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Investing After a Stock Market Crash

By Chris Burke - Topics: investment diversification, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain, Stock Markets
This article is published on: 25th May 2020

25.05.20

The question on any investor’s lips at the moment is, ‘Will the stock markets crash again in the near future, say in the next 6 months?’ The main reason for this question is, even if the world starts to get back to normal after this pandemic, when furloughing and all the other methods that have helped people economically are finished, soon we shall see the realisation of the following:

  • Profound job losses and companies going out of business
  • Some entire sectors (e.g. aviation) taking years to recover, some even never recovering
  • Company results being published for the 2nd quarter of 2020, when they have been effectively shut the whole time. How will the markets react?
  • Unemployment at an all-time high
  • People losing their homes, unable to obtain mortgages

What’s really unclear here is, and this is the BIGGEST question, has all of this already been priced in to the stock markets? That is to say, have all these considerations and more been valued and taken into account by people buying and selling stocks?

50% of the reason why stock markets go up or down has nothing to do with the actual value of those stocks; it’s the perception of the people buying and selling that influences it. If people are optimistic and there is some bad news, the markets might not be affected by this. However, if people are worried/pessimistic and there is some small bad news, this could be ‘the straw that breaks the camel’s back’ sending the markets tumbling. So, what is the best approach to take when investing after a stock market crash?

upward stockmarket trends

The answer to this question depends on your risk/reward profile. If you are a more aggressive investor, then using all your allocated investment money in one go would probably be your choice. However, this equates for less than 20% of us; the most common approach

of people investing their money is balanced.

Most people understand that not being invested means you could miss out if the markets shoot up, but also, if they crash lower you would lose out. However, if you believe yourself to be aligned with the following criteria, then there is a strategy you can follow which statistically should give you more safety, with a lower chance of your money being negatively impacted at the beginning:

  • You are prepared for your money to be invested for the medium to long term (5 years plus)
  • You do not want access to this money for at least 5 years
  • You understand there could be some volatility during this period
  • You want your money to grow above inflation and actually increase in its value
  • You are a balanced investor, meaning you are prepared to invest with the knowledge that the value of your money will go down, as well as up

After every stock market crash, analysts try to label what kind of a recovery it is. Is it a ‘U’ shaped recovery, meaning a sharp drop, period of downturn and then a sharp upward recovery? Or is it a ‘W’, where there is a crash, then a recovery, then another crash followed again by a recovery? The truth is, each stock market crash is different; no two are the same. Each day it’s 50/50 whether the markets will be up or down. Therefore, taking this reasoning into focus, and wanting to limit any losses and maximise any gains, let’s look at this as if it’s a business opportunity.

If you were opening up a new business, and needed to borrow money to finance it, would you either:

  • Borrow all the money you needed in one go and spend it
  • Borrow some of the money you needed, review periodically and then borrow more as and when necessary
  • Borrow some of the money you needed, review periodically and have instant access to more when necessary

Whilst Option 1 could work for you, that money needs to have interest repaid on it, and if the business didn’t go well, that’s more money lost.

Option 2, as long as you don’t have any cash flow issues, could also work well, meaning you are repaying less money and only borrowing what you need as and when. If anything happened to the business you were not putting everything in.

Option 3 gives you the same as option 2, as well as having access to a cash injection instantly should the time arise.

crystal ball

These options are all a matter of opinion, but in relation to investing, there is no future knowledge of what the stock markets will do. What we do know for certain about investing is this:

  • Historically, inflation has doubled approximately every 24 years
  • Unless your money is keeping up with inflation, in real terms you are reducing the value of your money
  • There is hardly any interest being paid by bank accounts
  • One day you will stop working, and the only income you will have is what you have built up

Therefore, taking into account these main known points, it’s clear that money needs to be managed effectively but in a risk averse way as possible. To be able to minimise risk, and to try and gain on any stock market rises and minimise any falls, the safest short-term approach would be to ‘drip feed’ your investments. However, to make sure you don’t miss out on any upswings in the market, you need to have your investment money aligned in the following way:

Example – Investment value €250,000:
Starting with €50,000, add to this €20,000 per month moving forward until one of the following occurs:

  • You have invested all your money
  • There is a large enough stock market downturn

In this second scenario, you would then decide to add much more of your uninvested money immediately; depending on how much is left and the scale of the market drop.

