In fact some say we should be rejoicing in the fund and share prices available now. The Motley Fool website said in one article following the tech crash: "party like it's 1929".
The Fool's argument was that markets took years to recover following the 1929 stockmarket crash and 1973/4 crisis and bargains abounded. That's not to say that cheap always equals a good investment.
Thinking too much scares some people from investing when markets are down. If you're nervous about buying shares and funds again, the answer may be dollar cost averaging.
This investing strategy involves drip feeding the same dollar amount into shares each month regardless of what the market is doing.
When the market is low you buy more shares for your money and when it is higher you buy fewer - limiting your investing when the market is high.
In volatile times dollar cost averaging can be one of the safest ways to invest. You're not trying to time the bottom of the market - and taking the risk of investing large lump sums into a false bottom.
Other advantages include:
- It encourages regular saving
- It can overcome fear because you're not risking large amounts of money at once and
- You no longer need to try and time the market as you would with a lump sum.
Not all funds will allow you to invest small sums of money regularly. It's also important when using dollar cost averaging to check whether any upfront fees are eating into your small regular investments.
- There are arguments against dollar cost averaging, such as it's an expensive way to invest and doesn't guarantee better returns than lump sum investing. A cynic might also say it's a salesman's tool to prize away in small increments a sum he couldn't talk you out of in the first place.
Even if you believe in dollar cost averaging, it doesn't mean buying stocks willy nilly. There needs to be some stock picking or fund choosing to be done.
Finally now may be a good time to review your portfolio. The recession may have altered the balance of your investments and also outlooks for certain companies and sectors have changed dramatically in the past year.