Whether you’re a passive investor, a co-pilot or a pilot, there are three key principles that universally apply to all investors, and which you should take into consideration before choosing to invest:
What are your objectives? • What is your time horizon? • What is your risk tolerance?
Understanding your objectives
“Entrepreneurs in particular are focused on growing their own businesses, and they generally know that they can get the best return on their investment in their own companies,” says Warren Ingram, investment expert and founder of Galileo Capital.
“For example, if your company is experiencing 40% year-on-year growth, that’s a much higher return than you’d make investing your money elsewhere. And of course you’re putting all your cash back into the business because you need it for growth and cash flow purposes.”
On the other hand, this also means that all your eggs are literally in one basket. Having some money in outside investments provides a safety net.
“Whether you need a safety net or not often relates to your time frame,” says Ingram. “Objectives and time horizons influence each other.”
The time horizon factor
A 30-year-old entrepreneur whose business is growing and generating cash is in a very different position to a 55-year-old entrepreneur.
“Younger entrepreneurs have 20 or 30 years before they need access to the funds they’ve invested and grown in their businesses,” explains Ingram.
“They can afford to wait for the higher returns. Older entrepreneurs on the other hand might be looking to exit the company within a few years. Your time horizon should be aligned to your objective. Keeping your cash in your business will give you higher returns (provided the business continues to grow), but the investment takes time. If you need to see returns sooner, it might make more sense to invest elsewhere.”
Tolerance for risk is an incredibly personal choice.
“Many entrepreneurs like to be in control of their money. If it’s in their business, they have more control over it than if it’s invested in the stock market, for example,” says Ingram.
“As the business grows and they choose to diversify however, they might start investing in the market. The problem comes when the market dips. A classic case is an entrepreneur who sees the market dip, and immediately pulls their money out and puts it back into the business. All they’ve done is lose money.
“Investing is about patience. Markets dip, and then they grow. You need long-term objectives and patience. We often find that entrepreneurs look at their business, and compare their 40% growth to the market’s 20% growth. They’ll choose their business every time. What you need to remember is that nothing gives you 20% year after year.
“Early business growth is usually enormous — your return on investment is high, and your company needs cash to grow. It doesn’t make sense to put your money anywhere else. But once that initial large growth is over and you have surplus cash to invest, be patient with that investment. Don’t have quick, gut reactions when the market turns — it will come back.”
Related: Invent the Wheel or Invest in It?
The value of a plan
Ingram believes that having a plan in place is the best way to ensure you’re investing your money wisely, whether that’s in your business or elsewhere.
“We’re an entrepreneurial company. In our early years we also only invested in ourselves; and each time we launch a new business, that’s a brand new investment again. We understand how entrepreneurs think because we think in the same way. This means we know there’s no point in trying to convince an entrepreneur to not invest in themselves when their returns are higher than the market.
“But, we will always recommend having a plan. Set objectives for yourself. Plan to invest all surplus cash into your business for the next five years, and thereafter to diversify and invest 50% into the market, or buy property. You generally need 1 000 days (or three years) for any investment to see stable growth, so while your goals are variable, have patience.”
“We categorise pilots as investors who want to be able to touch, see, feel and control their investments. They might not have all their money in their businesses, but they’re not just handing it over to a broker either.
“We would recommend direct shares such as ETFs (exchange traded funds) as they’re commodity based, as well as investing in physical property, such as commercial buildings and houses that can generate rent.”
Next, Ingram recommends going back to the objectives. “Does the investment need to generate income or not? If it does, it makes sense to not put every cent into shares, but to invest in property as well. You then need to weight up all the risks associated with each investment.
“For example, we often see an investor buy the building that their offices are housed in. This does well, and so they decide to purchase a second property. However, now you’re not your own tenant. What happens when your tenants can’t pay? All your money is now a concentrated risk in one asset. Yes, you can see it, touch it and control it, but it’s still a risk.
“Instead, we advise spreading that risk out. Purchase smaller properties across industrial, retail and residential sectors, or buy shares in a listed property company or property ETFs. That way, for one trading cost you’re spreading your risk across multiple properties.”