By using this approach, if markets took a sudden upward turn your money is already partially invested to take advantage of any gains moving forward. However, and more importantly, if the stock markets took a sudden dive, you are limiting losses and are in a position where you can take advantage of lower prices.

financial review

As I stated above, no one knows exactly what will happen or when after a stock market crash, but by investing in tranches to make your money grow, this will give you some protection against a stock market crash in the near future, and even the ability to even take advantage of it.

Two last points I would add, and those are, even if stock markets crash again, after a recent previous crash, there is more likely of a quicker bounce back. And secondly, money invested over time is the safest way to achieve long term growth of your money and create that income for when that day finally comes when you are no longer working.

My job is to help people plan their finances, managing their money in as painless and risk-averse approach as possible, at all times having their best interests as our common goal. Don’t hesitate to contact me on the details below if you would like to discuss any of the points in this article or arrange a meeting with me.

Tax increases in Spain

By Barry Davys - Topics: Barcelona, Inheritance Tax, Spain, Tax, tax advice, Tax Efficient Savings, Wealth Tax
This article is published on: 16th May 2020

16.05.20

This is an article for those of us who live in Spain but will apply in every developed country around the world.

The Covid-19 pandemic has led to a worldwide lockdown, including here in Spain. The economy has been shut down with the likes of Seat in Barcelona stopping production and Barcelona tourist numbers collapsing. We all know this because we are all a living part of the lockdown.

In response to what looks like the worst economic crisis in the 300 years of modern data collection, governments and central banks around the world have provided some $7 trillion dollars of stimulus packages to economies and workers. It is the fastest and biggest reaction EVER to an economic crisis. Well done, the central banks! It genuinely is helping to make sure that as we slowly exit lockdown, individuals and companies will be in a little better condition to start up again.

Would I have it any other way? No! However, the question we now need to answer comes from Angela Merkel when asked to provide a European bailout in the 2009 crisis; “But where will the money come from?” A valid question. And even more so for the crisis that has come from the coronavirus pandemic.

Saving in Spain, ISA, Tax Free Saving in Spain

The money will come, in part, from higher taxation. In the UK today, a menu of proposed increases in taxation has been leaked. In Spain, a loophole in wealth tax legislation that allowed some unit linked insurance savings plans to be exempt from

wealth tax has been closed. What is significant is that these changes are coming now, before we are even clear of the lockdown and virus.

The changes to taxation in Spain are likely to include savings tax, inheritance tax and wealth tax in particular. Changes were already being discussed and the economic fallout from the pandemic provides the reason to bring forward these changes. Specifically, the EU has told us to harmonise inheritance tax across Autonomous Communities as there are big differences in the amount of tax to be paid.

In the draft budget for 2020, there is a proposal to change savings tax. At present, we have three bands of tax. The top rate for gains and investment income over €50,000 is 23%. A new band will be introduced for gains and investment income over €160,000 of 27%. We should expect this change to happen soon as it is already in the budget which is going before Parliament for approval. The first case I have seen where this will apply would lead to an additional €48,000 in tax. It is pertinent to bear in mind that these tax rates can apply to the gain on some property sales.

In addition to the wealth tax change described above, we understand that others may now be considered.

Planning actions

Help is at hand. There are planning actions that can be taken to minimise the tax issues. Here is a three point plan to minimise the effect of these changes:

1. Savings Tax. Move investments into Spanish tax efficient investments. These are available and you do not have to move your investment to Spain to qualify. They are available in Sterling as well as Euros and USD. If you would like confirmation on which of your current investments are tax efficient in Spain, I am happy to review them with you.

2. Inheritance Tax. This requires very careful consideration before making decisions to manage inheritance tax. Making sure you can maintain your lifestyle is an important part of this planning, especially for the survivor in the event of one half of a couple passing away. Once these criteria have been met, planning is feasible. A recent case of planning has saved £87,719 in UK inheritance tax for a couple living here in Spain. For nearly all of us from the UK, our estate at death will be assessed for UK inheritance tax.

3. Wealth Tax. Sometimes, the planning for wealth tax is simple. In other cases, not so simple. Care is needed and it is worthwhile asking for a review.

We have had our cake in the form of stimulus to protect the economy. We will shortly find we will have indigestion from eating the cake in the form of higher taxes. Fortunately, we still have a few indigestion tablets available to relieve our pain.

