Navigating super during bull and bear markets

Not sure what terms like bull markets and bear markets mean? Understand what they are and how it can impact your super. The finance industry and investment markets can be complicated, with the language used equally hard to understand. Let’s simplify some common terms and look at how different share market conditions may affect your super.

What is a bull market?

A bull market happens when investor confidence is strong, with share prices rising faster than average over a consistent period. Bull markets typically, but don’t always, occur alongside periods of strong economic growth, with investors attracted to the potential of higher returns.

The term ‘bull market’ takes its name from the upward shape of an attacking bull’s horns, representing a rising market. The bull symbol has also become famous thanks to the bronze bull sculpture located in New York’s Financial District.

What is a bear market?

A bear market happens when share market prices are falling and there’s a drop in investor confidence. It’s typically driven by a poor economic outlook. Bear markets are often linked to major economic downturns, such as the Great Depression in the 1930s and the Global Financial Crisis in 2008-2009.

It’s thought the term originated with American bearskin traders, who would gamble that the price they pay for skins would continue to fall. Another explanation is that it’s simply a reference to the way a bear attacks, with claws shaped in the downward direction of the share market.

Super in bull and bear markets

If your super is invested in an option that includes shares, your super balance can follow the ups and downs of the share market:

During a bull market, where investor confidence is strong and the share market value is rising, your super may grow too. 

In a bear market, with share prices falling and investor confidence weak, your super may experience a fall in value. 

In periods of heightened market volatility, remember, super is a long-term investment. While it can be tempting to switch options when markets become volatile, being invested in a diversified portfolio over the long run can help grow your super.

Need advice?

If you’re concerned about changes to your super balance and the impact on your retirement plan, consider speaking to an accredited financial adviser. Speaking to an adviser can help you review your retirement goals and consider your investment options1.

Find a financial adviser at

1 Personal financial product advice is provided under the Australian Financial Services Licence held by a third party and not by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd. Fees may apply.

This information may be general financial advice which doesn’t take into account your personal objectives, financial situation or needs. Before making a decision about AustralianSuper, you should think about your financial requirements and refer to the relevant Product Disclosure Statement available at or by calling 1300 300 273. A Target Market Determination (TMD) is a document that outlines the target market a product has been designed for. Find the TMDs at

Sponsored by AustralianSuper Pty Ltd, ABN 94 006 457 987, AFSL 233788, Trustee of AustralianSuper ABN 65 714 394 898.

This article was supplied as part of a paid advertising package.


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