Maven Money – ‘five minute money message’ transcript

Maven Money is a fantastic podcast that takes a no nonsense approach to investing and wealth creation. As Andy Hart states in his intros, he is looking to ‘ensure you behave your way to wealth and don’t misbehave your way to poverty’.

His podcast presents actionable approaches to managing your finances: a fantastic resource for those looking to change their behaviour around money.

Last week, Andy released an episode titled, Five minute money message. This included a collection of useful quotes, and while I don’t agree with absolutely all of them, the vast majority I found to be thought quite provoking that will hopefully pave the way for you to, at least, consider alternative approaches to how you think about your money.

I found this such a useful resource that I wanted to put it in writing to refer back to when I needed some inspiration, which I hope you will find useful too.

Andy’s podcast is just one of many fantastic financial learning tools available. For more ideas, take a look at my list of podcasts to see if any take your fancy.

Enjoy…

 

 

“If you do use credit cards to maintain an expensive lifestyle, to impress people you barely know, this is a huge financial mistake”

[Intro]

“Being born poor is no ones fault, dying poor is. We have to take personal responsibility; we have to grow up and become financial literates, It’s a journey, a long journey, it’s not easy; why should it be easy?”

“Money is the story you tell yourself, as is most things in life, stop carrying negative money stories around, no one really cares”

“You should know how many months left you have on your wealth window. Your wealth window is from now until you stop receiving an earned income. I have 264 months left on my wealth window. Always quote months, years sound like an eternity”

“You have two important stages in life, your savings stage aka your wealth window, and then your spending stage aka retirement. All other traditional life stages are really transitions, which are all on-going and fluid”

“Life’s a balance between enjoying now and planning for then”

“Don’t ever think you can make money by financial trading: FX commodities or any other flavours of this form of gambling. The people who make money are the trading training companies and the financial bookmakers. The loser rates are off the charts. They rely on new blood aka mugs coming through, frequently middle-aged men with excess income and excess egos. ‘Surely I can beat the odds’ – no you can’t, grow up”

“Stick to wealth creation strategies that have always worked, this is either setting up your own business, or if you’re an employee, invest in all the other great businesses of the world: the stock market”

“Poor people save; rich people invest”

“The other wealth creation vehicle that has always worked is investing in physical property, which I call ‘bricks’. The only two ways to create real wealth, is investing in businesses or bricks – both provide a rising income and rising capital values over multi decades, history being our guide”

“Asset class index investing will beat 90% of your neighbours if you stick to it for one decade. If you stick to it to multi decades you’ll beat 99% of them. Each year an index fund is owned by a disciplined investor, it incrementally outperforms its peers and neighbours – it’s basic maths which few seem to want to understand”

“Once a globally diversified index fund portfolio has been purchased never, ever sell it; it will always be a mistake and it will always be your mistake. A permanent loss in a globally well-diversified equity portfolio is a human achievement of which the market is incapable”

“Maximise your pensions at work and benefit from your employers maxed, matched contribution; this is free money: very rare”

“If you run your own business, get investing and saving now and invest more than you think, you’re way behind the employees, trust me”

“Ideally, invest your age as a percentage of your net income. If you’re aged 30 invest 30% of your net income; if you’re aged 45 you should invest 45% of your net income. Most people can’t do this, me included. As a minimum default you should think 20% of your take home net pay you should be investing.

