Is Now A Good Time to Invest? Investment oppotunity written on a blackboard in chalk

Is Now A Good Time to Invest?

Adjust your investment direction and navigate investment volatility 

Is Now A Good Time to Invest?

Buy the dips – the age-old advice that has proven successful over the long term – is easier said than done when volatility returns to the market. It’s a challenge for those who want to invest but find themselves overcome by fear and unable to take action.

Over the last few years, we’ve seen volatility and market turbulence return. While this can be great news for good active investors, for the less experienced, it can cause paralysis.

Investment paralysis

Currently, there is over €160 billion sitting on deposit from Irish retail investors and savers. With interest rates for savers at all-time record lows, there is increased demand from customers for alternatives to the traditional savings account. However, the natural alternative for many investment funds has experienced a period of volatility which can stop investors from making a decision about moving their money.

Some would say they would rather leave their money on deposit until ‘the markets sort themselves out’. This seems to go against all investment logic, but from a human nature perspective, it’s completely understandable.

When to invest?

So when is the right time to invest? Unfortunately, there’s no right answer. We can try to calculate how markets will perform based on an analysis of what’s happening in the global markets, but it is difficult to give a definitive answer.

These are volatile times, with investment markets subject to large swings in return. Therefore, some investors are understandably apprehensive about dipping their toes in the market, with timing an investment a key consideration.

markets during turmoil graph

Market timing can be a big dilemma, and in general retail investors have struggled with this. They perhaps incorrectly think that it requires constant monitoring of daily events and also requires the skill to benefit from market timing. This can leave investors with the desire to become invested in markets but not when markets are high.

Of course, this should only be a concern for lump-sum investors. Regular savers and investors can benefit from the concept of ‘euro cost averaging’ so a period of market volatility can actually be seen in a positive light.

Cost averaging for lump sum investors

A phased investment strategy where you drip-feed your funds into the market over a period of time takes advantage of euro-cost averaging. This involves buying the same euro amount of a particular investment, at set intervals over a period of time. In general, more units of a fund are bought when the price is lower, and fewer units are bought at times when the price is higher.

Over time, an average price emerges, which will help reduce volatility. When markets have moved up broadly in a straight line, lump sum investing is more beneficial, and this has been the general market experience at various points in the latest cycle. However, this has not been evident over the last 12 months, and the concept of euro-cost averaging really comes into its own in markets that are falling or are experiencing volatility.

But what if lump sum investors could benefit from the concept of euro cost averaging? With an ‘auto invest’ strategy you drip feed a lump sum investment into your chosen funds over a period of six or 12 months – thus potentially benefiting from euro-cost averaging.

Behavioural investment choices

Cautious investors, from a behavioural perspective, don’t necessarily concern themselves with getting the best possible return, but more with avoiding the worst possible return. As shown in the well-established concept of loss aversion, people tend to strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains.

The peace of mind that can accompany phased investing can be a powerful tool. Investors who have a lump sum to invest are often fearful that if they invest all of it today, this could be the height of the market, and should markets fall, it may take time to recoup their original investment – hence why so many people remain invested in cash.

If markets go up for another day they feel the market is gone too high and they’ve missed their chance. If markets fall they feel it’s the start of a bear market. This fear leads to the paralysis and inertia we see with investors today and no investment decision is made.

Autoinvesting could reverse this course. Euro cost averaging can be the re-entry point for the cautious or fearful investor. This phased approach will help investors who are making their first steps off deposit, and who want to gradually get in, rather than a full dive. Ultimately, instilling this sense of investment discipline removes some of the ambiguity and uncertainty that can present whilst gaining exposure to investment markets.

Warning: Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance.
Warning: If you invest in this product you may lose some or all of the money you invest.
Warning: If you invest in this product you may lose some or all of the money you invest.
Warning: These funds may be affected by changes in currency exchange rates.