One of the big questions investors have during periods of uncertainty is when is the best time to invest.

While there’s no sure-fire way to predict the very best time to invest, there are some things you can do to help give your money a good opportunity to grow.

Time in the market vs timing the market

Trying to time the markets – in other words selling investments when markets are at a high level and buying when they’re at a low level – is an extremely hard and risky strategy. If you delay investing in the hope that prices will fall further, or sell in the hope that you’ll be able to buy again when markets are at their lowest, you could risk missing out on potential gains.

Rather than fixating on the best possible time to invest, it can be a better idea to make smaller investments on a regular basis, for a longer period of time. When it comes to investing, history has shown that, generally, the longer you’re invested for, the more likely you are to reap the rewards. You can find out more in our article on market volatility and investing for the long term.

Regular investing vs lump sums

Making regular monthly payments into your chosen investment account or portfolio means you don’t have to worry too much about when you should invest. Instead, your money will go into the market every month, regardless of highs and lows. This consistent and measured investing approach, even if it is somewhat slow, can achieve better results than trying to time the market in an attempt to gain quicker pay-offs.

For example, you could choose to invest a lump sum when prices are low to try and benefit from market rises. If you’re lucky enough to time the market just right, in other words when it’s at its lowest point, you could make significant gains. But this is notoriously difficult to do. And if you get it wrong, you could be exposed to potentially significant losses.

Nobody knows for sure when the best time to invest will be. But committing to a long-term approach, combined with regular investing, can put you in a good position during periods of uncertainty and give your money the opportunity to grow over time.

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For updates on what’s happening in global markets, read regular market commentaries and outlooks from our investment experts, Thomas Watt and Richard Dunbar.

If you’re not sure how market and economic events may affect your investments, or are concerned about the impact, you could consider getting financial advice. If you don’t already have an adviser, find out how we could help you.

The information in this article should not be regarded as financial advice. Information is based on our understanding in November 2022. The value of all investments can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you paid in.