If you wish to discuss tax on your savings, inheritance tax or wealth tax please feel welcome to call. If this helps, you can match your availability for a call with mine online here.

Atypical expat family living in Spain

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Moving to Spain, Spain
This article is published on: 15th May 2020

15.05.20

Once upon a time there lived a British family in Southern Spain. I say British but in fact the wife had dual nationality, being both American and British. In fact they are still here.

They have 3 children, one adult son from her previous marriage living in the Middle East, their second son in boarding school in England and the youngest, their daughter, with them in Spain. His last position had been as an eminent surgeon in a well known teaching hospital in London. She had been a very successful realtor (estate agent) on the East coast of the USA. They had met through mutual friends when he was at medical conference in Boston. She brought with her to the marriage a respectably sized share portfolio which she had accumulated over the years.

They have a large five bedroom house in leafy suburbia in Surrey, UK. They have owned it since the arrival of their first child, several years after marrying. He sold his flat in central London a couple of years after their wedding and commuted to work every day from Dorking. Summer after summer brought nothing but rain and unpredictable weather. They finally decided to throw in the towel and move, lock, stock and barrel to Andalucia where they purchased a lovely house with gorgeous views over the Mediterranean. There in their retirement they play golf and have grown a circle of good friends, enjoying the lifestyle they had dreamt of in the UK. They rent out their Surrey home to visiting foreign film crews and have it managed by a competent agent.

They have a fair sized investment portfolio with a UK stockbroker who has underperformed their peers over the previous decade, which he learnt from talking to fellow golfers in the 19th hole at the club. He has become keen to change his broker and the portfolio, but is very concerned about the potential Capital Gains Tax.

estate planning

Relations with their eldest son have become increasingly strained due to his stepfather’s disapproval of her son’s lifestyle in Dubai. It has reached a point whereby he has changed his English Will to exclude him from his half of the joint estate. The parents do not have Spanish Wills.

Also growing is the worry about their house in the UK with rising maintenance costs and property taxes. The decision has been made to sell it. In any event, over the years they have owned it they are sitting on a very fine profit. But it seems that they can no longer label it as their prime home. After all, they have been resident in Spain for some considerable years.

Brexit arrived rather suddenly and they have become aware of their potential position as non EU citizens after the final deadline in December 2020.

While they have appointed a UK estate agent to handle the sale of their UK home, Covid-19 has arrived on the global scene. They watch with horror as their portfolios tumble in value. Before the arrival of the virus, they had a sale agreed and their lawyer has taken a large deposit on exchange of contracts. Now the property market is falling away.

Several of their acquaintances both in the UK and in Spain have contracted the virus and they are getting nervous of their own position, their children’s and what to do if they catch it. He is over 65 and becoming more vulnerable as time passes.

UK share portfolio

This couple faces several significant problems:

  • She has a US share and bond portfolio which is fully exposed to US taxes
  • He wants to sell out their UK portfolio and change holdings. It still shows a considerable gain
  • They want to sell their UK home which is still showing a considerable gain
  • They have no Spanish Wills which would cause problems in the event of first death, not least if the eldest son invoked Spanish Succession Law, to inherit his share
  • Although resident in Spain from several angles, they are not actually tax resident here but still tax resident in the UK
  • Apart from tax considerations, their residence status would become questionable in December 2020 (if the Brexit negotiations deadline is realised)
  • They need to complete the sale of their UK home as soon as possible before the market falls much further and their buyer pulls out (despite the hefty deposit he has made)

You might think this is just a story, but with only a few changes this was the reality of two of my longest held clients. Not all of the above may apply to you, but I’m sure certain elements of this brief bio resonate with many of you. The important thing to remember is that every element of this situation has a solution. As advisers here in Spain, we are expats too, and over the past years we have come across all (and more) of these situations. And we have always delivered a solution.

Do you relate to, or are you faced, with any of these issues? Do you know someone who does? They all have a solution. Why not call me for a chat over a coffee? If we are still in lockdown, we can talk about it on the telephone, all in the strictest confidence, of course.