“Remember investing today, is spending of tomorrow of your future self; your future self should be your biggest monthly bill, more than your mortgage, certainly more than your holidays and cars”

“Ideally increase your top line which is your income. If you can’t do this, then your only other financial option is to reduce your bottom line, which is your expenses. Lifestyle creep is way more pervasive than we all think”

“Most people make financial decisions as a result of what happens close to them. Rich is richer than me  – Jordan Peterson”

“Credit cards can be really helpful during periods of your life, it’s best not to use them. If you do use credit cards to maintain an expensive lifestyle to impress people you barely know, this is a huge financial mistake; you deserve all you get financially”

“Delayed gratification is one of the most mature money skills”

“Insure yourself against bad surprises: hit by a car, serious illness, cancer, heart attack, stroke. If you don’t, when you most need it you’ll be uninsurable”

“Most people set up insurances as a consequences of some devastating personal news about a friend or a loved one. It is what it is. You hope all your insurance premiums are an utter waste of money, I know I do but I know this game well”

“Know you are, and have been, the biggest wealth destroyer of all; learn to not be”

“Becoming wise about your money will be the best gift you can give to yourself; financial literacy is a super power”

“Buy cheap, buy twice”

“Great financial advice is not a cost it’s an investment, they’re between you and all of you’re decisions which is invaluable”

“Tax is likely your biggest expense, learn how to control its impact. Also be happy that you have, or will have large tax bills, it will mean you are doing really well. You should frame tax as a good thing”

“The stock market, the great businesses of the world, reward the patient and punish the rest. Mistake of admission, as in things that you didn’t do, usually due to fear, have a far more deverstating, long term impact than actual mistakes of action: mistakes you actually made”

“Learn from the mistakes of others”

 

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It’s financial planning week (7 – 11 Oct.)

Financial planning week logo 2019

October brings with it a number of significant events in your calender, namely Halloween and the dreaded Brexit deadline.

But there’s another event running during this month, and it’s happening right now.

Financial planning week, an initiative run by The Chartered Institute of Securities and Investment (CISI), offers free, one-hour sessions for those looking to get some guidance with their finances; from inheritance tax to investing.

So whether you’re looking to make a significant change to the way you think about money, or simply looking for a financial health check-up, take 5 minutes out of your week to follow this link and see how you can benefit and embrace a healthier financial future.

What is a financial planner?

“A financial planner is a qualified investment professional who helps individuals and corporations meet their long-term financial objectives.” (Investopedia: 2019).

It may initially seem that only those with vast sums of wealth need assistance from financial planners, but the right planner can provide benefits far beyond where to put your hard earned cash.

It’s not just about trying to get you to buy various financial products they may, or may not, be receiving commission from; a planner can guide you towards your life goals and keep you focused when things are looking rough.

A planner can help you shape a lifestyle and teach you about using money as a tool and not just the ones and zeros on a screen.

Many specialise in specific areas within the world of finance. So if you’re thinking of obtaining the services of a financial planner, make sure you’ve thoroughly done your research: what qualifications do they have? What is the fee structure they charge and is this the best option for me? Are they independent or are they associated with an advisory/ planning company that may push the price up unnecessarily?

Many people may never need the services of a financial planner, but it’s always worth considering, especially if it’s your attitude and psychology towards money that needs changing.

A lot of what the majority of people, looking to better themselves financially, need to know can be found online at no cost. If you’re looking for guidance, before paying for someone else’s knowledge, have a look at the list of useful links and resources page to see if your query has already been answered for free.

 

 

Sources:

https://www.investopedia.com/terms/f/financialplanner.asp

 

 

FIRE for the moon but be content to fall amongst the FI stars

FIRE cartoon

There’s a movement that’s be brewing within the finance world for a number of years, knocking on the door of the mainstream and threatening to overturn convention.

It’s a concept that subverts the accepted, and perceived inevitable, norm around how you should live and spend your way through life.

I’m talking about the FIRE movement: Financial independence, retire early.

 

“Those seeking to attain FIRE intentionally maximize their savings rate by finding ways to increase income or decrease expenses. The objective is to accumulate assets until the resulting passive income provides enough money for living expenses in perpetuity.” (Wikipedia: 2019).

 

Its ideas originate from books such as, Your Money or Your Life and blogs like Early Retirement Extreme and Financial Samurai. Following these, articles such as, Mr Money Mustache’s eye opening post The Shockingly Simple Math Behind Retiring Early popularised the concept and detailed the power of optimising your spending along with the incredible power of compound interest over time.

