Sage Investment Club

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The FTSE 100 is just a whisker away from its all-time high, and might even have hit it by the time you read this.

London’s blue-chip index currently stands at 7,845.91, less than 60 points below the record 7,903.50 it set hit four years ago in May 2018. It feels like a lot longer than that, of course, as we’ve seen the onset of the Covid pandemic, war in Ukraine, and cost-of-living crisis since then.

I’d buy the record high FTSE 100

A rush and a push and the FTSE 100 record is there for the taking. With luck it will race past 8,000 for the first time, then carry on climbing. It looks like a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get rich, but it’s not. The people who are making money today are those who invested a long, long time ago, when the FTSE 100 stood much lower.

I’m not getting too hung up on the FTSE 100 headline rate. It seems important, as it is updated every day on the news, and treated as a barometer of UK economic sentiment. And of course it’s great when the FTSE 100 climbs, as our online portfolios are bathed in blue, and the totals in our Stocks and Shares ISA platforms are bigger.

Unless somebody is cashing in their portfolio that day, it makes little practical difference. That’s important to remember if the FTSE 100 suddenly goes on a bad run, as it surely will at some point. That doesn’t matter either, except for those who need to sell that day.

I won’t change my behaviour if the all-time record is smashed and the FTSE 100 roars to 8,000, 9,000, 10,000, or beyond. Nor will I shift strategy if it crashes below 7,000 or worse.

I have been buying FTSE shares for 20 years, and expect to do so for another 20 years or more (if I live that long). Whether the index is up or down, I buy them.

I’ll buy when shares are down, too

I actually prefer buying shares when the index is down, as that way I pick up more stock for the same amount of money. Also, my reinvested dividends buy more stock, which will be worth more when the index bounces back. Plus I enjoy buying when shares have fallen by 10% or 20%. Who doesn’t like a bargain?

There are still plenty of bargain-priced companies listed on the FTSE 100, despite its current high. Stocks do not all rise or fall at the same rate as the index as a whole, obviously. So it’s rare to find nothing worth of value.

I’m happy the FTSE 100 is at an all-time high, as it has underperformed global stock markets for years. Yet my personal portfolio has been ticking along nicely regardless, because I buy individual stocks rather than the entire index.

The FTSE 100 does not offer a once-in-a-lifetime chance to get rich. Instead, it offers a lifelong chance to get rich, and I’m not going to squander it.

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