Let’s hope that when we get through this, they will continue to receive the kind of recognition that they so richly deserve.

Another effect of multiple lockdowns and limited access to retail and leisure services, has been that people simply haven’t had the opportunity to spend in the way that they have been used to. And so, perhaps quite accidently, we have become a nation of savers rather than spenders – and from a financial advisor’s point of view, that’s no bad thing. But what should we do with this extra capital? The interest rates in banks are so poor currently that they have little to attract the investor looking to get a decent return on their savings. This is where the power of investing in the markets really comes into its own. Money invested in well managed funds can be the key to strong and steady growth that will see your capital grow well beyond what is possible in banks and building societies.

The mantra you will often hear with regards new investors is that they should diversify, diversify, diversify. Sensible advice, like not putting all your eggs in one basket, is the order of the day – spreading your investments across different asset classes such as stocks, bonds, cash and property, and also distributing these geographically if you can. The more your interests can be spread, the less vulnerable you are to fluctuations in any particular market. It can be disconcerting of course to see the value of your investments go up and down with the markets, but diversifying can negate the worst effects of this.

However, fluctuating is what markets do. It can be tempting to think there is easy money to be made from timing things perfectly, that you can buy in and cash out at just the right time, but the reality is much less dramatic. Timing the market is notoriously difficult; and although Hollywood might have us believe differently, the maxim to live by as far as investing in stocks and shares is, ‘time in the market, not timing the market’. Investing your money for the long-term really is the best option. Invest and stay invested. As you gradually add to your investment funds over time, you are riding out the market fluctuations.

In terms of choosing a diversified, long-term investment – how should we proceed in an increasingly crowded financial market with so many options available? The number one consideration in making your choice is, remove the emotion. If you don’t have a wide-ranging knowledge of investment funds, or can’t commit to putting in the research on them, it can be tempting to rely on gut feeling to guide your decision making. Unfortunately, this can lead to making rash and uninformed decisions which could have a negative impact on your portfolio. By taking professional financial advice, you can remove uncertainty and feel confident about putting your money into investments that are tailored to you and your situation.

Depending on where you are in life, and on what your goals are for the future, both immediate and long-term, the options open to you can be very different. Somebody approaching retirement has a very different set of investment criteria from those of the mid-career professional, so speaking to a qualified professional is going to mean that whatever you decide, your money will be working hard to achieve your goals according to your timelines.

Inertia can be our main enemy when dealing with personal finances. Confusion and indecision lead to inaction, which can mean any savings we have managed to put aside over the years can start to lose value in real terms, as poor interest rates stop them from growing in line with inflation. Don’t let your hard-earned capital dwindle away in low interest bank accounts, commit to taking control of your finances now and start making saving and investing a priority in your life.

Blacktower Financial Management has been providing expert, localised, wealth management advice in Portugal for the last 20 years. We can help with specialist, independent advice on securing your financial future. Get in touch with us on (+351) 289 355 685 or email us at info@blacktowerfm.com.

The above information was correct at the time of preparation and does not constitute investment advice. You should seek advice from a professional adviser before embarking on any financial planning activity.