Every purchase of equities, property, government bonds and other financial products, brings with it some uncertainty about the final outcome. To evaluate and compare the different risk factors, banks, money management firms and financial consulting bodies conduct research based on published data. All this information is available and open to the public, but it is still up to the individual investor to decide on their needs and to align their requirements with those needs.
Although the equities market has rallied this year, the bear market last year exposed the mistakes made by thousands of investors. While they may have used financial advisors, many investors forgot the fundamental lesson – to diversify their portfolios. Figures published by the money market funds show how many people panicked, sold out of the equity market and moved into secure investments, fearful that they could lose more. How wrong they were as the markets rose over 50% from the low in March. Many of these investors are still holding cash, with interest rates down 5% and the market at quite a
The risk factors
Risk does not only encompass growth assets going up or down. There are other factors which play a role such as:
- Corporate business viability
- Economic factors, such as inflation
- Political factors, such as unrest in parts of the world
Inflation is an investor’s worst enemy as, in the long run, it erodes capital and the size of pensions.
The rule of 72 will help you calculate how the value of money drops.
For example, divide the rate of inflation into 72. If inflation is 8%, divide eight into 72 which equals nine.This means that in nine years, the purchasing power of R1 000 will only buy R500 worth of consumables or, you would need R2 000 to buy what you bought for R1 000 nine years ago. Political unrest is a risk factor which is extremely difficult to evaluate as it does not influence all financial markets equally. As a result of political unrest a drop in investors’ confidence can lower stock markets, as we saw earlier in 2008 when enormous amounts of money were withdrawn by foreign investors, only for more to return in 2009, which contributed to the strong rand.
Each investor’s needs vary significantly
- Do you need an income?
- Are you looking for capital?
- Are you looking for income and growth?
Do a comprehensive assessment of the risks you are willing to take, read the material available and talk to a financial advisor. Diversify your investments; even “rands under the mattress” will not have the same purchasing power in 10 years’ time. For peace of mind and to ensure that your investment strategy is balanced, do not put all your eggs in one basket. In my experience the majority of people who consult with me do not have enough answers to the questions I put to them regarding their financial position. Clients arrive with piles of documents which have been accumulated over the years and do not appear to have a real clue as to how all their policies and investments fit together.
What each investor must do is define their needs and then select the most appropriate asset allocation to achieve their goals.
questions which need to be taken into account
- If you are trying to achieve growth, are you prepared to invest for the long term (7-10 years)?
- If you need income, have you looked at all the options available (money market funds, preference shares, high dividend shares, property trusts, assurance company products – income plans and annuities)?
- Have you assessed tax efficiency and inflation?
- Each investor has a different attitude to risk. Have you evaluated the risk you are taking? Although you may be willing to take a risk, do you understand that there will be times when your investment declines. It’s during these times that it is necessary not to panic.
- It is possible that the investments you already have will fit into a changed strategy but you need to assess the “financial jigsaw puzzle” and see how each piece fits.
It is essential to have regular meetings with your financial advisor to assess whether your objectives are being met. Do not be overly concerned by short-term setbacks. If your investment strategy is sound, these setbacks could give you greater opportunity to invest at lower levels.
The 3 Decisions That Will Change Your Financial Life
There’s nothing worse than a rich person who’s chronically angry or unhappy. There’s really no excuse for it, yet I see it every day. It results from an extremely unbalanced life, one with too much expectation and not enough appreciation for what’s there.
Without gratitude and appreciation for what you already have, you’ll never know true fulfilment. But how do you cultivate balance in life? What’s the point of achievement if your life has no balance?
For nearly four decades, I’ve had the privilege of coaching people from every walk of life, including some of the most powerful men and women on the planet. I’ve worked with presidents of the United States as well as owners of small businesses.
Across the board, I’ve found that virtually every moment people make three key decisions that dictate the quality of their lives. If you make these decisions unconsciously, you’ll end up like the majority of people who tend to be out of shape physically, exhausted emotionally and often financially stressed. But if you make these decisions consciously, you can literally change the course of your life today.
Decision 1: Carefully choose what to focus on
At every moment, millions of things compete for your attention. You can focus on things that are happening right here and now or on what you want to create in the future. Or you can focus on the past.
Where focus goes, energy flows. What you focus on and your pattern for doing so shapes your entire life.
Which area do you tend to focus on more: What you have or what’s missing from your life?
I’m sure you think about both sides of this coin. But if you examine your habitual thoughts, what do you tend to spend most of your time dwelling on?
Rather than focusing on what you don’t have and begrudging those who are better off than you financially, perhaps you should acknowledge that you have much to be grateful for and some of it has nothing to do with money. You can be grateful for your health, family, friends, opportunities and mind.
Developing a habit of appreciating what you have can create a new level of emotional wellbeing and wealth. But the real question is, do you take time to feel deeply grateful for your mind, body, heart and soul? That’s where the joy, happiness and fulfilment can be found.
Consider a second pattern of focus that affects the quality of your life: Do you tend to focus more on what you can control or what you can’t?
If you focus on what you can’t control, you’ll have more stress in life. You can influence many aspects of your life but you usually can’t control them.
When you adopt this pattern of focus, your brain has to make another decision:
Decision 2: Figure out, What does this all mean?
Ultimately, how you feel about your life has nothing to do with the events in it or with your financial condition or what has (or hasn’t) happened to you. The quality of your life is controlled by the meaning you give these things.
Most of the time you may be unaware of the effect of your unconscious mind in assigning meaning to life’s events.
