01 Aug 2016
Investing for the future - just like following your favourite football team - is about managing expectations.
This coming weekend - just 27days after the Euro 2016 final signalled the end of a long football season – Scotland’s top teams will get the new 2016/17 campaign underway.
The beginning of a new football year is always the most exciting time for fans – a time of unbridled expectation.
Convinced that the centre half your team has plucked from the lower leagues of Estonia is going to transform your fortunes, you head to that opening match convinced that this is going to be your year.
For 95% of fans, that dream is usually shattered just 90 minutes later.
Managing expectations in football is therefore important. The very same can be said for investing.
Successful investing involves making choices that meet your unique needs today and your financial goals for the future. It is about building wealth slowly rather than getting rich overnight – and therefore managing your own short-term expectations.
It’s important to have a solid, dependable core to your portfolio and to consider an equity income strategy where reinvesting dividends compounds your returns over time.
While investment techniques vary widely, all good strategies are built on the same foundation. The principles for investing over the long term require holding a portfolio of investments and weighing the potential risks alongside the prospective returns.
An investor who puts money aside over the long term for the proverbial rainy day is far more likely to achieve their goals than someone looking to ‘time the market’ in search of a quick profit.
The longer you invest, the greater the potential effect of compound performance on the original value of your investment. Many investors will be familiar with the term ‘compounding’ from owning cash savings accounts.
The term refers to the process whereby interest on your money is added to the original principal amount and, in turn, earns interest. Over time, compounding can make a significant difference.
Your investments can also benefit from compounding in a similar way if you reinvest any income you receive, although you should remember that the value of stock market investments will fluctuate, causing prices to fall as well as rise, and you may not get back the original amount you invested.
Shares, bonds, property and cash react differently in varying conditions, and opting for more than one asset class can help to ensure your investments won’t all rise or fall in value at the same time.
Holding a portfolio of investments with a low level of correlation can help to diversify your investments when investing in individual assets and markets, as well as protecting you from less visible hazards such as inflation risk – the possibility that the value of assets will be adversely affected by an increase in the rate of inflation.
Geographical exposure and long-term investing are other ways of spreading risk. Investing in vehicles such as Open-Ended Investment Companies (OEICs) can remove a lot of the difficulty associated with managing a broad portfolio. It’s important that you aim for a level of risk you are comfortable with which reflects your investment objectives.
While a well-constructed portfolio should generate a healthy return for investors, the opposite is also true. It’s easy to incur permanent losses by putting money into an asset that behaves in an unexpected way.
Investors should always set aside time to try and understand what it is they want to hold.
As we saw to great effect in 2008 following the collapse of US investment bank Lehman Brothers, unexpected or adverse newsflow can have a significant effect on stock market performance.
More recently, the crisis in Greece may well present broader opportunities in European stocks for investors willing to take on a certain level of risk. The same goes for China.
Indeed, there have been times when highly cash-generative, defensive businesses capable of creating value in a range of market conditions have been subjected to the same negative sentiment that has driven down the price of stocks more sensitive to economic cycles and those that are poorer quality.
Inflation and taxation are factors that can affect the real rate of return on your investment. There are certain options that can reduce costs, including the use of tax-efficient wrappers, namely Individual Savings Accounts (ISAs), pension plans and employment ‘save as you earn’ schemes.
There are also inflation-protected instruments, such as index-linked bonds (interest-bearing loans where both the value of the loan and the interest payments are related to a specific price index – often the Retail Prices Index), National Savings investments or commercial property holdings, where rents can often be increased in line with the rate of inflation.
To make the right investment choices, you need to ask the right questions. And when it comes to answering those questions, Aberdein Consdine can help you find the best way forward.
If you would like to get a sound point of view about what may be right for your unique situation, please contact us. We’ll review and discuss your financial situation, help you set goals, suggest specific next steps, discuss potential solutions and provide ways to help you stay on track.
To speak to one of our advisers, call 0333 0044 333 or click here.
Note: Information is based on our current understanding of taxation legislation and regulations. Any levels and bases of, and reliefs from, taxation are subject to change. The value of investments and income from them may go down. You may not get back the original amount invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance