Be patient, say experts, amid financial investment concerns over Russia-Ukraine crisis

Global markets have been volatile as the war in Ukraine and massive economic sanctions against Russia send ripples through the financial world.

Many investors have been watching nervously as tensions escalate and their retirement funds continue to shrink.

Steven Brar, a certified financial planner for G&F Financial, says it can be hard in a time like this to “separate our emotions from our money.”

However, he says not to panic, stressing the importance of having a financial plan.

“And what that financial plan does is it actually lets you know that you’re actually on track, even though your daily emotions are saying otherwise,” Brar explained. “The other thing that I recommend people do is just understand how the markets — because the markets have been around for 120 years — how have they responded in the past to turbulent events?”

That historical data, he says, shows us to “hang in there and look at the bigger picture.”

“And that’s really what we’re doing with our clients, and that’s what we’ve done in the past as well. Even during the COVID crisis, it was bad — in a span of 22 days, our Canadian market fell 22 per cent,” he recalled.

While the market took at hit at the beginning of the pandemic, two years later it was up 50 or 60 per cent from that bottom.

Bily Xaio, director of Moebius Planning, agrees with the cautious approach, urging people not to do anything rash amid the war in Europe.

“The problem folks have with financial success and sustainability of their retirement is letting their feelings overcome logical, rational, good decision making, with regard to their investments. So don’t panic, there is a lot going on around the world that is tragic and there is a lot of turmoil, but if you are working with an advisor or a professional, you should speak with them and get their insights, of course, before doing anything else,” he explained.

“I would not wholesale, necessarily, go out of cash or buy gold or silver or something like that,” Xaio told CityNews.

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As the war continues, many people have begun thinking about “ethical investments.” This comes as many companies have withdrawn their operations from Russia in response to the Kremlins actions.

Xaio says if this is something you’re concerned about, you can do your own research to see where your money is going. You can also talk to a professional to get more information.

“If you are really keen to eliminate exposure, you might have to divest of the entire security itself and consider investing in individual companies that are socially responsible in the way that aligns with the way you think,” he explained.

Sanctions against Russia, companies take a stand

A number of countries, including Canada, have placed new sanctions on Russia, as well as high-level Russians, over its aggression.

Canada, the U.S., European Commission, France, Germany, Italy, and the United Kingdom have also agreed to disconnect some Russian banks from SWIFT, which is the dominant system for global financial transactions, in an effort to cut off finances to the country.

In the wake of government action, Russia’s currency fell to its lowest level against the dollar in history. The measures also saw Russia’s stock market hit its worst week on record.

Some of the companies that have pulled out of Russia include McDonald’s, Coca Cola, IKEA, and a number of auto makers. Shell has also announced it will stop buying Russian oil and natural gas, shutting down all of its stations and other operations.

-With files from The Associated Press

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