How to stay focussed in volatile markets

Investing in markets means volatility. When done well, you are getting paid for taking on risk. So why is it that sharp drops in the market have such a visceral impact on us? We only have to go back to early February, when markets dropped 4.6% in a few days to recall such a time of alarming headlines and concerned conversations.

The first thing to say about February is that it was far from unusual. Since 1979, there have been 182 five day periods worse than the February decline. It happens, on average, every three months. It’s about as frequent as a 29 degree day in Sydney. Warm, yes, but barely worth a comment. So why do we all feel this way when the markets fall?

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