Of course, a lot of what underpins the FIRE movement can be quite off-putting to a lot of people from the get go before they’ve even considered the additional benefits its concepts can bring.

In theory, a 50% savings rate allows an individual to retire in just 17 years and a 65% rate reduces that to just 10.5, allowing that person to escape the need to work; the no longer work to live, they live to work…working has become a choice not a necessity. This is seemingly unachievable for many families and individuals with expensive responsibilities and those on low wages and unavoidable high costs such as rent.

But it’s the lifestyle lessons that allow this to be more than just a ‘rich man’s game’. Many that practise what this concept teaches are not on six figure salaries or lucky enough to be born into rich families with trust funds.

In an age where debt is becoming normalised and adverts are constantly being pushed on you at every turn to buy the next latest and greatest, FIRE teaches us to take a step back from this rabid consumerism and take a financial breather.

FIRE requires you to build a solid, long-term budget and spend less than you earn. This enables the individual to take back control of their spending, value experiences over things and focus on savings rate and percentages rather than numerical amounts.

While this may be out of reach for many, you can still apply the principles to your everyday life.

Do I really need that next iPhone? Am I really squeezing the best deal out of my insurance company? Are my savings working for ME and not further lining the CEO of insert bank here’s pockets?

Even if you don’t manage to retire before the age you can withdraw your private pension, you can still reap the benefits of maintaining a budget, regular savings/ investments and realising the real value in the things you buy (some of the key principles of FIRE).

The FI part of FIRE really highlights its applicability at any level of income. But what’s the harm in aiming for a 50% savings rate. Try it out for one month.

Take an afternoon to shop around for the best energy and insurance deals; make a meal plan for the whole month to reduce wasted money on food that goes uneaten, then with this excess money, throw it at a low cost index fund (see this link for more info).

If you don’t hit the 50% rate…so what? No bother…reset and try again, but this time with a 40% savings rate target. Keep doing this until you find a rate you’re comfortable with that you can realistically stick to – remember this is all about consistency and perseverance, getting yourself into a routine of tucking money away and thinking about money as a tool rather than just numbers on a screen). Furthermore, don’t beat yourself up about having a duff month where you end up spending your wages on something like a big holiday…that’s also ok. Just reset the next month and go again. Here you’re showing good financial intentions and you’re aiming for the FIRE moon, not being afraid to fall amongst the FI stars…most of us will end up there anyway. FIRE isn’t about depriving yourself of fun…again it’s about being intentional.

The same applies to your pension. If your company matches any contributions you make to your private pension…DO IT! This is free money both from your employer and from the tax relief you get from the money coming out of your pre-tax pay cheque.

Learn to live off of less money. Any excess windfalls you receive: bonuses or inheritance. Pretend it never happened. Tuck it away into a high interest account or invest it again into a low cost index fund (link again to show how much you can benefit from these). Your future self will thank you.

Likewise, if you have recently managed to clear some debt, use this to your advantage. Up until this point you have been used to budgeting a certain amount each month to go towards paying down the aforementioned debt and then living off of the rest. So why not continue to do this? Hear me out…

This time, however, instead of putting that set amount towards the debt, because it’s now clear, redirect this money into a savings/ investment account and continue to live on the money you have been used to living off of when you had debt. This avoids lifestyle inflation and gives you a nice little pot you wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Overall, the FIRE movement teaches us, at all levels of income and stages of life, to be purposeful with our money, to be patient with it and allow it to grow and work on behalf of us. Even if we don’t end up retiring much earlier than the standard retirement age, at least you’ve given yourself the independence and security to weather any financial storms that come your way. Say no to living pay cheque to pay cheque and resigning yourself to a life of financial struggles. There are so many options open to you if you look for them. You CAN change your behaviour towards money if you really want it.

