In the world of investing, a "black swan" is an unpredictable event with the potential for serious consequences.
Right now, some commentators are saying the outbreak of coronavirus in China is a black swan.
Without doubt, the spread of coronavirus has been astounding. First identified in December 2019, the number of cases has risen to more than 20,000 as I write.
In our highly interconnected global economy, investors don't have to hold overseas assets to feel the financial impact of coronavirus.
China is by far Australia's biggest trading partner, accounting for one-quarter of our global trade. China also buys close to 25 per cent of our coal exports, and is our number one source of tourists. In addition, 150,000 of Australia's 400,000 overseas students hail from China.
So it's not hard to see how the outbreak of coronavirus can impact Australia's economy as well as listed companies across a variety of industries.
Despite some jitters, the Aussie sharemarket has held relatively steady. That said, many investors may be uncertain about how they should respond.
In terms of your investment portfolio, I'm not convinced that you need to take any steps at all.
That is, provided your investments are framed with your long-term needs, personal goals and tolerance for risk in mind.
The upshot is that a black swan shouldn't derail your long-term investment plans - as long as you have ticked all the boxes for low-cost investments that you're comfortable with, and which have the potential to help you achieve personal goals.