970 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL

TODAY’S BLOG

970 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL…

I’ve been trying to think of ways to explain the benefit of long-term investing. I’m not a big beer drinker, but given that when I do go to a pub, I’m always shocked at how much a pint of beer is. According to the ONS, the average pint of beer in the UK was £3.67 in January this year. Clearly a  national average, because that wouldn’t buy much in London.

30 Years Ago… 1989

Anyway, let’s suppose I am someone that likes to buy the occasional pint of beer. As I get older, like most people I tend to remember elements of the past fondly. Particularly this time of year as students return to University. 30 years ago, perhaps you were at University or had long since left. 1989 – the time when Nigel Lawson was replaced as Chancellor by John Major. Simply Red had a hit album “A New Flame”; Challenge Anneka had aired for the first time and Nick Faldo won the Open. A pint of beer back then was £1.03.

BOTTLES OF BEER

YOUR ANXIETY

Let’s suppose you had £1000 you wanted to do something with. The memory of Michael Fish and the great storm closely followed by Black Monday was fairly fresh in your memory. You didn’t fancy the stock market. So you found a decent deposit account, rates were high causing problems for borrowers but great for savers at 14%.

Thirty years later that £1000 had risen to £2,080 by January this year. You had forgotten about it except for when you sighed with relief as economic recessions came, Y2K, Dotcom bubble, Korean crisis, 9/11, credit crunch – you had avoided them all.

Yet there is a problem. In 1989 your £1000 would have bought a 30-year younger you 970 pints of beer. Today your £2,080 would only stretch to 566 pints.

Your Uni Friend John had a PEP

Your good friend John from University had put his money into the UK stock market, he put £1,000 into a Personal Equity Plan, some quirky idea brought in by Nigel Lawson. He bought a FTSE100 tracker fund (ok, maybe not, but stay with me). He had to live with the same economic stresses and saw the topsy turvy workings of the stock market. However, at the end of 30 years his £1000 was worth £11,494. He hadn’t touched it (neither had his adviser) and so all dividends were reinvested. This sort of money enables John to buy 3,131 pints of beer. That’s 5 times more than your 556 pints.

Julia also had a PEP

John is fairly happy, but his girlfriend Julia at the time also put £1,000 into a PEP, but she put it all into the FTSE250 tracker. She figured that slightly smaller companies might do a bit better than bigger ones. Lo and behold, Julia’s £1,000 has turned into £20,818. Julia can buy 5,672 pints of beer, that’s ten times (10x) TEN TIMES as much as your 556 pints.

OK – Smallprint (or not) Caveat Emptor…

Admittedly I have taken some liberties with costs, charges and the available funds in 1989. The biggest liberty I really took was suggesting that people leave their money alone. They/we don’t. We all tend to fiddle around, attempting to find a slightly or perhaps considerably “better” option.

Long story short, when considering investment for decades, what on earth does “risk” really mean? The risk of the power of the money in your pocket being worth less (or worthless) due to rising prices? The risk of seeing your money stagnate in cash? The risk of seeing the value of investments rise then fall?

30 Years £1000

Monsters grow

What ought to be blindingly clear…. don’t let your anxiety dictate your financial planning and investment strategy. It is a dreadful guide to future performance. The monster at your door is inflation, however small it seems today, feed it for 30 years and it’s still hungry and likely to eat you alive.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk 
Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

GET IN TOUCH

Solomon’s Independent Financial Advisers
The Old Bakery, 2D Edna Road, Raynes Park, London, SW20 8BT

Email – info@solomonsifa.co.uk    Call – 020 8542 8084

7 QUESTIONS, NO WAFFLE

Are we a good fit for you?

970 BOTTLES OF BEER ON THE WALL2023-12-01T12:17:12+00:00

Great Rivals

Great Rivals

Perhaps you watched the men’s Australians Open final, which saw Roger Federer eventually overcome Rafa Nadal. The speech at the end by Roger Federer was typical of him, but many that don’t follow tennis might wonder if he wasn’t simply saying some well-rehearsed lines, which sound very nice but aren’t really true. Those who do follow tennis, will recognise that it seems to have an unusually generous, gracious and humble group of people at the top of their game. Respect is not something demanded, as it is in some sports, but modelled.

What if businesses took a similar approach?