Investing for the future

By David Hattersley - Topics: investment diversification, Investments, Spain
This article is published on: 14th May 2020

14.05.20

The start of a ‘new’ normality?
We are lucky to live in the region of Valencia as Phase 1 has started in some areas. Will this eventually lead to some kind of normality and what form will this take? While we have been prisoners in our own homes, the loss of freedoms and the changes that have occurred have led many of us to question what the future holds. With the obvious impact on the environment of less pollution, less freedom to travel and changing work environments, will we change our habits? How will these changes affect our plans for the future? What about our financial position and our relationships with people in the society that we live in? What will the globalised world look like in a year’s time? After all, we’re all connected to global humanity whether we like it or not.

Economy
Without a doubt this will impact global economies. Most economies will go into a recession, perhaps only for the short term, but deeper than we have known for many years. For those of us that have some form of fixed income, investments that are “ holding up” or have only fallen by a small percentage, have liquidity in our finances or have flexibility in our work patterns, we have to consider ourselves lucky.

But what of the future? No doubt there will be changes, but opportunities too.

crystal ball

Investing for the future
It may seem strange to consider this now, but the world has changed. Passive tracker funds and ETFs have produced substantial negative returns and volatility due to short term “overreaction”. Oil prices have fallen through the floor, food has become more expensive and supply chains

have been disrupted with increased costs. Governments will need to recoup lost tax revenue and increase borrowing to keep some economies afloat. Inflation is likely to rear its head, so with cash deposits for the long term returning effectively nil, can these be considered a “safe haven”?

These are the situations that our selected fund managers have to consider. Fortunately they have massive resources available to help them. Who and what are going to be the investments for the future based on a long term view? Where are opportunities going to occur? Who or what are going to be the winners and losers? The fund managers we use are all asking the same questions and provide some hope for the future. Humankind is very efficient at adapting to changes enforced on them. By mixing a variety of managers one can add balance to a portfolio, which many of my clients have benefited from.

Role of the Financial Adviser
During the last few weeks, when face to face meetings were impossible, I regularly kept in contact with my clients via phone calls and numerous video clips that tried to make them smile. I also provided them with current valuations and updates for the variety of portfolios that they held with me. Sometimes these are complex affairs, or may need a simple explanation. I have also assisted, when required, when there were changes in personal circumstances.

But we are social animals and I have missed the face to face meetings, which in my view makes a big difference compared to talking via telephone or video call. Please feel free to contact me for a coffee and a no obligation personal review on anything financial that may be concerning you at this time.

How long do you wait for things to improve?

By John Hayward - Topics: FTSE stock market, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain
This article is published on: 27th April 2020

27.04.20

16th March 2020 FTSE 100 – 4898.79
24th April 2020 FTSE 100 – 5750.94
Up 17.39%

History has taught that after disasters there are recoveries. Covid-19 may well be around forever, but there will be controls. Some companies will fall victim, but others will survive and be profitable. We can help you be part of that success. Waiting for Covid-19 to go away before investing could result in lost growth and, ultimately, lost income.

Stockmarkets tend to be ahead of public sentiment and often drive how people feel. Whether the overall recovery pattern is a “V” or a “U” or even a “W” is in some ways irrelevant if you have a medium to long term (5+ years) window. I often hear people saying, “I might not be around in 5 years”. This may be true, but for most people there is more chance of being alive in 5 years than not. Even if one doesn’t survive the next 5 years, we can organise finances so that the survivors are no worse off. Not investing guarantees no growth and capital loss in real terms when allowing for inflation.

Relying on your bank to keep your money safe my not be the iron clad guarantee you perceive it to be.

Careful investing with quality management has proven beneficial for many people in the past. Looking for the quick big buck has often benefitted everybody other than the client. Let us review what you have so that you are part of the recovery and that you don´t feel upset in 3 or 4 years’ time because you missed out on an opportunity.

Contact me now and I will be happy to arrange a phone or video meeting.

Can we learn from the past?

By Jeremy Ferguson - Topics: Financial Planning, Financial Review, investment diversification, Investment Risk, Investments, Spain
This article is published on: 24th April 2020

24.04.20

Long periods of growth in the world, followed by a creeping in of greed, have normally caused previous stock market ‘tumbles’. This time, however, something completely unprecedented has caused it, wiping large fortunes from people’s pensions and savings, for the short term at least.

This latest situation is another great example of the fact that no one really knows what lurks around the corner. Investment managers may be clever people, but it’s simply impossible to accurately predict the timings of markets taking a tumble when events such as this take place.

