How to Ride the Market Waves Like an Investing Pro
Places to go, things to invest in? Here’s the TL;DR version…
- Solid investing is built on a foundation of long-term values-based goals that are also oh-so-SMART
- Downturns, turbulence, and volatility are all normal parts of investing, and as fund managers, we plan for it
- Don’t check your investments too often; ride the wave, not the hype
- Automation is your friend — set regular (but not too regular) times to check-in and set up recurring deposits to help you reach your goals
Why investing sometimes feels like surfing
Investing in the financial markets can sometimes feel a little like surfing the wild seas—unpredictable, powerful, and so much happening below the surface.
Both investing and surfing are about showing up, weighing up risk and reward, and knowing how to keep a cool head when things are crashing around you. It’s about spending time in the market — or in the water as the case may be — and not trying to catch every wave, but instead staying grounded in your ‘why’, with your eyes fixed on the prize: building wealth and long-term financial freedom.
As a newbie, it can be easy to feel a little kooky and out of your depth. And even for those more experienced, surfing the market waves can feel like a rough ride at times.
While you might prefer to leave it to the experts, there are a few important things to bear in mind that can help you navigate the high seas of investing. Here are three big ones courtesy of the Verve Money team and our more than 30 years of investing experience on riding the waves (not the hype) like a seasoned investing pro.
Volatility is normal, and we plan for it
Much like the waves, investing is virtually never linear. Share prices, in particular, are bobbing up and down every minute, every hour, every day. So, let’s get this on the record straight outta the gate: ebb and flow is not just what the market does, it’s what the market is. Downturns, turbulence, and volatility are all part and parcel of investing. While that might seem a little scary, you can take comfort in knowing that not only is it completely normal and expected, but we actually design our investment options accordingly through strategies like diversification.
If you’re new to investing, a good indicator of market flux is when you log into your investment account and you see a big drop or a big spike in value. So why does this happen?
First of all, how long have you got? Because there are any number of reasons why markets fluctuate. But typically, financial markets respond to major economic and political events — from whispers of a recession to drops in consumer confidence and even health outbreaks or a pandemic. Sometimes all it takes is a sensationalist news headline that mentions the word ‘crash,’ ‘crisis,’ or ‘inflation’ and the proverbial bubble can start to burst.
So, how can we learn to navigate investing waters with a sense of calm and equanimity? How can we harness the power of long-term goal setting to build wealth over time? And what do we need to keep in mind when those around us are losing theirs?
1. Always come back to your ‘why’
We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: a goal without a plan is just a wish. And just because we *wish* we were all Stephanie Gilmore riding an actual wave like a pro, or Beyoncé impacting the economy of entire countries — unfortunately, wishing doesn’t make it so. We need a plan.
At Verve Money, the first thing we encourage investors to do when they sign up is set a goal. And not just any goal. A goal that’s connected to a broader purpose — whether that’s building long-term wealth and freedom, buying a home, starting a family, or retiring early. A goal that has an *actual* dollar figure attached to it, and a goal that has a time horizon.
Setting tangible and measurable goals is a critical part of the investing process. And much like putting on sunscreen when you hit the waves, it’s one that you skip at your own peril.
Knowing where you’re going, and how you’re gonna get there, is key to not only holding yourself accountable but it helps you keep your eye on the prize when waters get choppy. Particularly for those taking a long-term view of investing, the ability to zoom out and see market volatility for what it is — temporary and expected — allows you to put dips and dives into perspective, and ride the wave out the other side.
2. Ride the wave, not the hype
Every time you log onto your Verve Money app, you are taking a proactive role in building your wealth. And we love to see it, because we want to see more people with access to ethical wealth building so we can close the investing gap once and for all.
That said, unless you’re a professional stockbroker, day trader or investment banker, it’s usually best not to check your balance too regularly. Why? Well, for a few reasons.
The very act of in-vest-ing means allocating resources, often money, with the expectation of generating an income or profit in the future. Therefore, to invest, generally means you’re in it for the long haul. And if that’s the case, then a little dip here and there is nothing to sweat.
Short-term market fluctuations do not necessarily reflect the long-term potential or health of an investment, so diving in every day won’t give you an accurate picture. We call this ‘noise’ — and it can be really common to misunderstand or misinterpret market movements, second guess your investment strategy, and make rash decisions if you’re checking it too often.
Checking things obsessively can also increase your stress levels and heighten your anxiety, which frankly, no one needs more of rn. While we regularly feel a bit *emosh* about the possibilities of a world powered by ethical investing, as investors, we cannot afford to let those emotions get the better of us. And neither can you.
Remember: market fluctuations are normal, and panic selling after one or two down months is a great way to lock in your losses! Even with dips here and there, the market shows a trend on the up and up over time, which can provide some good comfort when things get a little rocky.
Another great thing to remember, even during rocky periods, it’s still possible to receive a dividend payment at the end of each financial year – another reason to consider remaining invested during short term market dips.
So just like those sun-kissed surfers paddling out into the depths of the big blue sea, it’s important to remember: ride the wave, not the hype.
3. Make automation your friend
Around here, we are big fans of the book Atomic Habits by James Clear, and particularly this quote: “You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems.” It’s the perfect way to think about investing. And yet, while we don’t recommend it for your everyday work-life, putting your investing journey on auto-pilot can be a powerful way to grow your wealth sustainably over the long term.
Setting up recurring deposits and automating regular investments allows you to skip the hassle of manually depositing money into an investment account or trying to time the stock market. As the common investment saying goes: it’s not about timing the market, but about time in the market.
What that means is that, for most individual investors, a long-term, buy-and-hold strategy tends to be more successful than trying to jump in and out of the market based on short-term predictions and gut feelings.
History shows that your chances of missing out on some of the best days can significantly affect your returns if you try to time the market. So, even though past performance is not an indicator of future performance — taking a long-term, goals-based, and sustainable approach to investing is often the most effective way to build financial wealth and freedom.
Hop on, we’re going investing
At Verve Money, we want to help you build towards financial freedom. Ready to start investing like a pro with a diversified and sustainable investment portfolio?
Sign up to Verve Money today and download our fun new app from the App Store or Google Play.
This article is published by Verve Money Pty Ltd (ABN 71 653 669 366, AFS Representative No. 001294184), a Corporate Authorised Representative of True Oak Investments Ltd (ABN 81 002 558 956; AFSL 238184), as the Manager of Verve Money. A friendly reminder that all the financial information contained in this article is general in nature and does not take into account your personal financial objectives, situation or needs. It’s important to do your own research and consider getting in touch with a professional adviser to access specific information tailored to your unique situation.
You should read the Product Disclosure Statement, Investment Guide, Target Market Determination and Financial Services Guide before making a decision to acquire, hold, or continue to hold, an interest in the Verve Money Fund. Visit www.vervemoney.com.au/documents to view these documents.
Interests in the Verve Money Fund (ARSN 662 622 899) are issued by Melbourne Securities Corporation Limited (ACN 160 326 545, AFSL 428289). When considering financial returns, return of capital is not guaranteed and past performance is not indicative of future performance.