 

Sources:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/FIRE_movement

Updates to the site…

Financial education is woefully lacking in the U.K at every stage of life, and while Martin Lewis has this nailed down on his site Money Saving Expert, I wanted to create something for all learning styles.

As a result, I am in the process of creating a number of useful links to resources of all mediums: websites, books, video channels, articles, forums, podcasts etc. for anyone to jump into and use as they see fit.

Because we don’t all learn from reading…

     …and reading…

                                                                                    …and reading…*Snores loudly*

Some of us like a good physical book to escape the relentless screen time we all seem to be destined to face in this modern age; some are visual learners; others may prefer to learn through likeminded individuals and discuss topics at a similar educational level, or be challenged against those that know a lot more. There are also those of us that like to drift off and be talked at through a podcast while we go about our daily routine.

So above you will find two, I hope, handy resources: the podcasts and the list of useful links and resources to other sites and channels.

These will be continually updated, and none will be added that I haven’t used personally and have subsequently found incredibly useful.

If you know of any that I could add, please feel free to comment or message me directly.

Everyone is invested in something

Everyone is invested in something cartoon

I became interested in investing through my realisation that, no matter how ignorant I am towards the subject, throughout my life, being invested in something is going to be inevitable, and that I should probably start taking note of the how, the why and the where.

Not interested in investing? Unfortunately you probably already are invested and most definitely should be interested. Your financial future could be determined by the level of interest you take in the subject, especially if you still have considerable time on your side.

Pensions

Whether you’re a PAYE employee or self-employed worker contributing to a SIPP (self invested personal pension), you are undoubtedly invested in the stock market in some form or another.

Retirement is not a right; it is a state of financial comfort allowing you to never work again after a certain age. But getting to this point takes time, commitment and a little understanding on how the process works.

If your pension/s is going to be the thing that allows you to live a full life in your twilight years, then why would you not be interested in how it’s going to do that?

Your pension can be composed of all sorts of investment options whether that’s funds, individual shares, bonds, REITS or cash (there are many other options on top of these).

Understanding these terms and which ones of these your pension is comprised of is key to making the most out of your money that you have set aside to provide for you in later life.

Small differences now (in your 20s and 30s…hell even your 40s and 50s) can make a huge difference when you come to withdrawing it years down the line. This can be something simple like transferring you pension to a provider that charges a lower fee (compounding fees over a long time are just as impactful as compound interest over time…watch out!), or moving more of your pension out of cash and into an investment vehicle that is going to see your money grow.

So become interested; ask your HR department who your pension provider is and how to log into your account. Make sure you’re maximising the free money that is employer contributions (it is the law that they have to offer at least something unless you have opted out).

After all, this is YOUR money. If you have never taken the time to look into your pension, and have worked somewhere for a considerable time, you may be pleasantly surprised at just how much you have amassed.

Education   

It’s not just our pensions we invest in. Many other aspects of our life require the time and patience that could fall under the category of being an investment.

Education is something every one of us has experienced and something that can be considered one of the most important investments we will make.

Whether that’s choosing certain subjects you’re not just interested in but believe will enhance your career prospects, or whether to take on an apprenticeship or apply for university, you can potentially be making huge educational investment decisions at a very early stage or your life.

It’s not just the big decisions you make that can affect your future. Along your journey through education you will have a number of opportunities to enhance your experiences and add another string to your bow. This could be taking an additional course out of hours at university or getting involved in some voluntary capacity with a charity – everything adds to the portfolio of you.

Relationships

Investing in your relationships works a lot like your money within the market; you will inevitably have to give something in order to get something out of it, whether that’s fees or riding out the down turns, you ultimately hope to slowly see progress and growth.

It may be a crude way of viewing something that’s supposed to be a natural connection between individuals, but the concepts can be applied just as effectively.

You can’t develop relationships with someone without taking at least some risk. You are, therefore, investing your time, and money in the hope that you will come to the point where you have established and grown a meaningful and significant connection with someone. Without this initial investment, it becomes incredibly difficult to get to this point.

