Despite what some might want to tell us, it is fair to say in this election there were no winners. The two biggest parties saw their share of votes increase significantly; the last time we saw this level of dominance was in the seventies.
There is something comforting about cash; we know if we have £100 in the bank and we don’t spend it, we will still have £100. Whereas, if we put £100 into the stock market we must accept that it could go down as well as up; although a loss is only a loss if we “cash” the investment in, it stills feels uncomfortable when we see money go down in value.
When markets are rising, there is a danger that we think (or secretly hope) that they will keep going up. The reality is that at some point stock markets will go down; we just don’t know when, by how much and how quickly they will recover (because what goes down will usually come back up).
There is no doubt that over the last 20 years, buy-to-let property has been a good investment. Landlords have not only benefited from an increase in house prices but rising rents; the average house price in the 1990s was around £45,000, today that figure is close to £250,000. At the same time however, rental yields have moved from 12% of the property value to about 4.5%. It is clear to see how people investing 20 years ago did well.
Recently I have been writing about what is important to us, and how we can create achievable goals. There are many risks in life; when we get into the car and drive this could be risky; when we own a house there are risks that things can go wrong. Of course, if we have a mortgage we are expected to have buildings and contents insurance, and if we have a car we must have insurance.
It would be unusual not to have some market uncertainty; recent research in the US showed that 37.9% of investors and 63.1% of market professionals were bullish about stock market prices. This is comforting because there is such a divergence of opinion; we would be more concerned if everyone thought the same.
In February, we attended an Investment Conference hosted by Liontrust Investment Managers. The speakers covered a variety of topics; in this brief, we want to highlight some of the key discussion points.....
When I started working my godfather offered some advice; “save as much money as you can”. I took his advice and over a few years invested in several ten-year investment plans. As time moved on the amount of money I had grew, and it became central to everything I did. By the time the dot.com frenzy took hold I was looking at ways of making more money....
Having spent some time with European Fund Managers there is the inevitable discussion about European politics and the risks for investors. There are four key events facing Europe this year:
2015 saw radical changes to the way pension benefits could be paid in retirement; suddenly it seemed everything was much simpler. I still remember the headlines the next day about using the pension fund to buy that yacht or sports car you had always dreamed about.
It’s easy to be focused on the present – BREXIT, Trump, China et al – and yet by doing so we can miss things that directly impact our future well-being. Perhaps we don’t want to consider the future but in doing so we seem to be missing one of the biggest financial crises to hit us for decades; BREXIT, Trump and others will pass but this has implications for us for many years to come.
2016 was a year of surprises with events in the UK, US and Italy likely to shape our lives for many years to come. At the same time, we could easily have added Austria; the significance of which shouldn’t be underestimated. In the end the electorate overwhelmingly decided not to appoint its first fascist president since World War II; this may provide some indication as to how elections in France, Germany and Holland might eventually play out.
Writing a year-end review of 2016 could focus entirely on the story of Brexit, or the unbelievable Trump victory; seek to understand the epic collapse of oil or consider the cultural influence of the many icons who have passed. Or most confounding of all, how the heck did Leicester City win the Premiership and did Gary Lineker’s football shorts constitute underwear on MOTD.
Every day we take risk without considering the consequences. Interestingly almost every action we take carries risk; the list below from besthealthdegrees.com considers the chances of fatality from some normal activities (as well as some less so). 1 in 300 million of death from a shark attack 1 in 250 million of death from a falling coconut
The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) has embarked on an ambitious project to examine the fees fund managers charge. The media has been quick to jump on this; highlighting how savers are being over charged as well as suffering sub-par returns.
The 1992 general election delivered one of the biggest shocks in political history. The Conservatives had been in power for 13 years and coming into the election the odds were stacked against them; rising unemployment, interest rates at over 10% and collapsing house prices. All predictions pointed towards a hung parliament, or narrow Labour victory.
This feels a bit like Groundhog Day, doesn't it? We go to bed thinking one result is pretty much a done deal and wake up to the shocking reality that the opposite has happened.
William Hague wrote a fascinating and passionate article in the Telegraph entitled “Central banks have collectively lost the plot. They must raise interest rates or face their doom”. Some of what he says I agree with; particularly the challenges with the route taken by central bank being that we don’t know what the final outcome might be. However, there are several things that I take issue with and I think reflects a changing society that is being missed by the likes of William Hague, Theresa May and others.
In theory low interest rates mean low mortgages, and therefore house prices should be a lot higher than they are. I recently saw Martin Lewis discussing how people applying for mortgages should “tidy up” their finances first. At the time I believed he was encouraging applicants to “fudge” their income (and expenditure) to get a […]
We have effectively entered the parallel universe and we really don’t know what the future will look like. If I was writing this blog on the 31st May 2016, I would be saying that the last time interest rates went up was in July 2007, and since then they had fallen and settled at the […]