The Importance of Financial Planning

Investment Snippets #6

#STICKTOTHEPLAN: How to deal with Market Volatility

Volatile Markets rattle the nerves of investors, but we should remind ourselves why, as investors, we invest.

Consider that when we purchase shares in a company, we are buying ownership of that company, so we become a shareholder and that entitles us to a share in the profits. The profits may be distributed in the form of a dividend or invested back into the company. The upshot is when a company is profitable; it usually increases its net asset value.

However, the profitability of a company is not always reflected in the share price and visa-versa, Price doesn’t always reflect profitability. This is highlighted in the chart which shows Unilever PLC’s share price and the company’s profitability which we measure using Earnings per Share. Here, we see even with consistent increasing earnings there is significant “volatility” in the share price.

 

Unilver

 

The share price is what most people are familiar with and it can be difficult to tease out the cause of its volatility. Genuine reduction in profits due to  changeable local economic factors, interest rate policy, bond yields and inflation, employment, political interference, and world trade agreements all influence investors emotions to varying degrees and therefore their appetite for investment which is reflected in the share price. A hard look at the facts is always warranted when we see volatility to understand that the investment case remains sound.

If you are a lump sum investor, then downward volatility has to be ridden out. Strong emotions will tempt you to SELL holdings and preserve the CASH. This is a mistake as it will likely crystallize a permanent loss, which if repeated frequently, is the quickest way to destruction of your wealth. Consider also, that you will likely be selling a good value asset at low price which is a bargain for a buyer on the other side.

On the other hand, we view Share price volatility as an opportunity to pick up quality assets at good value. If you are a regular investor, a monthly contribution invested will allow you to take advantage of a lower price paid for your holdings which can help to enhance long term capital appreciation.

And so back to Unilever, which if you had acquired in 31/10/2013 at a price of £25.01 per share, then today, 5 years later, that share is trading at £40.85, which represents a gain of £15.84 (63% or a compound growth rate of 10.31% pa).

How do we deal with market volatility?…….we ALWAYS look at a 5 year investment term.

If you have any queries, reservations, concerns or just want to talk it out, do give us a ring on 085 866 9813

The Importance of Financial Planning

Investment Snips #5

The Yield Titans….

As investors, we look to place our investment where we hope to receive an income (a yield) or a capital appreciation or both on the initial investment, over a period of time.   In recent times however, the fixed income asset “tool box” would likely not have contained long dated sovereign bonds. The reason for this is that yields from these bonds were at historically low levels (See the US Treasury 10 Year Bond Yield in the chart below).

lifetime-financial-10-year-us-treasury-bond-2Recently, however, an interesting observation can be made on the movement of US 10 Year bond yield over the last three months. It has grown by 12.4% over the past 2 months and at date of writing the current yield of the US 10 Treasury bond stood at 2.62%. Compare this to the average (forecast) yields on the Dow Jones Index and US500 equities indices offering 2.4% and 2.3%. To further contextualise this analysis, the US (FED) interest base rate currently sitting at 1.3% and US inflation rate now sits at 2.1%.

That means if you deposit your hard earned money in the bank, the interest rate and the capital will be eroded by inflation. If you purchase a US 10 Year treasury bond, you will receive a net (Real) yield on your investment of 0.5% better than had you placed the cash on the markets which you can expect to receive a net yield of 0.4% ignoring capital appreciation. These returns are before costs of trading are incorporated.

Why is this important? Well, US equities exemplified by the Dow index have been trading bullishly since March 2009 resulting in year on year record breaking market valuations being achieved.  At the end of 2017, the combined market capitalisation of the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJI) was an eye watering $6,873,564.2M. In 2018 already, the DJI has jumped in value by 4.3% adding an additional $295,563M to the valuations contained within bringing to adjusted total combined market value of companies contained on the index to $7,170,139M.  To put this into context, the total market capitalisation of the DJI at the end of 2009 was ca. $3,499,645M.

