of holding stocks long term since the credit crunch. That's because periods in history such as the one we're currently experiencing have proven to be excellent times to buy. In other words, when the outlook for the economy is at its most uncertain, the best buying opportunities tend to exist as investors begin demanding wider margins of safety in order to compensate them for the increased risk.
By buying stocks with wide margins of safety, investors can not only increase their potential rewards, but also reduce overall risk. That's because buying a high quality company, one that's very likely to still be operating and highly profitable in the long run, but buying it at a lower price, reduces the amount of downside risk. Therefore the odds move in an investors' favour during uncertain periods, with risk/reward ratios being more appealing than during rosier economic times.
Furthermore, the stock market is very much a global index. So, while some listed companies are heavily dependent on the performance of the UK economy, many of them aren't. Therefore, for investors who are bearish on the UK economy, there's plenty of choice through which to improve the chances of a financially secure retirement. And with sterling weaker and set to remain so over the medium-to-long term as UK monetary policy becomes even looser, UK-listed global companies could gain a significant currency translation boost.
All of this is great news for anyone planning their retirement. And even if the stock market falls, most investors are net buyers and so lower share prices are good news. Add to this the fact that ISA subscriptions are now £20,000 per year, while the cost of buying and selling shares has plummeted thanks to the internet (which has also made company information more freely available) and the reality is that investors have probably never had it so good. Therefore, far from being doomed, your pension could benefit hugely from the present investing conditions.
But are you finding the best stocks?
Of course, finding the best stocks at the lowest prices can be challenging when work and other commitments get in the way.
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