Why it pays to keep a level investment head, come what May

Emma-Lou Montgomery

Emma-Lou Montgomery - Fidelity Personal Investing

It is former Labour Prime Minister Harold Wilson who allegedly said a week is a long time in politics. And that’s something that Prime Minister Theresa May will no doubt attest to. With her leadership in the balance ahead of a vote of no confidence later this evening, this lady may not be for turning, much like her predecessor Margaret Thatcher wasn’t either, but she (as Lady Thatcher also found before her) may ultimately have no choice in the matter.

Of course, it isn’t over until it’s over and we won’t know the outcome of the vote until at least 9pm tonight. But in times of great uncertainty, as we are in now, it’s all too easy to let short-term issues dominate. To an extent they have to, because they have to be left to play out. But Mrs May is in the thick of it and while resolutely sticking to her pledge to remain strong and stable, she very much voices the sentiment that will keep us, as investors, afloat in these dramatically uncertain times.

The king is dead, long live the king

We already know that prime ministers come and go, indeed world leaders change and economic and political decisions change with them. We are in a constant state of flux at any one time. But just as they used to say “today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper” so too will today’s econo-political gyrations all become yesterday’s news, one day, if not tomorrow.

What we have to remember and remain level-headed about is that what doesn’t tend to change quite so frequently, or as radically (except in exceptional circumstances, namely death, debt and divorce) is our investment goals, hopes and ambitions.

Personal decisions are rarely determined by one singular political shift. So while there may, or may not be people putting off buying a house while Brexit uncertainty prevails and there might well be those who wait to book Summer 2019’s fortnight in the Costas until they know how Brexit has played out, people still get married, still have babies and still retire, and so on, whatever’s going on in Westminster, Brussels or beyond.

There’s no reason to lose all confidence in your own investment goals or decisions. You might want to ensure you’re fully-diversified, but that’s sensible at any time. You should also resist the urge to tinker, but again that’s a strategy best-adopted at all times too.

What events like these highlight more prominently is how difficult it can be to keep up with twists and turns and respond accordingly. It is at times like these that putting your money into the hands of professional fund managers can give you the reassurance - and the resolve - you might need to stay invested. With an eye on the markets, insight that you probably don’t have and their wealth of knowledge and experience, they are best-placed to make investment decisions that will pay off for you in the longer-term.

Our Select 50 list of preferred funds spans the globe, giving you access to a world of opportunity, across different geographies, sectors and asset classes. While our Select 50 Balanced Fund, managed by the highly-experienced Ayesha Akbar, goes one step further and takes all the choices and decisions out of your hands and places them into those whose job it is to make your money grow.

A week is a long time in politics. Even 24 hours can bring about radical changes, but as investors we know the short-term is not our friend. Strong and stable is the way to win - certainly in investing, if not always in politics.

Important information

The value of investments and the income from them can go down as well as up, so you may not get back what you invest. The Select 50 is not a recommendation to buy or sell a fund. This information does not constitute investment advice and should not be used as the basis for any investment decision nor should it be treated as a recommendation for any investment. Investors should also note that the views expressed may no longer be current and may have already been acted upon by Fidelity. Fidelity Personal Investing does not give personal recommendations. If you are unsure about the suitability of an investment, you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.