Maintain Discipline

Stay focused on the long term

Reacting to short-term market events by making dramatic portfolio changes makes it difficult to stay on course to achieve your investment goals.

While many investors feel they have to do something during a market downturn, history shows that the disciplined, patient investor will often be the one rewarded when markets return to their upward path. As the chart below shows, major declines have generally been followed by major recoveries.

Opportunities often follow market downturns

  Return (%) Return in following year (%) Average return for next 5 years (%)
(Oil embargo)
-25.0 +18.5 +22.3
(Double-digit inflation)
-10.2 +5.5 +13.7
(Gulf war)
-14.8 +12.0 +10.8
(Tech wreck)
-12.4 +26.7 +18.3
(Financial crisis)
-33.0 +35.1 +11.9
(Eurozone debt crisis)
-8.7 +7.2 ?

Based on returns of the S&P/TSX Composite Total Return Index.

No one can precisely forecast market tops and bottoms, and trying to do so is extremely risky for two reasons:

  1. Reacting to a market decline by selling an investment guarantees a loss that otherwise only existed on paper.
  2. Being out of the market can prevent you from participating in any gains when the market bounces back.

No matter how the markets are behaving, your advisor can work with you to understand, anticipate and overcome the unique investment challenges that you will face over time.

Short retention rates and inopportune market timing can lead to significant costs for individual investors. For more information on the importance of staying invested, read our latest insight titled: The influence of investor behavior.

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