As you progress through your career, you can typically expect your wealth to increase over time. The savings and investments you build up, perhaps alongside a few salary increases along the way, can help you to accumulate wealth throughout the course of your working life.
However, there’s a perception that growing your wealth during this stage inherently increases your financial security. Yet actually, just because you have more wealth, it doesn’t necessarily mean you are any less financially vulnerable than before.
That’s because, regardless of how much wealth you have, there are certain elements outside of your control that can still affect you and leave you financially vulnerable.
Read on to discover why, and what you can do to help improve your financial security, no matter where you are in your career.
You are just as prone to market fluctuations and downturns
When it comes to market fluctuations and downturns, you are just as exposed to these as anyone else, even if you are a high net worth individual.
In 2020 when the UK government announced a lockdown to slow the spread of Covid-19, the stock market reacted strongly.
As the Guardian reported at the time, the FTSE 100 – an index of the largest 100 UK companies by market capitalisation – fell by 25% in the three months to the end of March. This marked the biggest quarterly contraction in London-listed shares since the Black Monday crisis in October 1987.
When events like this occur, you are arguably just as vulnerable as anyone else. That’s because, while you may have accumulated wealth over time and have more than you did previously, you still have no control over how market fluctuations and downturns will affect your personal holdings.
A 25% fall is a 25% fall, no matter how much you have, and could have seriously disrupted your progress towards your goals.
For example, had you been on the cusp of retiring, seeing your pension fund fall by that amount could have forced you to re-evaluate how much income you would have had once you stopped working.
In a case like this, having more wealth might not have necessarily protected you from market volatility.
How to protect yourself against market fluctuations and downturns
First and foremost, it’s important to remember to stay calm in the face of such events. Typically, stock markets will stabilise over time, so doing nothing in the face of volatility and waiting for a recovery can often be the most sensible course of action.
That said, a practical step you can take to protect yourself in moments like these could be to hold an emergency fund of cash that you can draw on if you ever need to.
For example, when the FTSE 100 fell in value in 2020, being able to draw on cash and leave your assets invested may have prevented you from turning a paper loss into a real one.
Crucially, though, it’s worth thinking about this emergency fund in terms of your expenses, rather than as a fixed figure. This can help to ensure that is of a sufficient size over time.
Most estimates suggest having around three to six months’ worth of your regular expenses, so you could live on these funds entirely for a period – such as if the market temporarily reduced the value of your invested wealth.
Unexpected events can still have a serious impact on your finances
Aside from fluctuations in investment values, there are many other unexpected events that can affect you and make you or your family financially vulnerable, even if you have a significant amount of wealth.
For example, although you may feel secure in your career, what would happen if you were suddenly unable to work due to illness or injury, or if you were made redundant? Would you and your family be able to continue living your current lifestyle without the regular income you have from your work?
Similarly, it’s worth asking yourself the same question if you were to be diagnosed with a critical illness, or even pass away unexpectedly.
While you might think that it’s unlikely for any of these events to ever befall you, they could have serious financial implications if they do. And, even if you are a high net worth individual, an incident like this could force you to access savings and investments you had set aside for later life.
What you can do to minimise the effect of unexpected events
To protect against unexpected events like these, a sensible choice you can make is to take out financial protection, offering a safety net in the face of certain instances.
Types of protection you may want to consider could include:
- Life insurance – offering a lump sum to your family in the event that you pass away unexpectedly.
- Income protection – paying a regular income (typically around 60-80% of your pre-tax income) if you are unable to work due to injury, illness, or redundancy.
- Critical illness cover – paying a lump sum to you and your family if you are diagnosed with a critical illness listed on the policy.
If you already have this cover, it’s also important to double-check that it’s still suitable for your needs.
After all, if you took out cover 10 years ago and your wealth has increased, the payout you can expect to receive if you make a claim on your current cover may no longer be enough to fund your obligations.
So, regularly review your protection and make sure it’s still appropriate should you or your family have to rely on it.
Get in touch
Want to find out how you can feel more financially secure? We can help at Cordiner Wealth.
Email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 0113 262 1242 to speak to us today.
This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.
The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.
Note that life insurance plans typically have no cash in value at any time and cover will cease at the end of the term. If premiums stop, then cover will lapse.