At the start of 2021, we can all look back and be amazed at how the world has changed over the last year. Covid-19 has had, and is continuing to have, a massive impact and has caused the untimely death of many people, placed enormous stress on health care provision and changed the way we work, travel, socialise and play. ZOOM, Microsoft Teams and Facetime have become the new communication method and working from home has brought about new ways of doing business for many. The good news is that both the Pfizer and Oxford AstraZeneca vaccines are now being rolled out and the most vulnerable are being prioritised alongside our key workers and NHS. Whilst this latest lockdown is an unfortunate necessity, the vaccination programme offers a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel and we look forward with optimism that we can return to some form of normality, in as safe a way as possible, later this year.
Politically, Brexit has continued to dominate and we managed to leave the transition period with a trade deal. This month will see a new US president with Joe Biden moving into the White House (assuming that Donald Trump will move out!)
Markets do what they do when uncertainty prevails and we saw the biggest falls of recent times in March as the full impact of the first lockdown was felt. Markets then climbed in the second half of 2020 and now look to have settled back into normal trading levels.
So what about the future? Well, markets will continue to do what they do – go up and down. Interest rates are at an all-time low. Savers are being punished if they hold too much in cash. The returns on bank accounts are derisory. If inflation is at 2.5% p.a. and your savings are getting less than 1% p.a. your money is eroding.
We believe that in the short-term, cash is king. Make sure you have enough to cover the next few years. Any surplus wealth you have should be invested in areas that allow you to keep pace with inflation and offer some growth potential. People are now looking to transfer money into different areas so they can profit from the new economic climate we are living in. We know that there is a range of funds that can offer low risk to very high-risk funds and can assist you in finding the best place for your money. There will be bumps in the road but don’t panic, focus on what you can control and mitigate risks elsewhere.
Businesses will continue to fail and new ones will take their place. This is usual. However, the pace of change has quickened over the last year. We strongly believe that good companies, with sound management, low indebtedness and strong markets will continue to flourish. Rest assured that we will continue to monitor the companies and funds that we manage on your behalf and are working hard to minimise costs whilst offering support wherever we can.
Now is a time for us all to reflect, focus on the future and make sure our families are all safe and well. If this last year has taught us anything, it’s that plans change. Maybe you’ve decided to bring your retirement plans forward or are looking to try and pay off the remainder of your mortgage. If you would like one of our Advisors to review your finances, are unsure of how your portfolio is performing, or want to look at alternate ways to get a good return on your savings and pensions, please call us on 0114 235 3500 for a free initial meeting. Our office is operating as normal but we can also offer appointments by telephone or Facetime, Microsoft teams & Zoom.
You can read this month’s Westside online at https://www.rmcmedia.co.uk/magazines/westside/