All this Brexit nonsense is very unsettling: there’s my understatement of the year. Like most people, I’m worried about my money, particularly as NOBODY knows what is going to happen ultimately. Selling everything, banking the cash and hiding in a hole until it’s all over is tempting but a bit extreme. There are some sensible precautions, however, that it’s worth thinking about.
1. Your job
This is probably safe for the meantime, except if you work in retail or the car industry which are having problems independent of Brexit. The UK has low unemployment and there’s a skills shortage generally. But, because of the uncertainty, companies aren’t looking to expand or invest too much so I wouldn’t be looking to move or doing anything to make myself disposable.
This is another cloudy area. The best strategy is to make sure all visas are up to date and expire as far in the future as possible. It’s possible to have passports from different countries; I know several people who have unearthed links to distant Irish relatives and got themselves a second passport (southern Ireland will continue in the EU). Might be worth considering if you haven’t already done so.
These could be affected if the UK crashes out of the EU, the economy is ruined and interest rates drop. It’s possibly worth getting a fixed term account at the highest possible rate for a year or so. You can find best buy tables at Compare The Market* or Moneyfacts. You should also have a decent amount of cash to hand because you don’t want to be dipping into investments when share prices are low.
Property prices generally (and markedly in expensive London) are on the slide. A lack of clarity on Brexit will only make this worse as buyers dither or keep away. Sit tight unless you absolutely have to sell. For buyers, it might be an opportunity, as long as they don’t overcommit.
This is a tricky one. It’s unlikely that planes will stop flying but there’s bound to be some kind of disruption. Insurers will try to wriggle out of refunding anything because of Brexit so the best you can do is buy the most comprehensive travel cover you can afford. Holidays however might be cheaper as less people want to take the risk. If you’re really worried, perhaps choose a non-Euro destination this year such as Turkey, Croatia or even the good old UK.
6. Foreign exchange
Sterling will bounce up and down depending on whether the news is good or bad. Try to buy Euros when the pound is strong and accept your holiday money may not stretch as far as it did.
The stock market will be rocky, full stop. There is no point trying to second-guess the highs and lows. If you sell out now, you will most probably miss the relief rally when it comes and share prices will eventually recover; you should be investing for the long term anyway. Regular investing ie a small fixed amount every month rather than a large lump sum is a brilliant strategy for roller-coaster markets. It ensures you buy more when the price is low and less when the price is high without you having to think about it or lift a finger.
Will all the lorries be able to get into Dover? I don’t think we will starve. Nevertheless, If there’s something you particularly like or need that comes from Europe, it might be worth throwing a few more in the trolley next time you shop.
See our SMM guide to investing for more help with regular saving.