Over the past few months I have produced several blogs looking at investing, market timing, and risk and volatility. To end this series I want to focus on the key message behind everything we do, and how this should help through difficult times.
We always talk about the method behind what we do; we spend time researching and developing a process which fundamentally delivers portfolios (investments) which we can use for clients. Although however hard we try, we know that we have to deal with reality. We don’t know what will happen next, but what we do know is that throughout the time we have a relationship with a client we are there to help them.
Much of the time we focus on the investments because it feels tangible, but the key for any relationship to work is to understand what a client’s plans and goals are. These then determine how the money is invested. We have covered this in previous blogs, but it is important to always come back to this.
What happens when the markets are scary
If we consider markets today there are lots of things to potentially be concerned about whether it is trade, China, Italian debt, Brexit, Trump, Oil and so the list goes on. There will always be something to worry about and human behaviour at these times can lead us to make irrational decisions.
The fact is that we know that sometimes markets will be unpredictable, volatile and irrational. We don’t know when, why it will happen, and how long it will last. But our job is always to be there and help clients through the scary times. It seems for us to manage money in the good times, but you can’t have one without the other.
We certainly don’t go to ground when markets drop because that is the most important time for clients and they want our reassurance.
Do we stick or twist?
When investments go down some clients naturally worry and the first thing they consider doing is selling everything. For us, the key is to go back to the first principles for that client.
Financial planning is about goals and plans. Every client has a different plan and that could be, for example, to provide a set income each month, building wealth for retirement or providing money for children and / or grandchildren (or a combination of these). Each plan is unique. Once we know the client’s plans and goals, we can provide an investment portfolio to deliver on those.
When clients are worried and might consider selling assets, we revisit their goals and plans with them. If nothing has changed, it usually means riding out the storm. As someone said you are better to stay in the boat than jump in the sea!
We always talk about the power of compounding, and I love this example; a penny doubled every day for 31 days will be worth over £10 million at the end of the period. For the first 22 days nothing much seems to happen and then suddenly it jumps. We need to accept “the boring” to allow the plans to bear fruit.
In previous blogs I have referred to theory, process and thought. On the surface what we do seems simple; we aim to help on deliver goals (whether this is income or growing assets or both) and we use a diversified portfolio of investments to achieve this.
What goes on below the surface is integral to success. We aim to steer the ship through whatever comes up, we know there will difficult periods, but we always come back to the goals, plans and process. If nothing has changed then we keep focused and hold steady!
Note: This is written in a personal capacity and reflects the view of the author. It does not necessarily reflect the view of LWM Consultants. The post has been checked and approved to ensure that it is both accurate and not misleading. However, this is a blog and the reader should accept that by its very nature many of the points are subjective and opinions of the author. Individuals wishing to buy any product or service as a result of this blog must seek advice or carry out their own research before making any decision, the author will not be held liable for decisions made as a result of this blog (particularly where no advice has been sought). Investors should also note that past performance is not a guide to future performance and investments can fall as well as rise.