Business ownership

Without investment, a business cannot grow. When just starting off, any revenue made from sales or services related to a business must be reinvested in areas that allow a business to move forward.

Again, this comes with an element of risk…will it continue to grow? Is the money being invested in the right areas? But without this risk you will not reap the rewards.

Netflix

We’ve all done it. Binged our way through a box set, only to look up from our TVs and realise two days have passed, you haven’t had a shower and you have created your own customer buttock crater in your sofa.

You might not think it an investment, but it is…of sorts.

You’ve employed your time and interests into a particular show, ploughed through the exciting and engaging episodes and held strong through the boring ones that make you realise how they ever got past post-production.

*

With all these forms of investment, risk doesn’t have to be a scary thing. If embraced and understood, risk should be viewed as potential and not this scary ominous entity, hidden in the shadows that must be avoided at all costs.

You take risks in every aspect of your life. Hell even crossing the road or commuting to work comes with some element of risk.

We are willing to fly in metal cylinders filled with explosive jet fuel to get to far off places thousands of feet in the air; prepared to ride the tallest and fastest rollercoasters with just a metal bar across your lap to stop you falling out. Yet we are quick to disregard the financial markets for fear of our money disappearing in an instant (which is highly unlikely if invested efficiently).

So take some time to reflect in what you are currently invested in. Are you effectively allocating your time and resources to the areas most important to you?

And finally, understand your pension. I’ll say it again, it is YOUR money; it will have a monumental effect on your quality of life in your later years. Get interested; get investing.

A handy help from the help to buy (ISA)

Help to Buy cartoon

The Help to Buy (H2B) scheme ends on 31st November after being active for four years since its release in December 2015.

With over £285million* (as of March 2019) in bonuses paid out the scheme has proved quite popular.

However, with all good things there must come an end; but unlike an ice cream or a nice cold beer, the H2B ISA has a nice little prologue that may prove to be even beneficial than the main story: the Lifetime ISA.

The successor to the H2B, the Lifetime ISA (or LISA), allows you to pay in up to £4,000 a year with a 25% bonus top up paid directly into the account 4-6 weeks after the deposit is sent. One of the major downsides with this new product comes with the withdrawal fee; if you wish to withdraw any money in your LISA for any reason other than buying a house or after you are 60+ years of age, you will incur a 25% fee on the overall value – so 6.25% of the monies you have actually contributed.

For more information on the LISA, this link to MoneySavingExperts guide should provide all you need to know.

Despite the looming deadline of its impending departure, the H2B Isa still has its uses where interests rates have fallen short in recent years.

Any funds held in a H2B account are held in cash, and as we know, interest on cash in the bank since the 2008 crash have been abysmal. But the H2B account usually provides its owner with significantly better interest rates than any other cash ISA, or indeed any other easy access savings account, currently available (up to 2.58% with Barclays and 2.5% with Nationwide).

“But AMM, isn’t the H2B just for purchasing your first property?”

“Well, yeah…kinda.”

However, as there is no withdrawal feel – like the LISA – you could effectively use the H2B as a substitute cash saver, withdrawing any money in the H2B account whenever you see fit (while being aware of the limitations).

With a £1,200 initial deposit and £200 a month thereafter, the H2B provides a fair alternative to the measly rates you’re currently getting on your cash.

Furthermore, despite its closure at the end of November, the H2B product will still be open to those who have already opened an account for the next 10 years, as long as it is opened before the deadline has passed. It’s important to note that, if you’re using your H2B this way and not for a first home, you will obviously not receive the 25% bonus.

A regular saver or high interest debit account may still be a better option, but if you want less faff, and for any additional cash holdings you have, or if you want to keep your cash within the ISA wrapper, a H2B ISA, being used a cash account, may be worth your consideration.

