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Holly's Blog: Boring Money meets Gogglebox - what are YOU saying?

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Hard to know which way is up this week as we all adjust to a life of relative isolation, Facetime, Zoom video calls, closed schools, stock markets like psychotic yo-yos…. and now even the supermarkets have run out of booze! I could cope with limited loo roll but WINE!?!?!?

I even caught myself on Wednesday afternoon thinking “Thank God the FTSE is only down by 4% today.” How quickly we move to a ‘new normal’.

At times like this, I think it’s a very human reaction to want to know what other people are doing. Saying. Thinking. Whether we violently disagree, find these insights comforting or are simply mildly nosey, we’re herd animals and move in packs, as is so brutally evidenced when stampedes of fear hurtle across the markets. In last week’s blog we asked you to share your views on the markets and how you were responding to this uncertainty. So – in this week’s Boring Money Gogglebox – here’s a range of views from 600+ British investors, captured last weekend and on Monday.

 

Over half of you are expecting further falls of at least 5% in the FTSE …..

  • 41% of you thought we’d see further falls of 5% - 15% in the next three months ; 10% of you feared falls of more than 15% (as I write today the FTSE 100 is pretty much where it was on Monday morning)
  • 36% of you thought things would stay in a 5% range

…..But you are more likely to see this as a buying opportunity than a time to sell

  • 54% of you see this as a long-term buying opportunity
  • Only 2% are planning to sell but also 7% of you are frank about not really knowing what to do


Thinking about your investments, which of these bests describes your plans for the next 3 months? Please select all that apply.

Our older readers are the calmest

It struck me at how much calmer the 65+ readers were about this financial situation than the younger readers. There’s a sense that this is not new and that we have seen similar things before (from a financial perspective).
One of our more Victor Meldrew-y readers said:

“At coming up 75 I have seen it all before, there does seem to be a lack of stalwarts about and the younger folk do not seem to have the backbone any longer; at the end of the day it is another case of the flu. What happened to Mad Cow disease, I thought we were all going to die of that, then Foot and Mouth disease where we were burning animal carcass at the side of the road”.

Another reader, one of our eldest, told me that he got through the War and “we didn’t even have Netflix then!”.

 

Here are some unedited comments from The Sanguine...

“This has been seen before, markets are cyclical, I’m in it for the long term.”


“There are some INCREDIBLE bargains to be had. Stocks that less than a month ago I was itching to buy, in some cases are now 30-40% cheaper. Shell RDSB is trading at just over ten quid. Unilever. Aviva. Legal & General. Microsoft. American Express. Essilor Luxottica. The list goes on”.


“I know I'm in the Keep Calm and Carry On brigade. Not an ostrich but at the moment there is a considerable dramatic emphasis being placed on the news. I am hopeful that the hysteria will die down - before we do - and the WWII attitude will prevail. Might teach the kids a thing or two about social conscience. Also, as long as there is enough wine in the fridge - I'll manage”.

“I know past performance is not an indication of future performance, but historically when the stock market has performed badly it has recovered eventually. It will be interesting to see if ethical/socially responsible companies weather the unpredictability better. Also, there could be a shift in traditional stock market solid companies if we are forced to lockdown and all work from home for a prolonged period.”


“We have seen it before in 2008, and I know it recovered then, but I'm still uncomfortable about it. We do have cash reserves to live on but hope it's not too long before we can reasonably start taking flexible drawdown again.”
“Not overly worried because we have been here before on so many occasions over the last 50 years when I first invested every spare penny, apart from my pocket money.”


“I've not seen this before, 1987 was before I had any money. I'm deffo concerned, but have a range of funds with different risk profiles, some of which are holding up well. As of today I'm 12% down on this years high water mark, but exactly the same as the value 12 months and 24 months ago, so I feel that I’ve only given back the gains, not the capital.”


“Been through this before in the tech stocks bubble when I had only just started investing and that was quite upsetting at the time. Now the amounts are larger and more is depending on the invested funds in the coming years so it is stressful but when we invest we tell ourselves it's to ride the peaks and troughs and gamble to come out overall better. Just need to distract myself by pulling weeds out energetically and drink more wine.”

 

And those who are more anxious but putting a brave face on it

“How do we feel? We're a bit of everything. We have seen it before, but haven't been in the same position i.e. we were working and it would get better. So, yes we have seen it before but we are a bit worried, however, looking at some figures from last year, looks like we have 'only' lost 7% in a year, it's because the high was so high a few weeks ago, that it looks so bad on paper”.

“I could easily say I'm freaking out and have no idea what to do however I'm pulling up my big girl knickers and trying to stay calm and act like I'm excited about this unique opportunity that's been presented to me!”

“I’m very anxious. For me, there is a difference between between sound long term planning and emotional short term reaction. So, what I am going to do is more yoga. If I had lots of spare cash I’d be buying, but, if I’ve got this completely wrong (which I do daily) I’m keeping it based on cash is king mentality”.


And of course many of you fall into The Worried camp

“Not seen anything like this before.”


“Being in my 60s, I am a little worried. Once the market comes back up, I need to take a hard look at where my money is.”


“Initially I thought it would represent a buying opportunity but it’s spreading like wildfire and it has brought Italy to its knees! I never thought it would be this bad - I'm expecting UK to be in lockdown very soon.”
“I wasn't alive last time it happened this way, but I do know it did. I've been waiting for markets to fall but didn't expect it to be this bad. I'm worried about all sorts of things but nothing I can do anything about. If it gets really bad (4 meals from anarchy) I suppose losing the money will hurt but it won’t be the priority any more....”

 

And finally The Practical

“My wife has funds - not in an ISA - and we have decided that she should ISA them to use them up. I'd rather have an ISA account than a combination of ISA and GIA [general investment account]. As she is the expert her choices tend to perform better than mine (regrettably!)”.

[NB This is quite a good and practical idea – Google “Bed and ISA” – can you effectively use your ISA allowance to get any investments outside of this tax shelter into a tax free pot? More on this next week].

 

Mobilising all seasoned investors!

FINALLY - if you are in the 65+ age group, in your prime, and you are a more seasoned investor who has been kicked in the **** by falling markets before, we would love to receive your articles and stories.

Maybe you’re at home going stir crazy and have time to pen some thoughts to share? We will gather these together, remove the tastier swearing and publish on our pages. Here’s what we’d like to hear from you on:

  • What would you say to a less confident, first time or younger investor who is anxious right now?
  • How are you managing if you have retired and are drawing money from a pension – or ‘in drawdown’?
  • And then please share with us the worst investing mistake you’ve ever made!


Please send your thoughts to holly@boringmoney.co.uk and if possible could you keep them to 300 words max on each topic!? We will publish these three pages from Monday next week.

This week we have been tackling your questions – we’re publishing a daily video here. Feel free to submit your questions and we’ll do our best to answer as many as we can.

Thanks everyone. I hope you all manage to have a good weekend. A big shout out to our 70+ readers who are in lockdown. Solidarity to small business owners. Sympathy and empathy to everyone home schooling from next week! And utter respect to health workers and medical staff.

Holly

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