‘Investing is for the medium to long term’ is something you will always hear about from people like myself. If you have a time horizon that’s very short, it’s normally fraught with danger; investments need time for you to reap their rewards. So my question is, how has the world faired on this front over the last century, and what we can learn from the past?

invest for the long term

The first ‘event’ was the Great Depression in the US, which started in the late 1920’s. What caused it?

The early part of the decade was full of exuberance, people borrowing money to buy cars, new houses, and even borrowing to make investments in the new world of the stock market.

Everyone was doing so well, then the whole thing fell apart and nearly 13% was wiped off stock market values. For those people who had borrowed heavily to invest, it was enough to wipe them out. They lost everything, as they couldn’t repay their debts, and then followed the Great Depression. This lasted roughly 12 years until the massive manufacturing effort of WWII kick started the recovery.

Next up, after many years of growth following the end of World War II, was the famous 1987 crash. This was the largest fall in stock market values at that point in history, with a 23% fall. So what caused this? It was similar to the 1929 crash, with the addition of the speed at which people could trade shares in the modern world.

People were borrowing money, leveraging investments with the money, and then things started to go wrong. This time fear took over, with panic selling ensuing, and people lost fortunes very quickly. At that point it was the single biggest one day fall in history.

dot com bubble

This was then followed by a 12 year recovery period, with everything being a little more controlled, until the Dot-Com bubble started to inflate. It was a frenzy of over valued companies,

people buying shares they would never have normally bought. It was all so easy to make money. Everyone was involved. Greed fevered a frenzy of madness! Then it all fell apart. The bursting of the Dot-Com bubble in 1999/2000 pushed stock markets down 23% again, but many shares fell almost 100% in value.

And off we went again… over the next 8 years, behind the scenes there was the growing greed that always seems to be lurking. Easy borrowings, people buying houses they couldn’t really afford, remortgaging the ones they had to buy more ‘things’. Banks were selling on loans to other banks.
Easy money was everywhere, seemingly fuelled by greed again. And then, you guessed it, bang! The start of the 2008 Financial crisis as it became known. The American banking system almost collapsed entirely. Never before had greed almost toppled a country. 12 years of recovery followed (sound familiar?) and 2020 is the next focal point! What more is there to say? Another large ‘tumble’ in values again.

So where am I going with this? Every time this has happened in the markets before, afterwards there ensues a protracted period of recovery and growth. The important thing is the ‘line’ keeps going up, albeit in a rather rugged manner.

The below graph is an example of 50 years growth of the 500 largest companies in the US up to the 2008 crisis. It is all over the place, but if you were invested for the medium to long term, the ‘line’ goes up and up, which is why people invest their hard earned pensions and savings. To profit!

500 largest companies in the US

This recovery is going to be tough, and in a new and changed world. It will come from companies that are agile, well financed with flexible long term objectives, and who are able to adapt quickly to the ever changing world.

Never has this been so obvious as it is now. If you have money invested, make sure as best you can it is exposed to investments that are most likely to be part of the recovery. A recovery that history has taught us always happened in the past.

Lockdown is a great opportunity to dig out your files to see what you are invested in, and if you need any assistance or a second opinion, I am happy to help. I can be contacted at :

Jeremy Ferguson
The Spectrum IFA Group
Sotogrande, 11310, Spain
Office: + 0034 956 794409
Mobile: + 34 670 216 229

jeremy.ferguson@spectrum-ifa.com
www.spectrum-ifa.com

Longer Term Perspective

By Chris Webb - Topics: Financial Review, Madrid, Spain
This article is published on: 22nd April 2020

22.04.20
The Show Must Go On

One of my favourite songs is, ‘The Show Must Go On’ by Queen, arguably one of the best bands ever. How apt the opening lines sound now. It’s day 41 of our lockdown as we bunkered down on the 11th of March, a little earlier than the national lockdown came into force and I wont lie and pretend its been plain sailing. Having two children home schooling and trying to run our businesses from home at the same time has been quite a challenge, but the overriding feeling has been and still is that the show must go on…

Emotionally this might just be the toughest period that we all have to go through. Every day is a new challenge. But as we all know, we can’t just sit and stare at the walls and feel sorry for ourselves.

All of us will have had different emotional barriers to face. They might be the feeling of confinement and reduced work capabilities; they might be a feeling of panic and anxiety trying to deal with the unknown situation we are in; they could be dealing directly with this virus, either having caught it themselves or having a loved one infected.