If you believe you’re a pilot and you want to be in control of your investments, Ingram recommends you start with a small percentage of your funds and play with them. “Learn to invest by doing,” he says.
“You’ll either be successful or each investment decision will bomb. Rather find out which before you invest everything.”
“You also need to be honest with yourself and pay attention to the market. If you lose 10% and the market loses 30%, you’re doing well. On the other hand, if the market does 20% and you only do 5%, there’s a problem. You can’t invest in a bubble. You need to pay attention to what’s happening around you.”
One final piece of advice: Just because you’ve successfully started and run a business does not mean you’re necessarily a good investor. “The two don’t correlate,” warns Ingram. “So start slow.”
Related: Insider Insights from Investors
Co-pilots typically want to manage their own investments, but they want to do so to a structured plan.
“We find that many investors come to us for advice and help with putting an investment plan together, but they still want to manage their own portfolios. They want to know the obvious things to avoid, and be given some broad advice,” says Ingram.
“Then there are investors who invest a percentage of their funds with us, and keep a percentage to play with themselves. They’re comfortable knowing they have a safety net, but also some control over their personal investments.”
According to Ingram, whether an investor is a pilot or co-pilot isn’t always linked to financial acumen.
“Some people will migrate between the three groups over the course of their lifetime, and we often find that financially sophisticated entrepreneurs who don’t have the expertise or experience in investing will actually be co-pilots or even passive investors. It’s really down to what you feel comfortable with in terms of how you structure your investments.”
The passive investor
If you’re going to be a passive investor who relies on an advisor, there are a few things you need to take into consideration.
First, understand the costs involved. “If you make use of an advisor, they must disclose their costs,” advises Ingram.
“Anything more than 2,5% a year is expensive. The closer you get to 1%, the better your deal. Always ask an advisor how much they charge.”
Second, understand the efficiency of your various options. “Do you want to invest in ETFs, unit trusts, a range of shares or a managed share portfolio that you can track? Entrepreneurs don’t tend to like retirement annuities (RAs) because they can’t access them, and they tend to want liquidity in case they need to access cash. Always consider what you want from your investment before you make any decisions.”
Ingram also advises you to take the time to understand what you’re investing in. “How are shares performing versus unit trusts, for example,” he says.
“How are either doing within context? You need to look at the investment over five to ten years, and then compare it to the market. If a particular fund or share is matching the market, then it’s reasonably efficient.
“ETFs will always be efficient because you’re essentially buying the most efficient funds in the market, and the JSE, or any traded environment, is regulated, and therefore a safer investment.
“Also be wary of investments that are too good to be true, with extremely high promised returns. Currently, the best return you can expect is 7,5% over inflation. That’s the norm. Investments that are much higher than that are probably too good to be true.”
Ingram also advises passive investors to stay away from complex investments. “You should understand your investment within a 15 to 30 minute conversation. If you can’t, walk away. It’s too complex, and likely to be a pyramid scheme. Always take the time to ask questions and make sure you understand what you’re investing your money in.”
Getting your will in order
Most of us don’t like thinking about the fact that we’re not infallible, but the reality is that we aren’t and we should have proper plans in place should something unforeseen happen.
“As the year begins, the first thing you should be thinking about is your succession plan,” advises Warren Ingram.
“You don’t necessarily need a trust, but at the very least you should take stock once a year: What’s changed? How does this affect your family and business? How does it affect your will?”
According to Ingram, the beginning of the year is a great time to evaluate a few things:
- Are your spouse and children looked after in the event of your death?
- What happens to your business?
- How will it get sold to the right buyer, and at what value?
- Is there a buy/sell agreement in place?
- How is the business valuation done, and has anything changed in the last year that will affect this evaluation?
“This might not be something we enjoy focusing on, but it’s essential,” says Ingram. “You’ve built a business to take care of your future and that of your family, so make sure your will and succession plan are in place.”
5 Insider Tips Every Trader Needs to Know
Here are five insider tips that every trader needs to know.
Like in every profession, there are a lot of figures circulating regarding how many forex traders actually make money, and how many traders lose more money than they earn. We are not going to launch into speculations that we can’t prove with accurate statistics. However, there is one thing we can say without citing any official sources: there are more people losing money than those earning.
