We all need reminding of why investment returns are so important for so many in the private sector. Until the 1980s most employees retired on pensions provided by their employers and related to their final salaries. Employers put aside and invested funds so as to meet these obligations, and if these funds fell short of what was required, they were forced to increase pension fund contributions. Today these obligations have been transferred to the private sector employees themselves. Money is invested at the employee’s risk into pensions that may or may not generate sufficient income to fund a comfortable retirement. Moreover, with interest rates so low, these investments must be exposed to risk in order to have any chance of generating the returns required.
As a result we see the development of covid-19 and its effects on the economic and investment outlook through a different prism. The health of the economy directly affects investments that we make to fund our retirement, and events that damage the long-term prospects for economic growth have a direct influence on our retirement funds, and so those who do not work in the public sector, and whose pensions are therefore not underwritten by other taxpayers, follow the development of the virus with more than a passing interest.