The FTSE 100 index has been moving up all week and further upwards progress today, as I write, encourages me that we could be near the bottom of the correction that developed during October.
Really though, Ive no idea what will happen next, of course. Maybe the FTSE 100 will reverse direction and undercut its October low. If you look at a chart for Americas Dow Jones Industrial Average, the pattern is almost identical to that of the FTSE 100 over the past month or so, which lends weight to the theory that wherever the US market goes, the London market will follow. I think that is certainly true of the big plunges, at least!
Successful US traderMark Minervini tweeted this yesterday:We are not out of the woods. You dont repair a market correction in a day or two. To establish a reliable bottom, you need backing & filling and a period of consolidation thats IF the low has been made. Prepare for more volatility soon.
I like to take notice of Minervini because he has a truly remarkable record of making accurate market calls. However, none of this matters a jot to what I would do next. Whether the market rises or falls, I think the best course of action for me is to buy more shares and share-based investments.
Many individual share names are well off their highs at the moment, which means if the underlying quality of the business remains intact and the outlook for trading is okay, youll be getting better value than you would before the falls if you buy the shares now. But I think one of the most powerful approaches to investing is to add your money in stages. That way, you will get more for your money when share prices are down and you will not be investing all your funds in one go when the shares go up again.
Ironing out the bumps
That technique is known as pound/cost averaging, although Minervini would probably call it dollar/cost averaging. If you have a lump sum to invest, say 10,000, you could invest in stages of 2,000, for example, perhaps evenly spread over a year. That way you could end up ironing out some of the volatility that Minervini expects. However, I think pound/cost averaging works best of all when applied to regular monthly payments over a very long period of time. I also think it works best if you select a collective investment vehicle that removes single-company risk, such as a low-cost, passive FTSE 100 index tracker fund.
I cant think of a better time to start investing, say, for retirement in an FTSE 100 tracker than right now. With a market correction in full swing and volatility back on the table, conditions are perfect for using pound/cost averaging to start the compounding process to build up your retirement savings. One attractive option is to open a stocks and shares ISA and contribute monthly payments into a FTSE 100 tracker fund held within the ISA. If you choose a tracker fund that automatically reinvests dividends, your investment will grow over time and pound/cost averaging will smooth the ups and downs of the index.
Do you want to retire early and give up the rat race to enjoy the rest of your life? Of course you do, and to help you accomplish this goal, the Motley Fool has put together this free report titled “The Foolish Guide To Financial Independence”, which is packed full of wealth-creating tips as well as ideas for your money.
The report is entirely free and available for download today, so if you’re interested in exiting the rat race and achieving financial independence, click here to download the report. What have you got to lose?