The advice “Buy during a panic, don’t sell” is probably contrary to anything you’ve read or heard recently. It can be found in David Dreman’s Contrarian Investment Strategies, which discharges similarly succinct investment rules to follow during political and financial crises.

Mr Dreman notes that the standard reaction to a crisis similar to the one we’re currently facing is almost always a "knee-jerk reaction to sell”. We’ve become so conditioned to reacting negatively to crises that many people believe this is the correct course of action. Such a response is hardly surprising because they “are reinforced by expert and peer opinion that things must get worse”.

It’s certainly felt that way over the past few months, as we’ve gone through multiple prime ministers, chancellors and home secretaries of varying quality and competence. Stock markets have reacted accordingly: in the absence of stability, markets display the panic of those charged with administering or investing in them.

Fortunately, economic history suggests we can expect financial markets to bounce back from their current lows. As evidence, consider the stock market recovery following the depths of the 2008 financial crisis. In mid-October 2008 the FTSE 100 Index plummeted to a low of 3,861. By the end of December 2009, it had risen 53pc to 5,412.

It follows that people currently contributing to their pension should remember that it is a long-term investment – often upwards of 30 years. During this time they can expect bouts of market volatility, occasionally enough to make the most experienced investor panic. Some will sell, but history shows that the longer-term impact of comparatively short-term crises on a pension pot fades over time, a point worth remembering if you’re contemplating pressing the ‘sell’ button.

But what of those within, say, 10 years of retirement who have seen their pension pots decimated as stock markets across the globe bombed? A punitive combination of the pandemic, soaring inflation, transport disruption, stock, material and labour shortages, rising interest rates and Russian aggression have impacted stock markets across the world, not just the UK. Can they each make up falls of between 40-50pc?

Admittedly, markets executed a dramatic turnaround in 2008-09, but for many people, it’s fair to say that the day-to-day impact of Westminster’s political shenanigans feels more severe. Indeed, until we achieve some form of political stability, the medium-term economic consequences will become increasingly vicious.

“Such assessments may strike a chord with the 60-year-old who faces the possibility of putting retirement plans on hold because her pension pot is worth considerably less than it was at the start of the year,” says Mark Gregory, founder and CEO at Equity Release Supermarket.

There is, however, a possible solution. It’s not a panacea and certainly isn’t for everyone, but for homeowners aged 55 and above, equity release undoubtedly offers a potential route back to normality, where retirement plans are discussed with enthusiasm rather than a sense of trepidation.

Most homeowners aged 55 and above have the opportunity to release a percentage of the wealth built up in their homes. The funds they release are tax-free. Furthermore, there are no monthly repayments to make and crucially, Equity Release Council-approved ‘lifetime mortgages’ – the most popular means by which funds are released – come with a no-negative-equity guarantee, which ensures homeowners’ heirs do not inherit any related debt.

If this summary sounds interesting, the next step is to discover how much you could expect to release from your home and to consider personalised deals tailored to your circumstances. Following the company’s development of a unique search engine, this has become a straightforward task. “Our market-leading smartER search engine displays only real-time equity release deals for which you’re eligible,” says Mr Gregory. “There are no credit checks required.”

Homeowners retain full ownership of their property, either until their death or admission to long-term residential care, after which the property is sold to repay the lifetime mortgage. Following an online exploration using smartER, taking professional advice is an essential next step: releasing equity from your home could have an impact on your entitlement to means-tested state benefits and reduce the value of your estate.

Should you be wondering how to make good a fall in the value of your pension, speaking with a qualified equity release adviser could make sense because at present only the brave will follow Mr Dreman’s advice and consider buying shares devastated by a savage stock market.

For more financial advice, check out Peter Sharkey’s regular blog, The Week In Numbers.

This column is for general information only and cannot be relied on as financial advice for individuals. Consult your professional adviser.