23
Nov
2018
0

Ten steps to securing your financial future

In my last few blog posts we’ve focussed on things to avoid, like: The promise of ‘Brexit-Proof’ portfolios, based on vague speculation; Believing everything you read in financial media, often biased and sensationalist; and Chasing the promise of big investment gains, that can turn out to be scams. Now, I’ve suggested what you shouldn’t be doing, let’s focus on what you should! To help secure your financial future, I believe there are ten simple steps you can follow: 1. Start planning as soon as possible The earlier in life you start your financial planning, the bigger its potential impact. Compound interest and investment returns, over time, could significantly boost your savings. Compounding means you effectively earn interest on past interest....
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10
Oct
2018
0

The problem with ‘Brexit-Proof’ portfolios

Brexit continues to dominate headlines here in the UK and abroad. Big businesses are blaming it for falling profits, Boris Johnson is using it in an attempt to bolster his profile and there are warnings we could run out of food. There is also a growing concern for our economy and the stock market. You don’t need me to tell you how often Brexit stories are in the media, you can’t avoid them. You can be forgiven for not knowing where to look, let alone what to believe. Again, it’s sensationalist media; nothing short of conjecture and scaremongering. Journalists are once again preying on fear to sell papers. The only thing that has indisputably happened is that the UK triggered...
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19
Sep
2018
2

Fake news and financial pornography

Sensationalist media is nothing new, but in the past ten years the number of delivery formats, and hence the sheer quantity of outraged, agenda-laden and scaremongering articles, has exploded. You don’t need to buy a newspaper, turn on the television, or even look for sensationalist headlines; sat at your desk, advertisements, direct email and social media posts will quickly find you. Tabloid papers are still particularly guilty, having hidden agendas to publish dramatic material because, frankly, it sells. Yes, they are subject to legalities regarding libel, privacy and copyright, but there is no restriction on using terms such as market ‘CRASH’ or ‘CRISIS’, conjuring doom amongst investors when in reality, it’s nothing more than a temporary market decline. The social...
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20
Aug
2018
0

Don’t go chasing gains: What financial advice isn’t

There are no short-cuts in financial planning, no big gain guarantees, no quick wins. The financial services profession still has an image problem and I propose that blindly chasing investment gains is one of the reasons why. The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) published its Financial Lives Survey earlier this year and amongst other things, it measured public perceptions and the profession’s reputation. Whether public uncertainty began with the 2008 financial crisis is debatable, but the survey found that 9 years later just 39% of people said they trust advisers to act in their best interest. Alarm bells ringing The survey also found that 23% of people had been approached about their pensions or investments by what they believed to be...
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6
Aug
2018
0

Pensions: Should I tidy them up?

How many pensions do you have? In pre-retirement, that might be more difficult to answer than you anticipate; career aspirations have changed over time and culture (rightly or wrongly) no longer applauds a dedication to one employer. Old company and personal pensions might be dotted around numerous providers. Factor in automatic enrolment in recent years and you could have more pensions than you realise! Tracking them down can be the first challenge. Dig through the important paperwork drawer and you could find a long-lost statement from 1992. For simple administration, consolidating your schemes has obvious benefits; often you can log in to a provider’s website to check the progress of your investments. More importantly, you should benefit from a coherent,...
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30
Jul
2018
0

What training for a triathlon taught me about financial planning

Over the years I’ve found that the best way for me to stay fit and keep up a regular exercise routine is to set myself a goal. Back in 2010 I set myself a goal of completing my first triathlon. So I’d done a bit of running over the years, nothing serious but I felt I could manage that aspect. I had next to zero experience of riding a bike – I mean I could ride a bike (of course!) but had no experience of riding any further than the distance of my teenage paper round on my knackered BMX! As for swimming, I’d actually been trying to improve on this a few years before, having had a few coaching sessions to...
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