Let us not forget that this is a highly competitive sport, a battle of skill, stamina and psychology and the momentum flows back and forth like the ball itself. Imagine if this sort of respect was found in business, if competition was performed with grace. If being “the best” didn’t mean others were annihilated in the process. An awareness that being “the best” only lasts so long, whilst you are good enough to be better than, rather than because you once were. I wonder how this sort of approach might alter the way companies behave. It might change the way they invested in their staff, sector or community rather than simply focus on the quickest and cheapest way to get what they want.

… and how about the Public Sector?

I had thought that the non-business sector might be different. Schools might collaborate rather more than they do, but in practice Head Teachers are invariably under pressure of targets. Achieve results, retain pupils and so on, which might be in the interests of the pupil, but might not. The targets incentivise certain types of behaviour and as usual, you get what you measure. What therefore requires challenging is the targets being set, which within the Public Sector are set by Governments. I appreciate that many within the Public Sector may well collaborate, but this is rarely incentivised or encouraged.

Rise above the noise

Similarly, when it comes to your own financial planning, the targets that you set, should be yours, not those set for you by others. The fact that your favourite radio or TV station feels the need to report the level of the FTSE100 every half-an-hour is beyond my comprehension. It is irrelevant information to anyone other than a financial trader – who already has it! So, when you play your game best, you don’t have to beat the market, you don’t have to beat other people. Your financial plan “simply” needs to align with your values and then make use of the most suitable financial planning techniques. The difference is fundamental and fundamentally about confidence …and some good humour.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

Great Rivals2023-12-01T12:18:51+00:00

2015 has been a bad year…. for investors too

2015 has been a bad year… for investors too

It has not been a good year for investors, frankly it has not been a good year for lots of people – we are all aware of the disasters and atrocities that have occurred around the world. So as you review your investments which have not performed as anyone would have hoped, a sense of perspective is probably wise.

The problem with stock market or traditional investing is that we see good years a bad years. 2015 has been a bad year, with the FTSE100 opening the year at 6,556 rising to a high in April of 7,103 (up 8.3%) but currently lagging at around 6,050 (down 7.7% over the year to date).

It is natural to feel annoyed and fed up, particularly as it is easy to get the impression that somewhere, somehow others are doing better. The truth is perhaps rather different. A fall of 7.7% is what the market provided via the FTSE100 (the UKs 100 largest companies). To have a smaller fall (or even a gain) you would have had to take more investment risk (essentially attempting to beat the market return based on belief, information or frankly luck). The market return is literally the market average return. This assumes that you were invested at the start of the year. If you invested towards the end of April your “loss” would be worse.

Realisation about Loss

However what is a loss? In essence a loss is only realised when you sell your investment for less than the price you paid for it, which might happen due to changing circumstances, but should not happen within a financial plan.

Part of my role is to help clients minimise their mistakes. One would be to sell at the bottom – to panic and “get out” once markets have fallen (this would be called “realising a loss” – ie making it real). It is tempting to do so, but unwise unless your circumstances have genuinely changed.

Risk and Diversification

However all portfolios are diversified across a range of assets, so you aren’t purely in the FTSE100. Portfolios have a global nature and hold cash, commodities and Bonds. The mix (asset allocation) is the important tool we use to devise a suitable portfolio for you, given your ability to cope with investment risk and also have a context (your financial plan) for your money. This is what we call diversification of risk, but might be better understood as “not holding all your eggs in one basket”.

Yes, the year has been poor for investors, but do not be tempted to seek higher returns, and yes even cash with its dreadful returns was a better option in hindsight. The returns will “feel” and appear worse as statements at 5th April would have exposed the comparative high point in the year. However in the long-term investing rewards those that stick with the plan. There is ample and readily available evidence for this.

Noisy “genuises”

Be mindful that most people will never (or very rarely) talk about their investment losses, but invariably shout from the rooftops about their investment successes. The truth is rather different and much better hidden. This applies to private investors and professionals alike.

Tomorrow I will highlight another mistake that you can avoid and frankly, one that you need to encourage anyone you know to read the piece.

Dominic Thomas
Solomons IFA

You can read more articles about Pensions, Wealth Management, Retirement, Investments, Financial Planning and Estate Planning on my blog which gets updated every week. If you would like to talk to me about your personal wealth planning and how we can make you stay wealthier for longer then please get in touch by calling 08000 736 273 or email info@solomonsifa.co.uk

2015 has been a bad year…. for investors too2023-12-01T12:19:41+00:00
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