These astronomical valuations reflect the sentiment of investors who sought their yields from equities when bond yields were falling and deposits were erosive and which, in an improving corporate and economic climate made perfect sense. As a result, it leads many professional investors to view these markets as overvalued when compared to their long term averages and likely to proceed with caution.

So, with the US Treasury 10 year bond yield, edging closer towards the desirable 3%, might we soon see a movement in investor’s monies from equities and a correction in this long running bull equities market? At Lifetime Financial Planning, we pay close attention to such subtleties.

If you would like to hear more about how we manage these difficult investment environments please feel free to contact us via the website.

The Importance of Financial Planning

Stand Back from the Scrum Snips #5

Its happening again, Stock markets are at all-time highs and confidence is flying high. But at Lifetime Financial Planning we use our tried and tested Value Based Investment Strategy to identify good value for our Clients. And from the 600 largest companies in the US and UK, only 12 meet our value criteria currently, which means 98% are not good value. However, the good news is we are likely to see a lot of Volatility in 2017, and volatility always means good value buying opportunities for our Clients.

Talk to us if you would like your Pensions and Investments to be managed in a strategy with a long (20 year) successful track record, and with a focus on value for money assets.

As always, bear in mind that Investments fall as well as rise, and past performance is not a good guide to future performance.

The Importance of Financial Planning

Reminder to Submit Your Pension Contribution Before the Pay and File Deadline

We’re just writing to remind you to take full advantage of the generous tax relief available on your 2015 pension contribution before the pay and file deadline of 31st October, or 10th November if you file through Revenue Online Service (ROS).

Depending on your age and income, you may be eligible for up to 40% tax relief on your personal pension contribution for 2015.

Depending on your age and income, you may be eligible for up to 40% tax relief on your personal pension contribution for 2015

Every €100 you contribute to your pension could cost you as little as €60*

* Revenue rules, age and income related rules apply.

With tax free growth on your investment we believe it is a highly efficient and effective method of converting your current income into long term personal wealth.

To take full advantage of this generous tax relief, review your existing pension funds and start your Lifetime Financial Plan please call us at 046 9240961 or visit our website at www.lifetimefinancial.ie

We look forward to hearing from you.

 

Aidan Wall

Aidan Wall

QFA, FLIA, SIA

Aidan Wall is a Qualified Financial Advisor, a Fellow of the Life Insurance Association and a Senior Investment Advisor.
Aidan has been providing impartial financial advice to clients since 1983, and he has acquired vast experience in the areas of Financial Planning, Family Income Protection, Retirement Income and Investments.

E: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie

Dr Michael Wall

Dr Michael Wall

APA, PhD

Dr Michael Wall, PhD, is an Authorised Product Advisor (APA).
As an Authorised Product Advisor (APA) Michael is working under the mentorship of Senior Financial Advisor, Aidan Wall and has completed his QFA (Qualified Financial Advisor) examinations.

E: michael@lifetimefinancial.ie

The Importance of Financial Planning

Meeting Investment Expectations

Investors now have a much wider range of investment choice open to them than ever before, ranging from the US stock market to the value of the euro versus the Japanese yen, the price of commodities such as oil, German government bonds and a whole range of other securities. For the non-professional, attempting to devise an appropriate investment strategy with all of these options and choices available can be a daunting task.

It is widely understood that higher investment returns are accompanied by higher risks. While we might dream of making a killing on the stock markets, however, we might not want to risk our hard earned cash on high risk strategies. Fortunately there are now some quite useful and necessary tools available to assess an individual’s risk appetite to ensure they don’t find themselves outside their comfort zone.

There are three key elements that feed in to an investors profile and risk tolerance with regard to the investment strategy required.

  • Attitude to Risk
  • Requirement
  • Capacity

Attitude to Risk

This deals with the individual investors own risk attitude and/or their tolerance of risk.

“How can I emotionally handle moves in the value of my portfolio?”

