For the first time in many years of investing, my Stocks and Shares ISA is showing a negative return. I know I’m not alone in this, and I’m sure many reading will be in a similar situation.
It’s human nature to feel like you’re suffering more than others are. But that’s simply because you’re experiencing your feelings all the time, and not constantly seeing or hearing the impact on everyone else.
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However, it’s important to recognise that we’re all in this together. And here at The Motley Fool, we pride ourselves on our transparency (it’s why we disclose positions in any company mentioned, even those we just mention in passing!). So today I thought some of our readers may benefit from hearing my own tale.
A bit of background
It’s first worth mentioning that I follow the Foolish investing line of only buying shares with money that I’m unlikely to need in the next three to five years. That’s a core component of long-term investing. In fact, our CEO Tom Gardner said it best recently:
And at the beginning of 2022, my wife and I decided that it was time to ‘upsize’, and sell our flat in order to buy a house. (N.B. investing — Foolishly — was the only reason we were able to buy our home in the first place!)
So I worked out which shares I was happy selling to bridge the gap — which largely comprised stocks I bought close to 10 years ago, had risen substantially in value, and crucially were no longer marked as Buys in a TMF UK service — and those I wanted to keep in my Stocks and Shares ISA.
A bumpy landing
I concede that in one respect I was lucky, since I happened to sell some of my holdings at high levels before the invasion of Ukraine occurred, with markets plummeting thereafter.
But, of course, the vast majority of the shares I kept fell quite drastically. As did those held by the vast majority of investors.
It also didn’t help that I have bought into a variety of US tech stocks over the years. For example, in September, I bought shares in Atlassian. My investment in the software firm is now down almost 50%.
My fourth largest holding (by book cost) is in e-commerce company Shopify, now down 70% over the last 12 months, and showing a -24% fall in my portfolio.
All in all, the total value of my Stocks and Shares ISA is in the red by a percentage of -22.74 as I write.
The grass is always greener…
While that (paper) loss isn’t ideal, of course, I’m not worried. In fact, I’d go as far as to say that I’m optimistic!
That’s because I’m not investing to ‘get rich quick’. No, I buy shares and plan to hold them for the long term. With no future Big Life Event planned in the next three to five years for me and my wife, I can afford to see today’s market volatility as a positive.
There are many, many quality companies out there — both listed in the US and UK — that are currently beaten-down and undervalued. I believe that my Stocks and Shares ISA will creep out of the red if I follow three principles:
- maintaining my belief in the underlying businesses of my holdings;
- topping up positions in my favourite shares; and
- identifying new buying opportunities
For instance, I’m contemplating adding to my Greencoat UK Wind shares, up 13% in my portfolio right now. I’m also interested in some of the Footsie’s income stocks that have proven themselves to be consistent dividend-payers through thick and thin. And I’m definitely, definitely not selling anything marked as a Buy or Hold in a Motley Fool UK service!
In summary, if anyone reading this can be reassured by just one thing, it’s hopefully this: that we at The Motley Fool are still investing alongside you. Indeed, I’ve recently heard from colleagues that they’re more excited to buy shares than they have been in many years (and these Fools love buying stocks!)