For some, waking up to the large Tory majority this morning will be a relief, avoiding the higher taxes for both companies and the better off, and a deeply socialist agenda. Others will feel bitterly disappointed that the seemingly last chance to avoid leaving the EU has probably gone. Whatever your political hue, we are where we are. The political logjam has been unblocked. Many will simply feel relief that the interminable squabbling and stalemate in Westminster is over. Politics is increasingly an unedifying spectacle. Yet democracy – for all its critics – has again delivered something positive. We have seen a greater engagement in the tough issues we face as a nation, the freedom to go to the ballot box and cast our vote for any candidate that we wish and a high turnout of those wishing to voice their opinion. We have each made our own individual contribution to the type of country we want to live in. That is a privilege easily overlooked or taken for granted.
The future, as ever, is uncertain with heightened geopolitical tensions, Trump’s pending impeachment and the ongoing US trade war with China. Here at home, the challenges of an ageing population, the NHS and social care, negotiating a trade deal with the EU in 2020 and the risks of a potential breakup of the Union are material. Yet these are things largely beyond our control. What we can control though is how our portfolios are structured to deal with whatever is thrown at them by the markets, in response to these ‘known unknowns’ and also any ‘unknown unknowns’ as Donald Rumsfeld, the US Secretary for Defence famously stated.
“A strategy should be judged in terms of its quality and prudence before its outcome is known, not after.”
Berkin & Swedroe – Your complete guide to factor-based investing
Remember, investing well is simple, but not easy. We remind you of the core pillars of our approach:
• markets work pretty well and are hard to beat, so capturing the market return on offer using lower-cost, well-structured products makes good sense;
• spreading equity exposure broadly across markets, sectors and companies to ensure the risks we face are well-diversified will always sit at the core of a successful long-term strategy;
• balancing out the risks of equities by owning high quality bonds provides a good insurance policy against tough times in the equity markets;
• being patient (living through the short-term falls) and being disciplined (maintaining your philosophy and strategy over time) are fundamental to achieving the returns you need to fulfil your financial goals.
So, whatever happens in 2020 and beyond, try not to worry too much about markets and the uncertainty in the World. You can’t control how the markets behave but rest assured that your portfolio is as strong as it can be to deal with whatever the markets throw at it.
Try to forget about politics, the markets and your portfolio and enjoy the wonderful festive time ahead meeting up with loved ones, friends and simply being grateful that we live in a peaceful, free and affluent democracy. Many in the World are not so lucky.