Buying in the dip: What to consider when investing during an economic downturn
by James MacTavish | Senior Advisor, Investor & Industry Education, Alberta Securities Commission
You may hear the investing motto “buy the dip” being used a lot these days. This phrase refers to looking at economic downturns as lucrative investment opportunities – one that can bring you significant gains by buying investments at reduced prices. While the idea behind the motto certainly seems exciting for investors, the truth is that there are many considerations and risks to weigh before buying the dip in today’s economic climate. If you are thinking of investing during this time, consider the following beforehand to ensure you make wise decisions that meet your financial goals.
Have you considered whether the money you invest is money you can afford to lose?
Many Albertans are impacted by the economic downturn in their immediate day-to-day lives with reduced working hours, less income and even job loss. Over the long-term, this may affect current retirement accounts and future retirees’ ability to save. If you are looking to invest money with the hope of covering your bills or building back your retirement fund quickly, you could be setting yourself up for unsuitable investments and even potential fraud. Review your current financial situation against your financial plan and consider whether the money you want to invest is money you can afford to lose, should the investment not turn out as expected.
Are you in the right headspace to be investing?
Emotional investing spurred on from fear of missing out or not having enough money to meet your needs is dangerous as it can quickly expose you to unsuitable investments and fraudsters. Removing the emotional component from investing is hard, but by analyzing the investment against your risk tolerance (how willing and comfortable you are to the risk of losing your money on an investment), the risks of the investment, your financial plan and investment strategy can help you see the opportunity clearly and determine if it is right for you.
Have you considered the significant market risks?
We are living through unprecedented times. Rapid market volatility over the past few months has resulted in some of the sharpest declines and gains in the history of many stocks and indexes. While governments worldwide try to stem the impacts of COVID-19, the fact remains that no one knows what the market will look like tomorrow or over the next while. The investment world is full of speculation on when and how things will turn around. With this in mind, make sure you research the investment you are considering. Check to make sure the person selling the investment opportunity is registered to do so; investigate the validity of the product, solution or service that you are considering investing in; understand what the opportunity is offering; and, ensure you are comfortable with its risks.
Have you considered whether the investment opportunity you’re interested in is fraudulent?
When it comes to economic downturns, many fraudsters capitalize on the uncertainty, fear and financial strain that people experience to gain their trust and then to sell them false investments. Watch out for red flags. Anyone offering you an investment opportunity with the promise of significant returns with little to no risk is a major cause for concern. If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Make sure you always check the registration and disciplinary history of the individual or firm offering you the investment at CheckFirst.ca or call the Alberta Securities Commission at 1-877-355-4488.
This global economic downturn is bringing a lot of uncertainty and panic. While mottos like “buy the dip” seek to bring a positive outcome, you should never let fear or the expectations of great returns cloud the proper assessment of any investment opportunity. By taking deliberate actions with your investments, based on your risk tolerance and research, you can stay true to your financial plan and navigate the uncertainty of today’s investing market.