Time in the market vs timing the market

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When it comes to investing, you might have heard that time in the market is better than timing the market.

Time in the market is another way of describing long-term investing. Investors with a time horizon of at least five years (and in many cases longer) buy an asset and hold on to it. They tend to invest with a goal in mind. A good example is someone saving towards retirement which, depending on the stage of their career, could be 20 years or more in the future.

On the other hand, investors who try to time the market buy an asset when the price seems low and aim to sell it once they believe the price has peaked. That means they typically trade more frequently and hold on to their investments for a much shorter period.

Patience is a virtue

How long you are prepared to leave your money in the markets can have a significant impact on your returns.
Returns become more reliable the longer you hold your investments, especially for a period of 10 years and beyond. To put this into context if you invested £1,000 in 1998, it would have risen in value to £3,000 by the end of 2018. That works out as a compound annual growth rate of 5.65 per cent for every year invested. However, the index did not move up in a straight line each year. While annual returns were positive most years, on some occasions they were negative. But by staying in the market, you would have earned a substantial return on your investment.

If you missed the ten days when the FTSE All Share enjoyed its strongest performance your returns over the same period would be nearly 50 per cent lower. This is entirely possible if you had tried to time the market, which is notoriously difficult to predict over any time frame, even for seasoned investment professionals.

A long-term perspective
Both the auto-rebalancing Openwork Graphene portfolios and the actively-managed Omnis Managed Portfolio Service are designed to deliver returns over a period of five to ten years. At a fund level, we also ensure our managers target returns over a similar time horizon.

To find out how long-term investing can help you achieve your goals, please get in touch.

Regardless of whether you invest in the long or short term, the value of your investment and any income from it can fall as well as rise. You could get back less than you invest.

Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance and should not be relied upon.

This update reflects Omnis’ view at the time of writing (April 2019) and is subject to change.

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