 

Source

*https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/820611/Final_Official_Statistics_Publication_-_July_2019.pdf

Investing and risotto

Risotto cartoon

I love a good analogy, so when I read Fretful Finance’s savings fountain post, my analogous juices started flowing for one of my own.

One of the biggest obstacles in investing is the getting started. You can read all the investing for dummies books and watch all the Plain Bagel videos you can cram into your day, but if you don’t at least begin to dip your toe into the waters of the financial markets, you won’t ever give yourself a chance of making a penny.

So where does risotto come into this?

Much like the aforementioned investing ‘stage fright’ – that investing is only for those with experience and knowledge a mere ‘normallo’ like me couldn’t possibly possess – the biggest obstacles that comes with cooking a decent risotto often comes from an individual’s apathy that a risotto takes too much time, can go wrong incredibly easily if you take your eye off of the cookery pot and should be best left to chefs that know what they’re doing.

So let us go through the stages a beginner, retail investor typically goes during their investment journey…through the medium of risotto making…

Choosing your ingredients

Ingredients

Investing– Read some introductory books on investing or at least glance over some of the popular blogs online and take in the diverse array of investment options open to you. Will it be passive or active or a mixture of both? Will you choose individual stocks or a collection of funds and trackers? All options can make you money, it’s just a case of doing your research in order to create a plan that allows you to achieve your investment goal. All goals lead ultimately to the same outcome with investing: make more money than when you started.

Risotto– Jump onto Google, type in ‘risotto’ and click on the first link you see for recipe ideas. Will it be bacon and mushroom or spinach and parmesan? There are a multitude of possibilities for a variety of different tastes, ultimately with the same goal in mind – making a tasty rice dish.

The sizzling start

Sizzling

InvestingYou’ve done it! You’ve thrown your first amount into the market in some form or another. But within a month of your first deposit the market falls 10%, a market correction has occurred and you’re now experiencing your first obstacle investing, whether to pull the plug or be brave and hold your nerve.

Risotto – You’ve prepared your ingredients and you’re off! Throwing in the onions and mushrooms into a hot oiled pan turns your kitchen into a chaotic and noisy affair. Bits of onion that haven’t quite come in contact with the oil are sticking to the pan, and the mushrooms are cooking too quickly. This is your moment to stick or twist; can you salvage your dish or will it quickly turn sour before you’ve even really begun?

A rice approach

Add the rice

Investing– You’ve come through the initial storm and accepted the market’s erratic behaviour. As a result, you feel comfortable enough to add a second amount to your new portfolio and maybe even a second fund or stock holding; your portfolio is starting to materialise.

Risotto – You have the onions and mushrooms under control but you’ve realised that they’ll continue to cook and could burn if not watched every now and again. You continue on to the next stage by adding the rice where your risotto begins to take shape.

Drip-feeding your ‘stock’

Add the stock

Investing– You’re beginning to understand the ebb and flow of the market, and started to accept this as normal and inevitable. You have, however, begun to realise your best option for long term, amateur investing, is to drip feed an amount at regular intervals throughout the year in order to take advantage of pound cost averaging. Automating your investment journey creates the least stress and stabilises your mind in order to reach your end goal.

Risotto– Your risotto is starting to take shape after the noise and chaos of frying off your ingredients and rice. Adding your stock is bringing a sense of calm and starting to bring the dish together. Being patient and continuing to gradually add your stock at regular intervals will eventually prove your hard work worthwhile if you stick to the plan.

 

So investing is a lot like making a risotto. You need to first break down these pre-conceived ideas that it’s too time consuming and takes up too much of your time to be worthwhile. Realise that it’s a (mostly) simple process, made all the less burdensome by being patient and adding to your portfolio in small but regular intervals.

If investing really isn’t for you, you could always resort to the short-term gratification, kebab shop burger (leaving your money in cash). But I guarantee you the journey is a lot less exciting and the end result a whole lot less lucrative….

Finished article

…and tasty.