Why? The answer can be found in the annals of human psychology. Some go into forex expecting to get rich overnight, while others do not (understandably) have the time to dedicate themselves fully to this activity. So what can you do, concretely, to join the group of people earning money? Here are five insider tips that every trader needs to know.
1. Choose a Methodology and Stick With It
Even before executing your first trade, you need to have a rough idea on what you will base your decisions on. In this sense, you must know what intel you will need to make the appropriate decision, like when to enter and exit a trade, which timeframes are the best (more on that later) and so on and so forth.
Some people are partial toward fundamental factors (foreign investments, inflation, unemployment rates, and other economic indicators), coupled with a chart, for executing a trade. Others prefer the raw numbers and stats of technical analysis.
But, whichever methodology you choose, make sure to be consistent and that it is adaptive, as there is no objective way to tell if one is truly better than the other. The most important thing to consider is whether or not your methodology and the strategies built around it are adaptive enough to keep up with the changing dynamics of the forex market.
2. Always Calculate Your Expectancy
Expectancy is a formula that traders use to determine how reliable their trading system is. It involves going back in time to your previous trades (a journal will come in handy here), measuring how many traders were winners versus losers, and then finding out how profitable your winning trades were as opposed to how much money was lost after bad trades. The formula is as follows:
E=[1+(W/L) x P – 1, wherein W is the average winning trade, L represents Average Losing Trade, while P is Percentage Win Ratio.
3. Define Your Trading Goals and Build a Strategy Fitting of Your Personality
Most forex beginners come into the market thinking that they know everything that one could possibly know, without any sort of long term plan or concrete goals. This is the one mistake that eventually leads most traders to quit forex, because the reality of the market – and the trade itself – will hit them straight on sooner rather than later.
Therefore, the first thing you need to do is set a couple of goals. Start small and realistic at first – do not set yourself for winning a ridiculous amount of money in the first months because you will be sorely disappointed.
After setting the goals, you can start looking at various trading strategies and see which ones will help you achieve these goals and, most importantly, whether or not they are a good fit for your personality.
Some helpful questions to ask in this case are in the lines of ‘’Do I feel comfortable holding positions overnight?’’ or ‘’How much risk am I willing to assume for a given trade?’’, ‘’Am I more comfortable following a trend or betting against it?’’, ‘’Will I trade to gain some additional income, or full time?’’. Another equally viable method which will help you asses your strengths and weaknesses is doing a personal SWOT analysis.
4. Make use of Multi Time Frame Analysis
Regardless of whether you are a swing, day or long term position trader, it is highly recommended you always approach trading in a top-down fashion. This technique involves starting with a higher time frame chart and gradually zooming down to your current trading time frame chart. By doing this, you can get a ‘’big picture’’ view of the price action.
This tip is important because many traders commit the grave error of building their trading decisions around the time frame in which they are currently trading. For instance, when a trader sees a hammer candlestick pattern on a five-hour chart, they push forward with the trade without considering what might happen in the following time frame. What you are doing here is similar to a game of chess – you have to think a few steps ahead and choose your forex trading products and tools wisely in order to land a successful trade.
5. Do Not Use More Indicators Than Necessary
Indicators are simply visual representations of market realities that show things such as price movements, patterns and the like. As useful as they are, after trading for a while, you will soon realise that at some point they become quite counterproductive.
Many traders will tell you that the only indicator that you need is price, and everything else is there just to make one understand how the market got to that point. And since succeeding in the forex market is mostly about getting in on a trend before anyone else spots it, you can probably guess why over-crowding your monitor with indicators is not such a good idea.
Whatever some might tell you, forex is not a walk in the park. Like everything in life, it takes hard work and dedication to reach the point where you can state without doubt that you have achieved excellence. However, even the most dedicated and hard-working traders need a push in the right direction in the form of some lesser known insider tips that only traders will know. Hopefully, the tips in this article will provide you with the insight necessary to take your trading efforts to the next level.
