Race to the White House: whoever wins, investors must remain vigilant

After last night’s first presidential debate between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, it’s clear that whoever wins the race, change will be on the way.

Although opinion polls suggest Clinton is edging closer to victory after this first televised debate, the race to the White House is too tough to call.  However, one thing is certain: U.S. politics has changed with this election, and therefore how Americans create, grow and make the most of their wealth in the future will likely need to change too.

As such, Americans need to shore-up their finances sooner rather than later, so as to take advantage of significant opportunities and sidestep potential pitfalls.

It is likely that if Trump takes victory, there will be an instant negative shock in the financial markets due to rising uncertainty and a shake-up of the status quo.

In addition, it’s probable that the Fed will avoid another interest rate rise until next year, in turn giving another short-term boost to equities.

Long-term, Donald Trump could implement a looser fiscal policy, which may include increasing the defence budget and slashing taxes.  In turn, this would lead to a demand uptick for the economy.

However, Trump also favours some highly contentious protectionist policies that could prevent sustainable economic growth.

On the other hand, should Hillary Clinton get to the White House, financial markets are expected to immediately bounce, due to the continuity she represents.  In addition, the Fed will likely hike rates this year, providing a short-term boost to Treasuries, and putting equities under pressure.

Indeed, any financial unease created should be alleviated by the markets breathing a general sigh of relief.

Of course, even with a Clinton win, change will be afoot.  As well as joining the anti-globalisation bandwagon, like Trump, which could adversely affect economic growth, Clinton could also likely implement tax hikes for wealthier Americans.

Whichever way the pendulum swings, change will be coming.  This will lead to significant opportunities for investors to make the most of, as well as risks to avoid.

As such, investors should be reviewing their financial strategy and ensuring their portfolios are suitably diversified over asset class, sector and region, as well as being aware of their tax liabilities and how they are likely to alter.

As November 8 moves ever closer, investors must be more vigilant than ever in relation to growing and safeguarding wealth.

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