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How to cope with a sharp 10% fall in the FTSE 100

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A friend told me this week that hed finally decided to become an investor.

He had accumulated a decent amount of money for his familys future and often grumbled as he watched inflation steadily erode its value.

Why had it taken so long for him to invest? Quite simply, it was the fear of losing money.

Unfortunately for him, thats exactly what happened next. He invested in January at a time when the stock market had enjoyed two years of rises and was, some said, due a correction. The FTSE 100 fell more than 10 per cent from its peak within weeks of him investing.

For him, this triggered an unnerving sensation. Behavioural scientists have a name for it – “loss aversion”. This is where someone feels the pain of losing far more intensely than they feel the pleasure of gain.

Scientific studies suggest the pain can be three times more intense than the gain.

This is understandable. Evolution has hard-wired our brains to act to avoid harm – and losses.

Video explainers: The traits that may affect your investing decisions

My friend certainly felt the intensity and, perhaps, is particularly susceptible to loss aversion, which has stopped him investing earlier.

These emotions can cloud decision-making. Thats why Schroders developed a tool, the investIQ test, to let investors measure their own traits. Loss aversion, we have found, scores highly for many investors.

Once investors have identified their biases, the challenge is whether they can overcome them and just focus on the facts.

Read more: How I scored in the investIQ test – and what I learned

Read more: Three scenarios that show how quickly inflation can erode your wealth

If you look at long time-frames, the UK stock market has been a good home for your money. A notional £10,000 investment in the FTSE 100 thirty years ago would be worth nearly £129,000 today, if you reinvested all the dividend income received.

Even if you factor in the effects of inflation, the figure would be nearly £51,000 in real terms.

Of course, past performance does not offer a guide to future returns, and investing isnt for everyone. Some people prefer not to put their capital at risk, which is always the case when investing.

As for my friend, Ive urged him to take the test before he fails as an investor at the first hurdle and makes a rash decision. At least hell be aware of the emotional traits that may get in the way when hes making important decisions about his future wealth.

Important Information: The views and opinions contained herein are of those named in the article, and may not necessarily represent views expressed or reflected in other Schroders communications, strategies or funds.The sectors and securities shown above are for illustrative purposes only and are not to be considered a recommendation to buy or sell. This communication is marketing material.

This material is intended to be for information purposes only and is not intended as promotional material in any respect. The material is not intended as an offer or solicitation for the purchase or sale of any financial instrument. The material is not intended to provide and should not be relied on for accounting, legal or tax advice, or investment recommendations. Reliance should not be placed on the views and information in this document when taking individual investment and/or strategic decisions. Past performance is not a guide to future performance and may not be repeated. The value of investments and the income from them may go down as well as up and investors may not get back the amounts originally invested. All investments involve risks including the risk of possible loss of principal. Information herein is believed to be reliable but Schroders does not warrant its completeness or accuracy. Reliance should not be placed on the views and information in this document when taking individual investment and/or strategic decisions. The opinions in this document include some forecasted views. We believe we are basing our expectations and beliefs on reasonable assumptions within the bounds of what we currently know. However, there is no guarantee than any forecasts or opinions will be realised. These views and opinions may change. Issued by Schroder Investment Management Limited, 31 Gresham Street, London EC2V 7QA. Registration No. 1893220 England. Authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority.

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