The Comprehensive Beginner’s Guide To Investing (And Growing Your Personal Wealth)
Are you a first time investor? You may want to get some guidance before you know your way around the investment world. We’ve got you covered! Read on to learn more about the best types of investment options, strategies to grow wealth and the dangers and pitfalls to avoid in investing.
Why should I invest?
Keeping your life savings in your back pocket or under a mattress isn’t going to bring you the wealth you desire. “There are only two ways to make money in our modern world: By working, for yourself or someone else, and/or by having your assets work for you,” says trader, advisor, and author Alan Farley.
Investing means your money is working for you and gives you the opportunity to grow what you save or receive through inheritance. As an investor, you’ll generate money through interest on what you set aside or by purchasing assets that compound in value.
When is the best time to invest?
Start today. When it comes to investing, the magic of compounding is best achieved when you realise that time is of the essence. “Compounding makes your money work for you by earning returns today on the returns you earned yesterday,” explains Thandi Ngwane, Head of Strategic Markets at Allan Gray.
“If you start early and save consistently over long periods, less of your total amount saved will be from your contributions and more from growth.”
The earlier you begin contributing to your wealth, the more significant these deposits will be later, as your money has much longer to grow. You’ll also be able to contribute less as retirement age approaches.
But what happens if you didn’t save and invest right from when you received your first salary in your teens or twenties?
What can I do if I am only starting to invest in my 30s?
More than half of us only start saving at age 28, instead of when we start working, according to Discovery Invest. And many more adults only consider investing in their 30s, with a large number starting only when they hit 40.
Catching up on the compounded returns you could’ve accrued over the last five, 10 or 15 years becomes much more difficult with the added expenses of a typical 30-something-year-old. Major life events such as buying a home, getting married, having children and starting to save for their education can be expensive when you’re also investing in your future.
So, how do you overcome these major life events while still investing for the future? According America’s Millennial Money Expert, Robert Farrington: “The goal is financial balance. You can do both – save for the present and save for the future. But it requires a little more thought and effort.”
- Determine your investment choices based on your personal goals and risk tolerance
- The best way to build wealth in your thirties is still through saving, so select a portfolio allocation that matches your risk appetite
- Maintain a diversified portfolio of low cost ETFs.
What can I do if I am only starting to invest in my 40s?
If you’re 40 and over, your main financial focus should getting out of any debt you may still have. “Becoming debt-free and then you should focus on taking your savings to the next level,” says Schalk Louw, portfolio manager at PSG Wealth.
He advises you put any additional income – salary increases and bonuses – towards higher pension fund contributions, savings or paying off your debt. “While my preference for long-term savings will always be a share portfolio, those who find its risks too high, can always consider a savings account,” says Louw.
What should you start investing in?
So, now that you’ve established that you’re ready to invest, you should be considering your options. First, let’s look at the basic investments to start with:
1. Investment accounts
If you’re looking to save towards long-term financial goals, this is the type of account you should consider opening.
This investment can be used, for example, to supplement your pension or other income upon retirement, an investment account is an ideal way to maintain a good standard of living. An investment account is designed to set aside assets like stocks and bonds as income during retirement, to save money for your child’s education, or to put down a deposit for your first home.
Buying shares or equities gives you ownership of a certain percentage of a company. As a shareholder, you’re paid dividends – a portion of the companies’ profits. Shares are a risky, but beneficial form of investment. On the one hand, a decline in share price reduces the value of your investment, while the benefit of dividends is that they attract less tax compared to the other sources of investment returns.
Shares may take a significant amount of time before yielding dividends, but for long-term success, when your dividends pay out, they can be used either as income or as a reinvestment into your share portfolio.
“The combination of dividends and the growth in capital market value of your shares over time is the total return for your investment,” according to Discovery Invest. “It therefore gives you the best chance of beating inflation.”
Some of the pitfalls of equity investment, says Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa, include:
- Share prices for a company can fall dramatically
- If the company goes broke, you are the last in line to be paid, so you may not get your money back
- The value of your shares will go up and down from month-to-month and the dividend may vary.
Reduce your risk by investing in various sectors and shares.
3. Unit trusts
If you’re seeking an investment that provides you with easy and affordable access to financial markets, unit trusts are an option. Not only is this a smart way to save, while beating inflation, but a unit trust offers you exposure to a range of assets, explains Hutchison.