It doesn’t matter what the factor is, it’s guaranteed that we have all been dealing with emotions far more during the last 5/6 weeks than we have ever had.

On top of dealing with our own family’s emotions, I am having daily conversations with my clients about their investments during this period and the emotional impact it is having. All it takes is to watch the news channel to clearly see how volatile the markets have been. This is an additional emotional crisis for some, particularly if they aren’t experienced investors.

All my clients will know that I talk a lot about the different hats you need to wear when investing in the markets. There is the investment hat and the emotional hat. The investment hat is the exciting one that drives your investment decisions; the emotional hat is the one that pulls you back a little and makes you consider your choices. In my opinion the emotional hat is the most important one. It only lets you make decisions that you are happy with and have thought through.

Here are my top tips for dealing with the emotional side of investing; hopefully it will help steer you through the coming weeks.

stay invested

The Rational, Irrational and Emotional Struggle
It is a challenge to look beyond the short-term variances and focus on the long-term averages.

The greatest challenge may be in deciding to stay invested during a volatile market and a time of low consumer confidence. History has shown us that it is important to stay invested in good and bad market environments.

During periods of high consumer confidence stock prices peak and during periods of low consumer confidence stock prices can come under pressure. Historically, returns trended in the opposite direction of past consumer confidence data. When confidence is low it has been the time to buy or hold.

Of course, no one can predict the bottom or guarantee future returns. But as history has shown, the best decision may be to stay invested even during volatile markets.

Declines May Present Opportunities
An emotional roller coaster ride is especially nerve-racking during a decline. However, the best opportunity to make money may be when stock prices are low. Buying low and selling high has always been one of the basic rules of investing and building wealth. Yet during these emotional and challenging times it is easy to be fearful and/or negative, so let’s turn to the wise advice of one of the world’s best investors, the late Sir John Templeton:

“Don’t be fearful or negative too often. For 100 years optimists have carried the day in U.S. stocks. Even in the dark ’70s, many professional money managers—and many individual investors too—made money in stocks, especially those of smaller companies…There will, of course, be corrections, perhaps even crashes. But, over time, our studies indicate stocks do go up, up and up”

upward stockmarket trends

Watching from the Sidelines May Cost You
When markets become volatile, a lot of people try to guess when stocks will bottom out. In the meantime, they often park their investments in cash.

But just as many investors are slow to recognize a retreating stock market, many also fail to see an upward trend in the market until after they have missed opportunities for gains. Missing out on these opportunities can take a big bite out of your returns.

Euro / Dollar Cost Averaging Makes It Easier to Cope with Volatility
Most people are quick to agree that volatile markets present buying opportunities for investors with a long-term horizon. But mustering the discipline to make purchases during a volatile market can be difficult. You can’t help wondering, “Is this really the right time to buy?”

Euro / Dollar cost averaging can help reduce anxiety about the investment process. Simply put, Euro / Dollar cost averaging is committing a fixed amount of money at regular intervals to an investment. You buy more shares when prices are low and fewer shares when prices are high, and over time, your average cost per share may be less than the average price per share. Euro / Dollar cost averaging involves a continuous, disciplined investment in fund shares, regardless of fluctuating price levels. Investors should consider their financial ability to continue purchases through periods of low-price levels or changing economic conditions. Such a plan does not assure a profit and does not protect against loss in a declining market.

financial check-up

Now May Be a Great Time for a Portfolio Check Up
Is your portfolio as diversified as you think it is? Meet with me to find out. Your portfolio’s weightings in different asset classes may shift over time as one investment performs better or worse than another. Together we can re-examine your portfolio to see if you are properly diversified. You can also determine whether your current portfolio mix is still a suitable match with your goals and risk tolerance.

Tune Out the Noise and Gain a Longer-Term Perspective
Numerous television stations and websites are dedicated to reporting investment news 24 hours a day, seven days a week. What’s more, there are almost too many financial publications and websites to count. While the media provide a valuable service, they typically offer a very short-term outlook. To put your own investment plan in a longer-term perspective and bolster your confidence, you may want to look at how different types of portfolios have performed over time. Interestingly, while stocks may be more volatile, they’ve still outperformed income-oriented investments (such as bonds) over longer time periods.

