When to board the financial market’s rollercoaster
Should I invest now? - series 🤔
The “Should I invest now?” - series dives into things that many first-time investors find puzzling:
🎂 Timing: When to board the financial market’s rollercoaster
👀 Barriers: Doubts, finance nightmares and clingy savings accounts
Part 2: Timing 🎂
Learn how timing influences investing and understand how to get started, no matter which day.
In this article series you’ll learn about positive aspects of investing your money long term. We at Selma believe that everyone should be able to invest. You worked hard to get your pay, so it should also work hard for you while you hoard it, I’d say!
Last time we dove right into the topic by looking at it from the time span and compound interest side. A little refresher about the previous article: If you invest money for a long time into the stock market, you benefit by minimising the risk and maximising the outcome. There are two reasons for this:
Years of investing trump market’s short-term ups and downs
The magic of compound interest
Now, let’s talk the big question again:
Should I invest now or wait?
The short answer is… Well, yes, you should invest now.
have no significant debt
you saved up for emergencies
and you are ready to sit on this investment for some years
… do it.
As the top Google answers will tell you, in stock markets, timing is nothing, but time is everything.
When you are starting to invest for years and years, the best time is today – regardless if “today” is the end of the year, Christmas Eve, your grandma’s birthday or the day you decided to eat pancakes with apricot jam instead of Nutella.
Yes, but why invest now?
This post could have ended right there, but convince no one.
Reason & facts are one thing but then there’s a range of scary emotions usually interfere when we want to start something daunting. Statements like “the Euro is so gonna go down when the Rubel and the Franc spike” and “seasonal factors should boost markets before the end of the year due to a high chance of holiday sales” can confuse even a seasoned investor. 😅
And these things should really not influence our decisions. Let’s drill into examples in order not to get too held up by our emotional rollercoaster.
First, you need to understand why trying to find the exact right “day” to start investing should not linger on your mind for too long. Let’s put at a few things that influenced the global market into context.
- Apr 2010 – Deepwater Horizon oil tanker sunk
- May 2012 – Facebook went public
- Nov 2016 – Trump won presidential election 🥕
- Apr 2016 – Elon Musk April fool’s joke about Tesla being bankrupt
👉 In finance, an index is a measurement or a benchmark of how a certain mix of companies (or stocks) is doing.
You can't invest into an index itself. That's why there are for example ETFs (Exchange Traded Funds) that try to mirror what’s going on in an index. One example: The iShares MSCI World ETF follows the MSCI World index, representing on a bigger scale how the world market is developing.
For our example, we are using the iShares MSCI World ETF in order to approximate the MSCI World Index. It represents how a specific mix of big global companies did during the last 10 years on the stock market.
Here’s three things you should take aways from this chart
1. Markets went up 😊
Over a long time, the global market is consistently growing. Even plunges get evened out rather quickly within a couple of years.
2. No panic! 👍
“Big” happenings – heavy rumours, turmoils, even bankruptcies – they all influenced the stock market, but did not send the markets spiralling down forever.
3. It’s all about the mix
If you go for single company stocks, you bet on one or only a few companies performing very well. Your money depends on the profit of these few companies you picked – turning your investment choice very much into gambling.
Less gambling, more long-term thinking
So, how do you turn investing into stocks into a more relaxed, long-term endeavour?
Find investments which include a mix of investments.
That sounds mind-boggling, on the “Inception” level.
Hold on! It’s very simple.
Let’s take the iShares MSCI World ETF, for example.
This ETF includes companies from all around the world and is therefore said to “spread your risk globally”. This means by investing in an ETF like this one, you give your money to companies around the world (Apple, Johnson & Johnson, Netflix, Toyota, Allianz and many more).
Investing in all of these companies at once should reflect how the world market does in total. Your money would not be impacted too much if the Swiss market crashes, and is tied to the growing world market.
There are also different funds that focus on specific regions like Emerging markets (e.g. AIS Amundi MSCI Emerging Markets), sustainable companies (e.g. iShares MSCI USA SRI UCITS ETF), one country (e.g. for Switzerland: UBS ETF (CH) – SMI®) and so on.
Tips on taking the start of investing easy
Next, I’ll show you how step-wise investing and monthly saving can help you to feel even more at ease about starting investing sooner than later.
Dollar-Cost-Averaging aka investing step by step
This sounds gruesomely complicated.
Good news: It’s not! This is a well-known investment approach, where, instead of investing all at once, you buy stocks in smaller steps.
Here’s an example.
Let’s say you want to invest 9’000 CHF into the stock market.
All at once
9’000 CHF for 100 CHF per share
⤷ 90 shares
TOTAL: 90 shares
First investment, March
3’000 CHF for 100 CHF per share
⤷ 30 shares
Second investment, April
3’000 CHF for 80 CHF per share
⤷ 37,5 shares
Third investment, May
3’000 CHF for 120 CHF per share
⤷ 25 shares
TOTAL: 92,5 shares
When products are cheap, the investment sum gets you more shares – when they are expensive, you get less for the same amount. The principle, as the name hints, averages the difference.
It’s good to be aware that no investment strategy has proven to be “the one”. All techniques have their trade-offs. With Dollar-Cost-Averaging, you might miss on a very juicy opportunity. Also, the cash waiting to be invested is gathering dust. A bit of a paradox, considering the whole theme of this post. 😅
The positive thing though is that splitting investment into bits can bring you more returns. It also eases the burden of guessing whether this one day you choose to pour our savings into the market is the right day or not. Investment services like Selma, take over this thinking for you and do this in a smart way.
All at once or once a month?
Setting up a monthly investment plan is also a version of the putting the “Dollar-Cost-Averaging” principle into real life. It minimizes the risk to invest all your available money on the one day when market prices end up being really high.
Honestly, for me, it also feels safer to simply invest around 100-200 CHF a month than 2’400 CHF a year. Investing should feel right, no matter which way you choose.
Both ways make sense, and you can feel free to choose:
Investing 2’400 CHF at once in order to have it out of your bank account and get started as early as possible. ...or
Investing 200 CHF/month in order to be in control of when the money gets invested and enjoy the steady flow of a savings plan.
P.S.: Let’s talk about risk baby
Bluntly put: Any kind of investing comes with some risk. And the idea of losing money sucks. It also makes investing scary. Just remember that investing is not gambling – it’s about making conscious decisions about your income and savings.
How to be smart and “manage” your risk:
1. Check your budget 👉
Make sure you keep enough money in your bank account in order to cover your expenses. Invest only the money you could afford to lose.
2. Get many things at once
Spread your investments globally instead of betting on only one or two companies performing well. Get an investment plan that involves a broad range of investments.
3. Invest in steps
Invest monthly in order to get the best out from “Dollar-Cost-Averaging”, and mitigate the risk of buying everything for high prices.
4. Let investments brew
Avoid short-term ups and downs in value by keeping your money invested patiently over a long time horizon. “Long horizon” means at least 3 to 5 years – preferably more.
Little Selma spoiler.
Start investing in 15 minutes
As your friendly investment assistant, Selma automatically takes over decision-making when getting started with investing for you.
When you transfer a big chunk of money to Selma, we slice it up and use the Dollar-Cost-Averaging principle to invest your money at the right times.
In case you want to start investing monthly, you simply set up a standing order from your bank account and Selma takes over once the money arrives at your investment account.