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Setting goals to kickstart investment planning

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01 Nov 2018

Setting goals to kickstart investment planning

By: Daphne Byers, Wealth Manager, Sasfin Wealth

When researching current advisory trends for this piece, I was reminded of the following statement made by legendary investor Warren Buffett, that has become a mantra for many financial planners:

"To invest successfully over a lifetime does not require a stratospheric IQ, unusual business insights, or inside information. What's needed is a sound intellectual framework for making decisions, and the ability to keep emotions from corroding that framework."

In our role as advisors, we are often asked the question – “How should I invest in the current market conditions?” My response to this is that ultimately, sentiment and overreacting to the current environment can have devasting effects on your long-term investment portfolio.    

Our role as advisors

Our role is to understand your lifetime financial goals and objectives, and to create a plan that assists you in realising those goals. This isn’t a once-off exercise, as we cannot project the future, and life is full of surprises, but with ongoing guidance and advice, we can ensure that those goals and aspirations do not end up as shattered dreams due to bad choices or irrational investment behaviour.

This plan is the “sound intellectual framework” referred to in Buffett’s quote, and as with all plans, one needs to start with the end goal in mind and put structures in place to ensure that those are achieved.  We’re in the business of giving advice, and not for instance, selling a life product, picking a fund or picking a stock – these are merely tools that may or may not be used to assist you in reaching your goals in a tax effective manner.  The asset allocation will change over time, but your basic plan will still be in place years after some of the initial stocks selected have de-listed or merged, never to be seen again.  

The changing environment along with changes in personal circumstances highlights the need to work with an advisor who will meet with you on a regular basis, guide you along the way, and tweak the plan to ensure it is current and still relevant. This ongoing partnership is what is needed to turn those goals and objectives into a reality, rather than a shattered dream.

Weathering turbulent times

The diversification that comes with a comprehensive financial plan will assist you to weather different economic environments, and stay invested over the turbulent times.  The current low return environment does not change the fundamentals of investing, and diversification along with a long-term view is still key to reaching those financial goals.

Having opened with a quote from Warren Buffett, I now close with three investment rules penned by John Bogle, the founder of Vanguard:

 

  1. Remember reversion to the mean. What’s hot today isn’t likely to be hot tomorrow. The stock market reverts to fundamental returns over the long run. Don’t follow the herd.
  2. Invest you must, but forget the “market”. Investing in equities is a winner’s game. Not investing is the only way to guarantee that in the end you will have nothing.
  3. Time is your friend, impulse is your enemy. Take advantage of compound interest and don’t be captivated by the siren song of the market – that only seduces you into buying after stocks have soared, and selling after they plunge.

 

At Sasfin, we partner with you to ensure that you keep your investment goals in mind, keep focusing on the longer-term plan, and don’t become unsettled by negative rhetoric, as this too will pass.

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