Believe Your Beliefs and Doubt Your Doubts
There are no real secrets to managing volatility. Most investors already know that the best way to navigate a choppy market is to have a good long-term plan and a well-diversified portfolio. But sticking to these fundamental beliefs is sometimes easier said than done. When put to the test, you may begin doubting your beliefs and believing your doubts, which can lead to short-term moves that divert you from your long-term goals. To keep from falling into this trap, call me before making any changes to your portfolio So that’s my tips for fighting your way through the emotional impact of investing. I hope it is beneficial to you. The main point to take away from this is that THE SHOW MUST GO ON.

Stay calm, stay invested, don’t make crazy rash decisions and in a short time, this will be a blip in the past. If you want to discuss the risk element or have a second opinion on your investments, I am happy to conduct an initial consultation and present any recommendations free of charge. You can get in touch using the contact details below.

Don’t delay your financial plans. For planning, yesterday is better than today, which is better than tomorrow

Life in Lockdown

By Charles Hutchinson - Topics: Costa del Sol, investment diversification, Spain
This article is published on: 14th April 2020

14.04.20

Here we are starting the 5th week of lockdown in the Costa del Sol. What a surreal world it is compared to what we have known all our lives. I would like to think it is good for us and our moral fibre. Certainly it is morphing into a much more pleasant environment to the mess mankind was creating until the virus came along. Depending on your take on things, this is either nature seeking to redress our mishandling of this fragile planet, or it is the force we call God taking action to prevent our mass suicide. Of course, it can be argued they are both one and the same, but that discussion is for another time. I and my wife are very lucky, as is my son and his family. We live in houses with space and gardens. We are particularly lucky as we have 1.3 hectares of land and are at least 300 meters from the nearest lone house. We have dogs and can take them out for walks at will, on or off our land, and nearly always meet no one. We have fabulous views and my wife is catching up with all the stuff in the garden for which she normally does not have the time. We both work from home anyway and so our work regime has not altered.

Some of my clients in similar circumstances are also not enduring too bad a time, but the ones I feel for are those clients of mine who live alone in small apartments in urban areas and have no dogs. These are the ones I try to stay in touch with most. I am calm in the knowledge that their money is safe because they are with highly reputable companies and investment managers. And it is all about when the markets will begin to recover. It is their wellbeing that concerns me most and part of that is the reassurance they need that their security is not threatened in the long term.

Charles Hutchinson Estepona

Little Estepona has only one case so far (so lucky), it’s like a ghost town when I go down for our weekly shop. No one on the streets and the police have check points to enquire to where you are going and why and from where you have come.

You have to carry evidence on you to show what you are doing. It’s all good stuff to keep this dreadful thing outside of our city limits. But it does feel very bizarre. Telecommunications and web communications have replaced face to face and touchy feely, but that’s tolerable. The peace and quiet is incredible, you hear so much more now without the sometimes distant murmur of traffic, fireworks, helicopters and the boy racers roaring up and down our mountain road across the valley. The nightingales have arrived which is so beautiful and you can hear them even louder than before. The dawn chorus is almost deafening.

I have to say that the Spanish are bearing up extremely well. When you consider that their life is all about being out and about, socialising, meeting, kissing and hugging each other, sitting out in cafés with friends and family and just enjoying the social interaction, making huge amounts of noise, so much so that they design their homes, not for entertaining, but for spending as little time in them as possible. So now they are imprisoned for an indeterminate sentence, where they cannot go out except to buy essential food once a day, directly there and back, no meeting or touching people and if meeting someone by mistake, it must be from a distance. At the end of all this, we reckon there will be a spike in suicides, divorces and births. Our son Simon and family in Luxembourg, in the same lockdown, go to virtual drinks and dinner parties in the evenings and weekends with friends in the area. He showed us a photo of him getting ready for a dinner party. He was wearing a winged collar, black tie and dinner jacket and shorts and slippers (they can’t see the bottom half!). We’ve started them too; we have about half a dozen friends for drinks and it is hugely enjoyable. We use Zoom so that you can see everyone at the same time and chat together.

Rhona, my wife, has joined Gareth Malone’s virtual choir – I wonder if you have heard about it? The Great British Home Chorus. So far he has more than 110,000 people from all over the English speaking globe and she rehearses with him in the early evening. It is hilarious sometimes hearing these extraordinary howls from another part of the house or outside, my not hearing or seeing the great teacher conducting her.

