Steven Barrett's Archive

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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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Going from being a saver to a spender

You have spent your working lifetime saving. Putting money away into your pension and an extra few quid when you had the money. By being frugal and living below your means, you have accumulated a substantial amount of money and you have reached the financial planners holy grail…you are financially independent. You are now in […]

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The corruption of investing

Ever heard of Dogecoin? It’s a cryptocurrency that was created by two software engineers as a joke to make fun of the wild speculation of cryptocurrency. This year, it is up 1,493% and that is after falling 33% in value since 08 May. At that point is was up a staggering 2,236% from the start […]

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The known unknowns

Before Donald Trump became president of the United States, the most famous Donald in American politics was Donald Rumsfeld. In 2002, as Secretary of Defense, he gave his famous “known unknown” answer when questioned about the lack of evidence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction: “Reports that say that something hasn’t happened are always […]

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How to fix pension charges

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote a response to an article that claimed that investors were paying 3% in pension charges. We showed that this was not true, but a valid point was raised, pension charges are opaque and need to be more transparent for investors. Get rid of allocation rates Allocation rates are […]

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