Relieve some Blue Monday money stress

Helping with some of the most common concerns about investing

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Christmas has come and gone, the New Year has started and everyone is already back to the morning commute in the dark, wintery mornings. January has often been known as a month of financial worry; Christmas shopping went way over budget, Boxing Day sales have emptied the bank, and to make matters worse, most people are paid early in December, increasing the stretch until payday even further. So it’s no surprise that January holds one of the least-liked annual events: Blue Monday.

What is Blue Monday?

Conceived in 2005 by a PR company, Blue Monday was calculated to be ‘the most depressing day of the year’ and usually lands on the third Monday of each January. At its core, the calculations are just pseudoscience, with no legitimate basis for its measurements. But despite the nonsensical mathematics, there’s still some logic behind the idea that’s pretty alarming.

The Bank of England estimates that during the Christmas period, the average household spends £800 more than in a normal month. This might seem unrealistic, but when you total up all of the gifts, decorations and food that Brits buy during the festive season, such a high number isn’t so farfetched.

Reducing investing stresses

When it comes to maintaining our wellbeing, we need to be able to recognise what's making us stressed to help us learn how to deal with it, and for some, the root of the cause can be embedded in money. According to research (conducted in May 2018 by Metro‘s Mentally Yours podcast and Toluna who surveyed 1,000 UK residents ranging in age, income, and location), more than three in four Brits feel overwhelmed by stress, especially because of their financial situation. So when it comes to your investment activities, cutting out stressors can have a positive effect on your stress levels and your bank balance. How can you cut down on the various stresses associated with investing?

Help if you haven’t invested before:

I don’t know how to get started

It’s pretty common to avoid taking an action when you don’t know what to do or how to do it. First and foremost it’s important to understand that investing in the stock market carries a degree of risk and it’s possible you could lose some or all of your money. Providing you can accept that, you then need to start considering why you’re looking to invest? For example, if you’re looking to buy a house, then a Lifetime ISA may be the most suitable product for you.

From here, you can think about your individual investments – maybe you want to invest in socially responsible companies or perhaps you want to grow your capital over time rather than invest for income. It’s important to remember not to panic and let unfamiliar terms scare you. There’s a multitude of information available across our website, written with the everyday investor in mind.

I don’t think I know enough about investing

You need to firstly familiarise yourself with investment jargon and your personal situation, as previously outlined. If you still find the idea of investing daunting, there are products available to help.

You could use Index Tracker funds, which simply replicate the performance of a stock market index and offer investors exposure to an entire index at a very low cost.

Alternatively, you may prefer to have a fund manager do the work for you, and actively managed funds have the potential to outperform trackers, but there is also a greater risk to underperforming when compared to a stock market index.

The stock market makes me nervous, what if I lose my money?

We’re always keen to see how our investments are performing and yet we regularly lose sight of the fact that our investment goal may not be for another five, ten or fifteen years in the future. Seeing that investments have gone down can be demoralising but it might only be months into a multi-year time horizon. Remember, unless you have to suddenly cash in the investments early, it’s only a paper loss; you’ve never made or lost money until you sell the investment. Don’t let negative figures weigh too heavily on your mind. You need to be able to sleep at night.

Stock markets are volatile and during periods of uncertainty, you should make market volatility your friend. Be sure not to make irrational decisions; it’s important to remember why you’re investing. Volatility actually creates buying opportunities: when markets are volatile and everyone feels nervous, it creates an opportunity for new investors to take advantage of these discounted prices.

Drip feeding into the market can also help take away these nerves; adopting a ‘little and often’ approach can help reduce exposure to volatility while also benefiting from the returns.

Most importantly though, be realistic in your expectations and always ensure you’re comfortable with the risk being taken.

Helping common concerns if you’re already investing:

Am I putting enough money away?

Maybe you ran a retirement calculator and realised you’re not putting enough money away to live comfortably after retirement, or perhaps you’re putting away less than the typically recommended 10% of your income. Firstly it’s important to identify how much money you can afford to put away each month - where can you cut back on spending and not feel deprived? Even investing very small amounts can reap big rewards, especially when investing over a long time horizon; squirreling away just £1.67 a day could result in a staggering £18,000 windfall after 18 years.

I hear other people are doing things differently. Should I be too?

Your portfolio should reflect your own investment goals, risk appetite and time horizon. Different goals require different strategies. Are you saving for your first house or retirement? Do you wish to simply preserve the value of your investment, generate income, grow your capital, or all of the above? It’s important to consider your investment timeline: the longer your investment timeline, the longer you have to ride out the rise and falls of the market and maximise profits.

I don’t know what to invest in

Investing in the brands you know can be rewarding and it’s important to know what to expect from your investments. Uncertainty often leads to stress so when you purchase investments that are a mystery to you, you shouldn’t be surprised if they perform in ways that raise your stress levels. So why not buy shares in the companies you know - if you or your friends buy new outfits from Boohoo then why not buy a slice of the company?

Don’t let Blue Monday get you down

If you have concerns about investing, whether you’re a beginner or a pro, there’s always help out there. We’ve got plenty of tips and guides to get you started or to help you take the next step in your investment journey. The most important thing that we can do is to talk about our stresses, whether you speak to a financial advisor, your service provider or a friend: there’s always help available.

* Calculations based on compounded monthly interest. Interest rate 5% compounded over 18 years. 


All information given including prices, yields and our opinion is correct at the time of publication. Our opinions on investments can change at any time and for our latest view please go to www.share.com. To understand how our Investment research team arrive at their views please read our Investment Research Policy.

 
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