Steven Barrett's Archive

Do nothing

Warren Buffett once said “Lethargy, bordering on sloth should remain the cornerstone of an investment style.” Unsophisticated investors tend to adopt this investment strategy more than knowledgeable investors who can try to be too clever when markets are volatile. Take Rachel for example, who came to me looking for investment advice. She told me she had […]

Read More

Can you control your spending?

I’m just back from holidays in France. The chalet that we were staying in had a charcoal BBQ. I have always been a gas BBQ man and had never used a charcoal one. And given our BBQ at home is broken (left outside uncovered for too long!), I thought this was a good opportunity to […]

Read More

Making your retirement income last

There is a vulnerability to retiring and not earning an income anymore. Instead of money coming in every month and your savings increasing, you are spending that money that you have saved over the decades. And not knowing how long we will live for means we don’t know how long our savings have to last […]

Read More

How easily influenced are you?

There is an old sales trick where you go into the electrical store looking for a new tv. The salesman gets an idea of the size and type of tv you are looking for and shows you the most expensive model they have. He knows that most people will baulk at the price but that’s […]

Read More

Beware of prophets bearing gifts

“Never make forecasts, especially about the future” If only all advisors adhered to this piece of advice when talking to clients about what they can expect from their investment. There are lots of salespeople out there who like to dazzle people with future returns, especially when it comes to property. Who wouldn’t have their head […]

Read More

Life is more expensive than you think

In my work as a financial planner, I need to know how much life costs. There is the mundane stuff like electricity and bin collections, to your holidays each year and how much you spend on clothes each year. Most people underestimate how much they spend and sometimes by a lot. It is quite common […]

Read More

Has monetary policy turned us into risk takers?

In March 2008, Bear Sterns failed and was taken over by JP Morgan. A few months later, Lehman Brothers, the fourth biggest investment bank in the United States, went bust too. And the rest is history as the world experienced the worst recession since the Great Depression. To avoid the collapse of the financial markets, […]

Read More

It’s not that simple

As a young(ish) advisor during the credit crunch recession, I held a lot of meetings with shell shocked clients who couldn’t believe their money had fallen by so much. One such client, an architect, complained that if he designed a building that would fall down, he wouldn’t get paid for his work. Why should fund […]

Read More

Using leverage for investing

Debt makes the world go round. We need it to buy our homes, otherwise we’d be saving forever to have enough money to buy it outright. Business’s need debt to get started and to expand. But when it comes to investing, we are increasingly reading stories of investments where investors have the value of their […]

Read More

The psychology of financial planning

For many, financial planning is all about the numbers. It is so much more than that. It is quite common for new clients to come in for their factfinding meeting, loaded with facts and figures on their finances and leave saying it was like a counselling session. If I don’t know your relationship with money, […]

Read More