Irish Life is here to answer your questions
This is clearly a worrying time for you so Irish Life wants you to know that we are here to answer any questions you may have. We want to help you understand the impact this is having on your investments, as we understand how important your money invested with us is to you.
Uncertainty on the potential impact of the Coronavirus has caused significant market swings since the start of the year. We understand that this kind of market volatility is unsettling and that you might be feeling uneasy about your pension and investments. We want to help by answering some of the most common questions we hear from our customers.
Investment Market Related Questions
- Should I cash in my investment or move to a low risk fund?
It is never nice to see values fall and headlines on market drops can be startling. We know that when it comes to investing, uncertainty is uncomfortable for most people and it can be all too easy to get caught up in news headlines. Equity market highs and lows can often prompt short term emotional decision making and actions to move out of investments when perhaps the right thing to do is nothing.
While we are in uncertain times they are not unprecedented. We know from past experience that markets can recover after shocks. We can see from the period below that staying invested delivered stronger returns for longer term investors despite the many temptations to sell. Equity markets will experience short term ups and downs. Past experience has shown more ups than downs and it is generally recommended to stay invested to benefit from any market recovery.
- How long will it take for markets to recover?
No one can predict when we will reach the bottom of the current cycle, or when we will start to see any recovery. During times of economic uncertainty it is important to remember that the principles of long-term investing remain unchanged and in particular that short-term falls do not necessarily impact long-term goals. You can listen to more detailed analysis on market moves and expectation of recovery here and here.
- I am concerned about my investments, what should I do?
It is very understandable to be concerned in the current climate, particularly as we face financial challenges in addition to the many personal challenges with current restrictions. If you are concerned about your finances we recommend speaking to a financial adviser. A financial adviser can give an objective view of your financial position, enabling you to plan for future life events instead of reacting to them. This will make you less vulnerable to short-term crises and less likely to be sucked in by news headlines and hype. With a neutral, informed voice at the other end of the conversation, you’ll be reminded there’s a tailored plan in place, allowing you to remain focused, resist the temptation to take unnecessary steps and make better financial decisions generally. Read more about expert financial advice.
- Is now a good time to invest?
Trying to time the markets with any certainty is an impossible task. The great Warren Buffet’s guidance was to “Be fearful when others are being greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful.” But when it comes to investing, the most important consideration should be that you are comfortable with the fact that you’re committing your money longer-term, because nothing will help your investment more than room to grow.
If you are considering investing you can read more in our article "Is now a good time to invest?". We recommend getting expert financial advice before making any investment decisions. You can read more about a financial advice process here.
- My investments haven’t fallen by as much as I expected, why is this?
Most of our pension and investment customers at Irish Life are invested in managed, or multi asset funds that have a diversified range of investments. This means that investments are spread across a range of asset classes like equities, bonds, property etc. Each of these asset classes will react in different ways to market events. Multi asset funds are therefore less exposed to large changes in, for example, equity markets alone, so they deliver a smoother investment journey over time. The diversification of a multi-asset fund helps with timing too, removing the impossible task for individuals of trying to guess which way the market will go and when. Multi asset funds can still fall in value, but their diversification can help investors ride out peaks and troughs with more shelter.
Our multi asset funds are managed by expert investment managers. Read more about "What our fund managers do".
- Understand the difference between the “markets” headlines and your investment
Headlines talking about markets dropping in value can be very distressing, but it’s important to remember that the vast majority of our customers are invested in mixed funds (or multi asset portfolios) that look to spread risk across a range of different asset types (cash, shares, property, government bonds etc.).
- When considering “what should I do now?”
Unless you need to cash out your investment for the specific reason you originally started the plan (e.g. for retirement or a future event), and because past experience has shown that markets do recover over the long term, it is generally recommended to stay invested. However, if you are worried that your investment is now too high risk, or you will need to access your funds soon, we can discuss your options with you. See details of ways to contact Irish Life below.
- Please talk to us or your financial adviser
Of course everyone’s situation is different and that is why we are encouraging all of our concerned investment customers to talk to their financial adviser BEFORE making any decision about cashing in or switching from their current funds. If you don’t know, or can’t recall, who advised you when you took out your plan, please contact us on 01 7041010 and we will put you in contact with the person you should speak with. Your adviser can then guide you on your next steps including options for lower risk funds.
Irish Life Assurance plc is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.
None of this information should take the place of medical advice or official guidance/direction issued by public health authorities or Government.