“Your money is combined with the money of other investors who have similar investment goals,” explains Ngwane. “Our investment managers use the pool of money to buy underlying investments to build a portfolio that is then split into equal portions called ‘units’. Units are allocated to you according to the amount of money you invest and the price of the units on the day you buy them.”
Hutchison notes the following disadvantages you should be aware of before investing in unit trusts:
- There are costs over and above those you’d pay if you were investing directly
- Unit trusts may not be as liquid as some other investments
- Reliance on managers to select the best appropriate funds.
How can you continue to grow your portfolio?
More complicated investment options
Investing in the JSE
When buying shares, there are three crucial considerations to be made: Which company’s shares to buy, the number of shares you want and how much you’re willing to pay for them.
The next step is an online, in-person, or telephonic discussion with your broker who’ll then forward your request to the JSE. Thereafter, your bid joins other requests to buy or sell shares on a central order book.
Finally, should the price you’re offering match with a seller at the same price, the JSE will ensure the transaction takes place, making you the new owner of the shares you requested.
Be aware of the risks
You could lose everything if you invest in one share and that company goes bankrupt. “You can diversify by buying into many different shares. An easy way to do this is to invest in something like an exchange-traded fund (ETF),” suggest experts from the JSE. “An ETF is essentially a basket of shares. You buy the basket and get anywhere from 10 to 600 different shares in that basket, reducing the amount you would lose if one company were to go bankrupt.”
Online share trading
As a potential first-time online investor, you may begin your journey by surfing a number of online share trading websites either those offered by all the major banks, or other providers.
“The biggest investment you make at this stage is in time,” says Brett Duncan, head of Standard Bank Online Share Trading. “You need to spend at least seven hours a week educating yourself – either studying newspapers or financial magazines, or tracking your portfolio.”
Be aware of the risks
According to PSG Online, no one should trade shares unless they have instituted risk control measures such as putting ‘stop loss’ controls in place. Share trading requires a high appetite for risk, time to watch the markets and an expert knowledge of the markets and trading process.
Darren Cohen, head of marketing at PSG Wealth, explains: “Making an informed financial decision is key to mitigating risk where one has considered the options that would best suit their personal needs. It‘s for this reason that client education is imperative to PSG Online’s mission of creating wealth for our clients.”
This type of investment affords you two options, says Maarten Ackerman, chief economist and advisory partner at Citadel: You can either take money out of the country by converting it into hard currency and investing it overseas, or you can choose a rand-denominated investment via a South African unit trust.
Should you select the second option, your money is consigned in a rand-denominated asset-swap fund, and the unit trust uses that money to invest offshore. When the money is eventually repatriated, it will be paid out in rands.
“Politically risk-averse investors will prefer to make use of direct offshore investing, as with this option the investor never has to repatriate or convert their investment back to rands,” says Magnus de Wet, director of Vista Wealth Management. “With a weakening rand, direct offshore investing would be the preferred investment approach.”
Be aware of the risks
Investing in any type of commodity involves potential loss. Two of the measures you can take to reduce risk are:
- Investing in low risk commodities, for example, a fixed deposit with an offshore bank
- Diversifying your offshore investment portfolio adequately to balance out high risk offshore investments with more conservative, secure investments?
As a newbie to investing you be risk averse, so high-performance offshore investments, although brimming with the promise of very high returns, are not recommended until you know your way around turnovers and returns.
How to make money investing
Contrary to popular belief, you don’t need (a lot of) money to make money. Wealth isn’t a prerequisite for investing. You can take advantage of investing over time, if you start sooner rather than later. While this means you’ll have to wait a little longer before quitting your job in favour of early retirement and living off your dividends, the long-term rewards are lucrative.