Are you likely to panic, for example, if there are significant downward movements in values? On the other hand are you a bit of a gambler and feel you can take on lots of risk and volatility in order the achieve high returns? To get the balance right the attitude to risk then need to be co-related to requirement and capacity, bearing in mind that in most cases taking some level of investment risk is key to higher investment return.

Requirement

Here the need is to focus in on what is the objective of any investment. If, for example, the investor has €200,000 and wishes this to grow to €300,000 over 10 years this is probably achievable without too much risk. On the other hand if the need is to do this over 3 years then history shows us what short-term volatility can do to an investment over that period. In addition an individual’s requirement when it comes to investing a capital sum for example could be quite different to the same individual’s requirement for his pension scheme. In the first case the time horizon may be quite short while for the pension you are probably looking at a longer term.

Capacity

This is perhaps the most important consideration of the lot and deals with the individual’s ability to take the financial risk.

“If this investment lost a significant amount of its value would it make a material impact on my financial position?”

Capacity is particularly important for individuals taking on higher levels of risk obviously. Risk tolerance and appetites change over time and can actually change very quickly. It could be a significant inheritance or business success that changes circumstances for the better or when it comes to pension planning it will be necessary to calibrate risk capacity the closer the person gets to retirement. Suffice to say that there are strategies to suit each circumstance and it is vitally important you review risk tolerance regularly.


Aidan Wall has been providing impartial and unbiased investment and pension advice to clients at all stages in the their lives since 1983. If you would like to talk to Aidan about a lump sum investment or pension fund please call 046 924 0961 or email: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie

At Lifetime Financial Planning we also conduct regular reviews of your investment / pension fund performance, which we believe are the key to ensuring your chosen fund(s) can meet your expectations.

The Importance of Financial Planning

How to Invest a Lump Sum

HOW TO INVEST A LUMP SUM

As someone who has advised clients on their investment options for over 30 years, people often contact me seeking impartial and unbiased advice on how to invest a lump sum. Whether you have recently received an inheritance, successfully completed the sale of an asset or even won the lottery jackpot the advice I provide is pretty much the same in every case. Here are some simple steps to help demystify the whole process:

 

1: Decide on your investment goals

Some important questions to ask yourself at the early stages of investing include:

  • How long do I want to invest for, is it short or long term?
  • What level of return do I expect to receive?
  • Do I want a guaranteed level of return?
  • Will I need access to my fund if my personal circumstances change?
  • Do I want to receive a regular income from my investment?
  • How much risk should I take?

 

2: Seek Impartial Advice

Often people assume that they save money on fees or commission by arranging their investment directly through a product provider, bank or other financial institution when in fact the opposite is often the case.

The Competition Authority recently noted that Life and Pensions companies tend to provide better product design, more flexible terms and more competitive quotes when engaging with an Impartial Financial Broker.

An Impartial Financial Broker is a highly qualified professional who is required by law to work in your best interest, not in the interest of investment companies.

Their impartiality enables them to research the market thoroughly for the most suitable investment opportunity and to provide a range of choices to suit your needs. This is known as fair analysis of the market as it gives you a much better picture of the range of investment choices available.

 

3: Ensure your Advisor conducts a “Factfind”

Before imparting any advice on how to invest a lump sum your advisor should conduct a “Factfind”, which is essentially an in-depth analysis of your current financial circumstances and includes your income and expenses, your family situation (number and ages of dependants etc) and your existing assets and liabilities. This helps both advisor and client to build up a picture of where you currently stand financially.

 

4: Ensure a Risk Assessment is carried out

All investment funds are rated from 1 to 7 in terms of the level of risk involved, with low rated funds offering lower returns and less chance of volatility, and higher rated funds offering the potential for greater returns, but also greater volatility.

By conducting a Risk Assessment an advisor can ensure that you fully understand the different levels of volatility risk involved. In recommending a particular investment for you, the advisor will also take into account what they believe to be your threshold for withstanding any potential losses that could occur. This helps you to gauge your own attitude to risk when deciding what type of fund you may want to invest your money in.

