Lessons from the lighthouse

Here’s the thing about the lighthouse – it’s focus is always offshore. At the time of writing this article, the world is still flailing under the storm of the Coronavirus and the conditions have caused us all to rethink many of the foundations in our lives that we once thought secure.

Just like the view from the lighthouse, the seas can go from calm to savage in a matter of hours, the visibility can decrease from clear to cloudy in minutes and the boats in the bay may find themselves in sudden peril.

Do they stay – or do they sail off for calmer seas?

Whilst the lighthouse is always looking out for ships, it’s purpose is to warn them that there are rocks nearby. It’s not actually there to locate ships (even though it’s a helpful vantage point), it’s up to the ships to decide whether to risk the onshore conditions, wait it out, or find a different port.

Depending on the skill of the captain and the crew, the size of the boat and the value of the cargo, they can choose how they react to the prevailing conditions. Likewise, when it comes to investing and your portfolio – you too can decide how to react to the prevailing conditions.

For some, the option is clear: go offshore.

For others – they would prefer to handle the risk of the rocks that they know are there and try to navigate them safely into harbour.

It’s not a straightforward decision. Right now, there are enormous differences in the crests and dips of the current and forecasted waves as economists look at the short, medium and long term. The IMF (International Monetary Fund) forecasts global GDP to decline nearly 5% in 2020 and rebound 5.4% in 2021.

The lighthouse is warning us that there is a lot of forecast risk here and a lot depends on political, medical and economical stability and strength returning. Some feel that the global economy will only return to 2019 levels, in 2023, but possibly later.

The speculations are that our best operational capacity for the economy will be around 90% for the next three to five years. This means that we will have to consider our investment opportunities far more prudently, and consider other avenues of generating, stimulating and sustaining income.

Offshore investment products will be a good solution for most investors during the next few years and may very well accrue a heavier weighting in their portfolio. Before you make big decisions about your investment portfolio, ensure that you’ve consulted with us and that your choices are in line with your personal financial plan.

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