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MARKET VOLATILITY: Superannuation vs. Term Deposits

With all of the recent market volatility, plus the re-emergence of higher interest rates on offer for term deposits, one of the expected questions from investors is:

“should we flee to the safety of term deposits until the dust settles? I’ve done some research, and we can get 4.5% on 12-month term deposits which is better than the -5% we got from our superannuation in the last 12 months”.

It’s a fair question to be asking, given that in the fictitious figures quoted in our example above, you are guaranteed to achieve 4.5% return from the term deposit for the next 12 months, but not guaranteed a return from the diversified portfolio of your super.

In response to this question, we should firstly note that there is a lot of research that demonstrates why fleeing to cash or term deposits with the intent of re-entering the market is highly unlikely to improve long term returns.

And the reason is quite simple…humans are really bad at guessing the right time to buy back in.

Typically, we miss the ‘best performing days’ in any given year.

It’s also important to consider whether you would be tempted to reinvest once again in 12 months’ time if share markets had made a 20% return, or if your term deposit interest rates dropped to 2% per annum?

Being ‘tempted’ to reinvest once again is important for the same reason as being tempted to shift to term deposits in the current market.

It’s due to an investment behaviour called ‘Recency Bias’. And everyone experiences it!

Recency Bias is the unfounded conviction that recent trends will continue into the near-term future.

For example, in the question noted above, the investor is using the term deposit return as at today (being 4.5% per annum) and then using the last 12-month superannuation portfolio return of -5% as a guide of what to expect in the next 12 months from a diversified portfolio.

In reality, there is no evidence to explain why this is their expected return.

And in the truth of it is that no individual can predict what the next 12 months holds.

This is why, as financial advisers we work to ascertain a suitable level of risk in a portfolio to align with a long-term performance objective.

This not to say that term deposits cannot play a role in an investor’s portfolio to provide some stability, but if the objective is to flee to cash until the dust settles, then invest once again, you will be continually battling against investment markets which are unpredictable over short periods of time.

It is crucial to keep your objective in mind and to have faith in the process.

Generally, the goal is funding your future retirement to maintain a comfortable lifestyle, and therefore superannuation should be seen as a long-term investment. And long-term investments have more ability to overcome market volatility.

It is important to remember, when it comes to investing, it’s “time in the market, not timing the market”.

If you’d like to discuss your superannuation status and investment options don’t hesitate to contact the team of financial planning team at Hub Advisory Group on (02) 4926 8000 for an appointment.

Disclaimer: This information has been provided as general advice. We have not considered your financial circumstances, needs, or objectives. You should consider the appropriateness of the advice. You should obtain and consider the relevant Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) and seek the assistance of an authorised financial adviser before making any decision regarding any products or strategies mentioned in this communication.

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