At Lifetime Financial Planning, conducting a Factfind and Risk Assessment is an integral part of our advice process.


5: Review your Investment Options

At this point your advisor will research the market thoroughly for a range of options to suit your needs, providing you with a choice of suitable investments based on your requirements, your financial situation and your attitude to risk.

A good impartial advisor will also take a number of other factors into account, such as the financial strength of the product provider, the past performance of similar investments, and the cost of fund management fees.

 

6: Conduct Regular Reviews

When you have made your investment decision we strongly advise conducting regular reviews with your advisor in order to stay up to date on the performance of your chosen fund. Conducting reviews also enables your advisor to stay updated with regard to your personal financial circumstances and recommend any changes needed to ensure you stay on track to meet your goals.

 

About Lifetime Financial Planning

At Lifetime Financial Planning we have been providing impartial investment advice to clients at all stages in their lives since 1983. If you are seeking impartial advice on how to invest a lump sum or you wish to conduct a review of an existing investment then please don’t hesitate to contact us.

We can help you to diversify your investment, devise a phased strategy and/or switch or redirect an existing investment if you so choose.

Call Aidan Wall, Lifetime Financial Planning, at 046 924 0961 or email: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie

Website: www.lifetimefinancial.ie

Investments can fall as well as rise. Past performance is not a reliable guide to future performance.

Aidan Wall Financial Services Ltd T/A Lifetime Financial Planning is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Importance of Financial Planning

Financial Broker Vs Bank Advisor Part 2: Long Vs Short Term

It can be difficult to cultivate any kind of meaningful relationship with a Financial Advisor at your bank, as they can often be more focused on hitting their quarterly sales targets than in your long term financial well-being. If you are deemed worthy enough to be called in for an annual review you might also find that the Advisor you previously met has been transferred to another branch in a reshuffle.

Impartial Financial Brokers, on the other hand, are singularly focused on building long term relationships with our clients as we know it takes time, expert planning and regular reviews to truly achieve your financial goals and aspirations. That’s why we’ve called ourselves Lifetime Financial Planning to better reflect our ethos of long term focus on your financial wellbeing.

We want you to succeed in your long term financial goals as your success means our client is happy, and happy clients return to us for more business. We certainly wouldn’t have lasted over 30 years in this business if we were solely interested in short term relationships and quarterly sales targets. So the question is, what kind of relationship would you prefer with your Financial Advisor?

If you have already availed of a free financial planning service or purchased a financial product which you wish to review, I would be happy to do it for you. Call me at 046 924 0961 or email: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie Website: www.lifetimefinancial.ie
Aidan Wall Financial Services Ltd T/A Lifetime Financial Planning is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Importance of Financial Planning

Financial Broker Vs Bank Advisor Part 1: Tailoring vs Forcefitting

If you have been offered a financial planning service or “wealth check-up” by your bank, you may be unaware that banks tend to ally themselves with a single provider or a very limited number of financial product providers, greatly restricting their ability to provide you with more choice.

This often results in your requirements being force fitted into an off-the-shelf financial product which is unsuitable to your needs, uncompetitive in terms of pricing and unrepresentative of the actual range of choices available to you. A service which initially appears to be “free” could therefore end up costing you more in the long run.

Impartial Financial Brokers, on the other hand, are not restricted to a limited number of product providers, and are therefore free to research a much larger number of providers to find the most appropriate solution for you with regard to price, suitability and terms.

This is known as a “fair analysis” of the market, as it gives you a much broader picture of the range of choices available to you, and when it comes to your personal finances it’s always better to have more choices.

If you have already availed of a free financial planning service or purchased a financial product which you wish to review, I would be happy to do it for you. Call me at 046 924 0961 or email: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie

Website: www.lifetimefinancial.ie

Aidan Wall Financial Services Ltd T/A Lifetime Financial Planning is regulated by the Central Bank of Ireland.

