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Managing your pension in uncertain times

When markets experience volatility, you may see fluctuations in the value of your pension savings. These are a normal part of long-term investing, as the value of investments can go down as well as up. This can be daunting, but there are ways you can ease your mind during times of uncertainty. Remember, this information is not a personal recommendation for a particular course of action. And, if you’re unsure about the right approach for you personally, you should speak to an authorised financial adviser.

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Understanding uncertainty

If you’ve seen the value of your pension savings fluctuate, it’s natural to feel nervous. But although past performance is not a guide to future performance, markets can and do recover. It’s important to remember though that the value of the investments in your pension and any income from them can go down as well as up so you may get back less than you invest. While it can be unnerving, it’s important to remember pensions are a long-term investment and volatility is a normal part of long-term investing.

So, while it’s never nice to see your pension fall in value, the most important point to remember is that this could well be a temporary setback.

Take your time

During uncertain times, feeling fearful could lead some people to make rushed decisions about their pension, based on short-term circumstances. Some may think about selling or moving investments in the hope of minimising any loss, but this could have significant long-term consequences for your financial wellbeing and retirement, as you may miss out on any market bounce-backs.

So, think carefully and consider talking to an authorised financial adviser before making any decisions, and remember, withdrawals from a pension product aren’t normally possible until you reach age 55. This may change to 57 in 2028.

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Learn about volatility

Volatility is an investment term for when the stock market experiences periods of unpredictable, and sometimes sharp, rises and falls. 
People often think about volatility only in connection to dramatic drops in prices, but it can also refer to sudden rises as well. So, it’s really just a way of describing a market that’s going through some turbulence.

Volatility is caused by a wide range of economic and political factors. From news affecting a particular industry sector, to government policy changes, political tensions or upheavals; anything that creates uncertainty and causes some investors to sell and others to buy can lead to volatility.

In a volatile market prices aren’t always an accurate reflection of real worth. A sudden swing up or down can make an investment suddenly seem worth more or less than it really is over the long term.

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