Remember these crucial pieces of advice before making your investment decisions:
- Diversify your portfolio, so you never have all of your money invested in one account, venture or business. The best way you can manage risk is by not putting all your eggs in one basket
- “Be careful who you trust with your money, make sure you invest your money with a reliable and established company with a solid history and reputation, do your research and do not be afraid to ask questions,” advises Craig Hutchison, CEO Engel & Völkers Southern Africa
- You can achieve a great deal by simply investing or saving portion of your salary every month
- Know the difference between investing and saving. “Saving is storing your money, while investing is growing your money,” he says. “One of the significant differences between the wealthy and not-so-wealthy is that wealthy individuals earn interest while everyone else pays interest.”
- “The way that the prosperous continue to build their wealth isn’t really a secret – they spend less than they earn, save the difference, and let the potential of compound interest make their riches grow,” says Hutchison.
“Financial wellbeing is a long-term commitment, but with the right guidance, discipline and savvy decision-making, you may achieve your goal sooner than you think. It is never too late to start investing in your financial well-being,” he concludes.
Investing In Wealth-Generating Assets
With returns of between 10% and 16%*, impact investing offers more than just the chance to do good.
Through a combination of innovation and technology, investors are finally in a position to own a stake in lucrative farming operations without high cost barriers, while at the same time having a positive impact on the environment.
Global trends, local applicability
There has been a recent trend towards socially conscious investing, known as impact investing, which has gained significant traction in first-world markets. Younger investors in particular want their money to do good in the world, but still expect a good return on their investment.
This trend, combined with the desire of many entrepreneurs to own a viable side-hustle, provided the impetus behind the creation of Impact Farming by Fedgroup.
Impact Farming differs from conventional impact investments in a number of ways. Other impact investment products usually consist of portfolios that offer access to shares in companies that meet certain social and environmental criteria. South Africa’s leading independent financial services provider, Fedgroup, in contrast, believes that investing directly in ventures is a smarter alternative.
The perfect side-hustle
That’s because investing in shares and funds can be unnecessarily complex and often diminishes returns through hidden costs. In addition, barriers to entry can be prohibitive. Fedgroup has therefore leveraged the ubiquitous nature of mobile to deliver a fast, lucrative way for investors to directly own assets in high-yield farming ventures. It’s the perfect side-hustle, without the hassle.
Fedgroup’s Impact Farming investment platform offers investors access to a growing network of local crowd-funded farming ventures that generate solid profits to deliver competitive returns. From as little as R300, investors can own assets across three different ventures, blueberry, sustainable honey and urban solar farms.
Investors buy assets at one of Fedgroup’s approved sites, forming a venture network that is managed by farming experts.
Tax benefits and passive incomes
Investors get paid in regular cycles for the yields their assets produce once they are harvested and sold to Fedgroup’s contracted customers. This money can then be enjoyed as passive income or reinvested to benefit from compounded growth. Impact Farming assets also qualify for a tax benefit associated with renewable energy and sustainable farming.
Not only does this model significantly lower the barriers to entry inherent in traditional fund investing, but it also allows socially conscious investors to make a big impact with their money, regardless of the amount invested.
And there’s also less risk compared to various traditional investments thanks to the innovative approach. Extensive due diligence is performed on every product line to ensure its viability before it is brought to market. The company then carefully vets and selects Impact Farming ventures for both the financial impact they have on investor wealth creation, and the positive impact they have on the world.
Fedgroup also built market-tested financial models that were deliberately designed to be conservative when forecasting returns. However, as the profits from investor assets are pooled, so too are the yields, which mitigates the risk of individual assets underperforming. And with service level agreements in place with providers, Fedgroup ensures that assets continue to perform in line with projections, unlike the unpredictable nature of company shares.
The assets are also insured, the cost of which is included in the purchase price. Therefore, if an investor’s asset is ever destroyed in a natural disaster, Fedgroup replaces it. This asset class also runs counter to market cycles and therefore offers diversification that is virtually unmatched.
Fedgroup’s Impact Farming platform offers a unique wealth creation tool for a new breed of investor.
* The projected returns of between 10% and 16% per year are the asset owner’s internal rate of return (IRR). This is the rate of return after the initial purchase price has been subtracted, and which also takes into account the time value of money. For instance, a R4 000 beehive is projected to produce a total income in excess of R9 000 over its 10-year term, which represents an average return of 23% per year. If the IRR calculation is applied, it provides the projected IRR of 15% p.a.
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