The Importance of Financial Planning

Exploring Your Investment Options

Keeping your money on deposit can be a good means of achieving short term objectives and access to instant cash but for longer term financial goals, however, you may want to consider other options. A good place to start in this is by taking these 5 steps:

Step 1

What do you want to do with your investment – what are your goals?

Step 2

What is your investment horizon – how long do you wish to invest your money for?

Step 3

How much investment risk are you prepared to take or is appropriate for your financial profile?

Step 4

How much ready access to your money do you need? In general you can assume that the longer your money is invested the better the return tends to be.

Step 5

Consider your long term goals and don’t simply focus on the short term.

By taking on board the message from these 5 steps you can discover the type of investor you are and find an investment that best balances all of the criteria. These can generally be found in a combination of the following options:

  • Cash – money placed on deposit
  • Bonds – government and corporate bonds or government and corporate loans
  • Property – usually commercial property but can include residential
  • Equities – company shares traded on stock markets
  • Commodities – tracking the performance of the likes of oil, copper, gold and more
  • Alternatives – this refers to investing in non-traditional assets or strategies
  • Funds – these are collective instruments that invest in combinations of each of these and will often be referred to as Mixed/Managed Funds or Multi-Asset Funds

Help Is At Hand

At first glance the investment world can appear confusing and an uncomfortable place, complicated by charts, tables and strange language. While ultimately the decision about where and how to invest your money is yours, professional advice is particularly important when exploring the type of investor you are – ranging from conservative right through to Adventurous and a range of options in between. This advice will then follow on to helping you choose the right portfolio of investments to match your profile. It is also important that the person giving you advice is properly authorised and qualified who can guide you along your investment journey and offer one to one advice along the way.

If you would like to explore your investment options please call Aidan Wall at 046 924 0961 or email: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie

The Importance of Financial Planning

Understanding Investment Risk

During the last few years of the 2000’s we all saw the effect that stock market falls had on pension funds, investments and share prices. We all saw how the values of pensions and investments fell. If you were one of these people that has been affected by the stock market falls, it’s understandable that you might still think twice about investing in shares (non cash funds). However, we all know that leaving your money in cash for a long time may not necessarilty generate the best returns.

As 2015 has begun with historically low interest rates, many people are now seeking alternatives to deposit accounts. However the levels of risk associated with alternative investment options and also the investors attitude and capability of taking on risk must be carefully assessed in considering suitable choices.

It All Begins With A Plan……

Before you begin to choose a suitable investment you will want to consider what are your investment objectives. Setting these objectives correctly based on your current situation and knowing your investment profile will form the basis for choosing the correct options.

Rating Funds

It is important to note that most managers of Investment and Pension Funds are now broadly in line with guidelines received by the European Securities and Markets Authority (ESMA) in the context of Risk Rating their Funds. The ratings are based on a scale of 1 to 7 meaning that you can now readily identify the level of “risk” pertaining with 1 being at the very lowest level and 7 the highest.

Investor Attitude to Risk

A very important piece of work that should be done as part of the decision making process is to take full account of an investors attitude to risk. There are many “Risk Attitude Questionnaires” that help to determine this and help to match the investors requirements with the huge range of investment fund options available in the market. Apart from recording the investors view it also takes account of really relevant matters such as:

  • What is my knowledge of investments?
  • When will I need access to my capital?
  • Do I need to draw an income?

Capacity to Bear Risk

This is another very important factor to take into account when constructing your portfolio. It is one matter to say you can accept risk in order to achieve high returns but another key factor must be to match your profile with your capabilities.The real message in all of this is that while there is a myriad of options and choice it is vitally important to seek and have independent advice available to you. If you need any further information on this please don’t hesitate to contact us.

Call Aidan Wall at: 046 924 0961 or email: aidan@lifetimefinancial.ie