Coping And Thriving Under Difficult Market Conditions As An Investor

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Miriam Maku Amissah
Miriam Maku Amissah Head, Client Experience – Stanbic Investment Management Services (SIMS)

Over the past few years, Ghana has come under some intense market conditions marked by volatility and uncertainty.

To a considerable extent, this has resulted in businesses and individuals finding it difficult to plan and determine the outcomes of decisions that affect their finances and general livelihoods.

Admittedly, the conditions under which we all live and operate is challenging, to say the least. For investors particularly, their trust and confidence in investments, given all that has transpired over the last few years, have waned significantly because some have not received planned cash flows from their investments as agreed, whiles others have had a haircut of some sort on amounts invested.

For some, it is not being able to have the flexibility they enjoyed in having access to their funds as and when they need it.

However, given that markets go through cycles, coping and thriving under such circumstances is crucial for long-term success. While economic downturns, in any form, pose significant obstacles, they also present unique opportunities for innovation and growth.

While coping mechanisms and strategies may differ depending on an investor’s goals and risk appetite, I will present three coping strategies that will help keep your head above water during these times and hopefully even thrive when implemented effectively.

The first is to remain calm and well-informed. Acting on hearsay and impulse under challenging times and uncertain market conditions could cost you money and peace of mind. We notice investors rush to disinvest and withdraw all their funds during challenging market conditions without understanding the implications.

Unfortunately, some crystallize losses they do not need to at that specific time. This may be understandable because our whole livelihoods sometimes depend on our investments’ proceeds. However, if we remain calm and wait it out, the market will recover, and things will return to normal over time.

Remaining calm in the face of uncertainty is a key strategy that can save you money. Beyond that, it is also critical that you keep yourself informed. It is often said that ignorance is bliss, but not when it comes to your finances.

Ignorance can cost you dearly. Being well-informed helps you ask the right questions and make informed decisions rather than emotional ones about your investment.

The second coping strategy is to have and live by a budget. Living within our means is sure only with a budget.

This may sound like an obvious strategy. However, most of us still spend beyond our means because we do not have a budget, making us spend more than we earn. It is one thing having a budget and another going by it. It is not enough to create a budget; you must follow through to succeed.

Knowing and being aware of your income flows (i.e., salary, business proceeds, interest income, etc.) and what you spend it on (expenditure and savings) are crucial to coping in an uncertain market.

This helps identify expenditures you can adjust or do away with as you navigate difficult times. The primary goal is to ensure you live within your means and not spend far more than you earn.

The last coping strategy is readjusting your money or financial goals. I recommend keeping your goals simple and timelines short during uncertain market conditions.

Whatever the goals may be, keeping them short allows you to take advantage of investment opportunities that may come up and make room for adjustments just in case things don’t turn out as you planned. Review your goals monthly and break them down into weekly or daily activities you can work towards consistently.

By all means, have your long-term goals (i.e., retirement plans) in place as your blueprint. However, when times are uncertain, break them down into shorter-term goals that can be tweaked when necessary. This also reduces your anxiety in adjusting to the current economic situation.

While discussing the coping mechanisms for the current economic conditions, we must also reflect on some opportunities that have come up due to our current circumstances.

These opportunities cut across business and investment opportunities to create and grow your wealth. You must invest in your personal growth to increase your value and worth. For instance, if you are currently employed, how are you developing new skills to move into sought-after roles to increase your self-worth?

You must also be agile enough in these times to be adaptable and innovative. Difficult market conditions often call for creative solutions, requiring you to look for opportunities to adapt your existing products or services as a business or your value proposition as an individual.

Innovation and the ability to pivot quickly can give you a competitive edge. Difficult market conditions may present investment opportunities in undervalued assets, properties, or businesses. Identify potential investment opportunities that align with your risk tolerance and long-term goals, and be sure to conduct your research and due diligence. Lastly, skill development and education are most essential in these times.

Use the downturn as an opportunity to invest in yourself. Consider acquiring new skills or expanding knowledge through training programs, online courses, or workshops. Enhancing your skill set can increase your marketability and open up new opportunities in the future.

Staying adaptable, resilient, and open to new possibilities is crucial during challenging market conditions. Keep a close eye on market trends, consumer behavior, and emerging technologies to stay ahead of the curve.

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