When something happens that disrupts your life (a car accident, a health issue, a job loss), do you tend to think that this is the end or the beginning?
If someone confronts you, is that person insulting you, coaching you or truly caring for you?
Does a devastating problem mean that God is punishing you or challenging you? Or is it possible that this problem is a gift from God?
Your life takes on whatever meaning you give it. With each meaning comes a unique feeling or emotion and the quality of your life involves where you live emotionally.
I always ask during my seminars, “How many of you know someone who is on antidepressants and still depressed?” Typically 85% to 90% of those assembled raise their hands.
How is this possible? The drugs should make people feel better. It’s true that antidepressants do come with labels warning that suicidal thoughts are a possible side-effect.
But no matter how much a person drugs himself, if he constantly focuses on what he can’t control in life and what’s missing, he won’t find it hard to despair. If he adds to that a meaning like ‘life is not worth living,’ that’s an emotional cocktail that no antidepressant can consistently overcome.
Yet if that same person can arrive at a new meaning, a reason to live or a belief that all this was meant to be, then he will be stronger than anything that ever happened to him.
When people shift their habitual focus and meanings, there’s no limit to what life can become. A change of focus and a shift in meaning can literally alter someone’s biochemistry in minutes.
So take control and always remember: Meaning equals emotion and emotion equals life. Choose consciously and wisely. Find an empowering meaning in any event, and wealth in its deepest sense will be yours today.
Once you create a meaning in your mind, it creates an emotion, and that emotion leads to a state for making your third decision:
Decision 3: What will you do?
The actions you take are powerfully shaped by the emotional state you’re in. If you’re angry, you’re going to behave quite differently than if you’re feeling playful or outrageous.
If you want to shape your actions, the fastest way is to change what you focus on and shift the meaning to be something more empowering.
Two people who are angry will behave differently. Some pull back. Others push through.
Some individuals express anger quietly. Others do so loudly or violently. Yet others suppress it only to look for a passive-aggressive opportunity to regain the upper hand or even exact revenge.
Where do these patterns come from? People tend to model their behaviour on those they respect, enjoy and love.
The people who frustrated or angered you? You often reject their approaches.
Yet far too often you may find yourself falling back into patterns you witnessed over and over again in your youth and were displeased by. It’s very useful for you to become aware of your patterns when you are frustrated, angry or sad, or feel lonely. You can’t change your patterns if you’re not aware of them.
Now that you’re aware of the power of these three decisions, start looking for role models who are experiencing what you want out of life. I promise you that those who have passionate relationships have a totally different focus and arrive at totally different meanings for the challenges in relationships than people who are constantly bickering or fighting.
It’s not rocket science. If you become aware of the differences in how people approach these three decisions, you’ll have a pathway to help you create a permanent positive change in any area of life.
7 Steps To Achieve Financial Freedom
Achieving financial freedom doesn’t necessarily mean becoming filthy rich – not that that hurts.
In this video, Entrepreneur Network partner Brian Tracy explains the seven steps you need to take to achieve financial freedom. Now, financial freedom doesn’t mean becoming filthy rich – lottery winners go bankrupt all the time. Instead, financial freedom is about becoming disciplined and using your money in a way that ensures you can live the sort of life you want both now and in the future.
That’s why the first step isn’t about getting a lot of money. Instead, it’s about teaching yourself to think positively about money. That way, you’ll be in the right mindset to move forward.
Click play to learn more.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
4 Ways To Become A Millionaire Even When You Start With Little
It costs nothing to take advantage of the limitless opportunities online.
The hardest part of becoming successful is getting started to begin with. But despite the challenges ahead of you, there’s a way to become a millionaire when starting with little. I’m going to show you four reasons why you can become a millionaire with just a small investment.
1First focus on learning, not big gain
Education is your greatest weapon. Focus on learning in the beginning. Don’t make the mistake of focusing on making huge gains in the beginning. Learn everything you can because this is how you build the foundations for long-term gains.
They say that if a millionaire goes bankrupt they’ll nearly always be able to get it back. And that’s because they might have lost their money, but they have the knowledge of how to get back to where they need to be.
2You can learn loads about any topic online
I’m grateful for the internet. It’s the single biggest library in the world. You’re reading this article right now and you’re acquiring knowledge you wouldn’t have been able to acquire 40 years ago. Use the internet to its fullest extent, whether that’s through reading books, browsing articles or watching video tutorials.
Set some time aside every day to learn something online. It could be a video series or a favorite blog. When you get into the habit of learning regularly you’ll find that you advance much faster.
3Focus on the niche you love
These days you can learn about anything and target the niche you’re passionate about. This is what I was able to do with penny stocks. I found a gap in the market and provided knowledge to people who wouldn’t have otherwise being able to access this sort of information.
You can do that with absolutely any niche. When you find a niche you’re passionate about and you use the reach of the Internet you start to make huge gains.
4Prove your expertise by creating free content
Your reputation as an authority is the new business card. There’s a reason I created a penny stock guide and made it free for all. You may have already seen ads for it on social media. The way to succeed with little is to create a reputation through your content.
It’s the gateway to success because through free content you start to build relationships with others who value your work. And from there everyone gets richer.
You can do lots with a little
The days when you needed a huge investment to become successful are long gone. These days you can do so much with just a little. Find what you love, advance your knowledge in that area, and create a product that fulfills a need. Finally, work on building up relationships through portraying yourself as an authority on your subject.
Combine everything together and you can accomplish anything.
This article was originally posted here on Entrepreneur.com.
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