Tag Archive: Financial goals

  1. Your best year yet!

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    Before your new year celebrations begin, may I wish you a very happy, healthy and prosperous 2016 Norman.

    The new year can bring various emotions to many. For some we get excited to celebrate and for others it reminds us of loved ones, who have since past.

    We cannot control the future and the events that happen, but we can prepare ourselves for them by deciding how we will live.

    Some people call these decisions ‘new year resolutions’, others goals or intentions. Whatever your terminology you are more likely to achieve what you want in 2016 if you decide what it is you want.

    Goal setting is a little like Marmite, some love it, others hate it – most people when asked why they don’t like it will tell you that it’s because ‘it doesn’t work’ – often it’s because it did not work for them when they last did it. To protect themselves and to avoid failure, it’s safer not to be disappointed.

    If life is worth living, it’s worth living by design.

    So, take a moment, before you rush back to the office and get caught up with 2016, to ask yourself how you would like to live in 2016?

    A great question to ask yourself would be:

    ‘If we were having this conversation on 31st December 2016 — and you were to look back over those 12 months to today—what has to have happened during that period, both personally and professionally, for you to feel happy about your progress?

    Your answer to the question clearly defines your “Future-Based Self” and this knowledge enables you to begin taking action towards your future reality.

    To help yourself succeed, break your 12 month goals into quarterly targets and then into monthly actions. A lot can happen in 12 months, and it’s easy to get caught up in life and forget what it is you really wanted.

    To keep the goals at the forefront of your mind, keep them posted in a prominent place, like the bathroom mirror or your desk at work – and if you really want to ensure you make it – read them each morning when you wake and night before you sleep.

    For those of you who will set goals for 2016 – I wish you every success and remember, I am here if I can help with anything.

    Happy New Years Eve and 2016 – let’s make it the best year yet!

  2. Sticking with it!

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    It’s often said that the secret of success in any endeavour is “stickability”, your capacity for staying committed to a goal. But success also depends on having goals you can stick with. Managing that tension is what an adviser does.

    Inspired by the impressive weight-loss of a work colleague, a portly middle-aged man decides to copy the programme that gave his friend such results. It’s a crushing regime, involving zero carbs, 5am sprint sessions and mountain biking.

    You can guess what happened. The aspiring dieter lasted about a week on the programme before throwing it all in and returning to sedentary life, donuts and beer.

    It may have been better for this individual to get some advice first, starting slowly, swapping the mountain biking for brisk walks around the block and dumping the zero carb diet for light beer. He may not have shed weight as quickly as his friend, but he probably would have had a better chance of sticking with the plan in the longer term.

    Similar principles apply with investment. You envy acquaintances who seem to have succeeded with high-risk strategies, but that doesn’t necessarily mean those are right for you. And in any case, their barbecue talk may leave out key information, like how they sit up all night watching the market and worrying.

    Just as the want-to-be weight loser can’t live with 5am sprints, not everyone can stick with highly volatile investments that keep them up at night or that cause them to constantly second-guess themselves. And few people can do it without a trainer.

    On the other hand, reaching a long-term goal like losing weight and building wealth requires accepting the possibility of pain and uncertainty in the short-term.

    The trick is finding the right balance between your desire to satisfy your long-term aspirations and your ability to live with the discomfort in the here and now. Quite often, this tension can be managed through compromise. In other words, you can accept some temporary anxiety or you can moderate your goals.

    The point is you have choices. And the role of a financial adviser is to help you understand what they are. So, for example, an adviser can assist you in clarifying your goals and setting priorities. Which is more important—the family holiday or the education fund? Perhaps you can do both by swapping the overseas resort for a camping holiday without dipping into the education fund.

    It’s just like a personal trainer would be unlikely to recommend an out-of-shape sedentary business executive to start running marathons or try to halve his body weight in six months. The job of the trainer, or an adviser, is to manage your expectations and ensure the goals you are pursuing work with everything else you want to achieve in your life.

    An adviser can also assess your capacity for taking risk. Not all of us are thrill seekers. And that’s perfectly OK. A portfolio that’s right for one person may be all wrong for another. That’s because each individual’s circumstances, risk appetites and goals are different. A financial plan shouldn’t be a cookie-cutter approach.

    A third contribution an adviser can make is to help you manage through change. Our lives are not static. We change jobs, our incomes evolve, we take on new responsibilities like children and mortgages, we deal with aging parents, we move cities and countries. Nothing stays the same and a financial plan shouldn’t either.

    So not only do different people have different goals, but each person’s own goals evolve in unique ways as they move through life. Reaching those goals requires a detailed and realistic plan, plus a commitment to stay with it. Some people may be up for the triathlon when they’re young and fit. But in later years, they might just need a more conservative programme of stretching and walking.

    You can try doing this on your own, of course. But it makes it easier if you have someone to keep you focused, keep you disciplined and help you change course when the circumstances of life require it.

    Now that’s stickability.

  3. Is Investing in the Stock Market More Like Golf or Tennis?

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    Every sport has a certain way to measure performance. For example: 

    • Running is based on time.
    • The high jump is based on feet and inches.
    • Football goals
    • Rugby tries
    • The decathlon is based on the cumulative score from 10 different events.

     So, how do we measure success as an investor?