9
Jul
2024

Why it’s important to build a margin of safety into your investment strategy

The human brain is powerful but subject to limitations. For this reason, we have evolved to have a collection of cognitive biases. These are systematic errors in thinking that occur when you process and interpret information around you, and it can affect the decisions and judgments that you make. One of these biases is overconfidence. This is the tendency to be more confident in your own abilities than is objectively reasonable. The best-known examples of this are the multiple studies in which a majority of respondents believe themselves to be above-average drivers. Financial planning requires several assumptions to be made before any useful projections and analysis can be done, and these inform the decisions that could affect you for decades...
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26
Jun
2024

What the 2024 general election could mean for your finances

2024 has been called “the year of elections” with an estimated 2 billion people around the world heading to the polls. Voters in the UK will have their say on 4 July. Now that each of the main parties has published their manifestos, here’s what the 2024 general election could mean for your finances. Conservatives – more National Insurance cuts and the “triple lock plus” Having already reduced National Insurance (NI) rates twice in 2024, the Conservatives have made further cuts to NI one of their flagship policies at this election. They propose to: Take another 2p off employee NI by April 2027, reducing the rate from 12% at the start of 2024 to 6%. They say this represents a...
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25
Jun
2024

6 useful financial planning hacks from Morgan Housel

I’ve long been a big fan of the financial journalist and author, Morgan Housel. In a recent newsletter, I wrote about his seminal book, The Psychology of Money, and highlighted some key takeaways and financial lessons you can learn from it. In a recent article, Housel recommended some personal finance hacks and shortcuts that, while not being particularly exciting, are worth following… 1. Don’t spend money to fuel your ego From the moment one Neanderthal man realised that his neighbour’s cave was bigger than his, mankind has constantly had an understandable impulse to keep up with others. It’s often referred to, colloquially, as “keeping up with the Jones’s”. This often manifests itself in overt demonstrations of your wealth and success,...
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13
Jun
2024

The tragedy of asset misallocation

Military history is full of episodes that offer lasting lessons that can be applied in other fields. Take, for example, the unexpected fall of Singapore in the second world war. Known as the “Gibraltar of the East”, Singapore’s defence seemed unbeatable, with massive guns pointing out to sea awaiting a naval attack. However, the actual assault came through the Malayan jungle, where the guns couldn’t even aim. This strategic blunder resulted from putting resources in the wrong place, and had severe consequences. Just as Singapore fell due to a mistaken assumption about the threat’s direction, as a modern-day investor you could be being misled about the ultimate threat to your financial security. Are your guns facing in the wrong direction?...
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28
May
2024

The 4 phases of retirement, and how you should plan for them

As a financial planner, I often talk to clients about their post-retirement financial arrangements and the challenges of living without a regular monthly salary. To help them, I will usually divide retirement into three distinct phases: An active phase when you are likely to be ticking off items on your bucket list, such as overseas travel or buying a new car A quieter period as you adopt a less energetic lifestyle A final phase in which the effects of ageing start to take their toll. However, I recently came across a TEDx Talk produced by a retired adviser, Dr Riley Moynes, who argues quite convincingly that retirement can actually consist of four phases, rather than three. More pertinent is the underlying...
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7
May
2024

3 priceless lessons you should learn from the genius mind of Steve Jobs

In the pursuit of personal growth and financial success, it is easy to become laser-focused on traditional strategies and conventional wisdom. While I’m committed to only recommending and implementing tried-and-trusted investment strategies to my clients, I do see the value in learning from great minds in other fields. In a previous article, I shared some of the investment wisdom of the late Berkshire Hathaway vice chairman, Charlie Munger. One point I didn’t include in that piece was the fact that Munger always emphasised the importance of developing a “latticework of mental models” to improve your thinking, problem-solving abilities, and decision-making process. In this spirit, I wanted to explore three valuable lessons you can learn from the life and words of...
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