So, what now? We really don’t know – anything could happen – gradual eradication or a resurgence of the virus? We know here there has been a partial release of lockdown for some workers, especially those who cannot work from home. There is a natural conflict between those who want to continue the lockdown to protect the health of the population and the health service and those who want to protect the economy, jobs and companies. It is very difficult to navigate a sensible course between the two. The global stock markets, which always try to predict the future (not the present nor the past), have already come off bottom with a double bounce nearly a month ago. Now this rise seems sustained for the moment or is this another dead cat bounce? What is obvious is that the markets want to get going again and advantage is being taken of these low levels by many. Those who have cash should think seriously about getting in at these levels, even if drip feeding. Some markets are already up between 20% – 30% from bottom and the potential is still there for a very healthy start to an investment, but it is not for the faint hearted. Cash is king no longer and a home has to be found for it. Make a plan, invest for the long term (at least 5 years), diversify your investments (even in multi asset funds alone), choose good investment houses and funds and stick to the plan. You will not go far wrong if you observe these simple rules.
If you would like to discuss this further, do please get in touch by contacting me as per below. I would even like to hear about your lockdown experiences!

Health before wealth

By Jeremy Ferguson - Topics: Investments, Spain, Stock Markets
This article is published on: 27th March 2020

27.03.20

Never has this expression been more relevant

After we received the news the Lockdown here in Spain is due to be extended until the 12th of April, and my best guess is that could be extended even further if we are on a similar path to Italy. Let’s hope we are not, but I for one am building myself up to accept that’s a real possibility.

My previous articles have spoken a lot about the benefits of living here in Spain: the glorious sunshine, beaches, the associated outdoor lifestyle we all came here to enjoy and the longer life expectancy that comes with all that.

Living in Spain

Wow, how that has all changed in such a short period of time. I have to say how impressed I have been with how the authorities here reacted, in a very timely fashion, and as is typical with the Guardia here in Spain, no messing around! People respect them, and apart from some idiotic panic shopping at the beginning, they are showing a lot of decency towards the authorities and their neighbours.
The UK has reacted in a slightly different way, and I will be intrigued as to the level of intervention the police will take and how that will be received.

My wife and I have both been bed bound for a number of days with many of the virus symptoms, so we are pretty sure we caught the dreaded thing. Considering our age and state of health, together with the difficulty of getting tested, we could see no point in seeking the help of the already stretched hospital services, so we rode it through. The temperatures and headaches, together with muscle aches and sweats were awful, but over in a matter of days. It’s not like we can do anything other than stay at home anyway, so in a strange way, every cloud has a silver lining.

Whilst we are all very worried about the potential health threat, many of us will also be worried about the potential wealth threat as well; I know we certainly are. Our pensions and savings are both taking a big hit at the moment, and I am sure there are a great many of you out there who are feeling the same pain.

Stock market Spain

A bit like the virus though, just as the human body fights back, the economies and companies of the world have an incredible ability to do the same thing. There will be casualties of course, just like with the pandemic, but the ability of the human race to fight back in the face of adversity is quiet incredible.

So rather than worrying too much about the current downturns in investment markets, maybe just trust in mankind’s ability to come back from these things and get back to ‘normal’ as quickly as possible. I cannot even imagine what things must have been like after the end of the second World War, but the human race simply rolled up its sleeves, licked its wounds and eventually got back relatively quickly to economic good health, showing an incredible doggedness and determination in its quest to achieve that.

I am sure this event is going to have a profound effect on people in the future, and how they may act when we come out of this terrible situation. Maybe a lot less will be taken for granted, maybe things will be appreciated more, maybe people will have realised the importance of helping others with selfless acts, maybe the handshake will be a thing of the past.

I do know one thing though, that this will have a profound effect on me going forward.

So my message for both your health and your wealth: stay strong, be careful, look after others around you, and please don’t panic!

Jeremy Ferguson
The Spectrum IFA Group
Sotogrande, 11310, Spain
Office: + 0034 956 794409
Mobile: + 34 670 216 229

jeremy.ferguson@spectrum-ifa.com
www.spectrum-ifa.com

Jeremy Ferguson

Feeling down about investments?

By John Hayward - Topics: Investment Risk, Investments, Spain, Stock Markets
This article is published on: 20th March 2020

20.03.20

Take advantage of this great opportunity

The last stockmarket crash was in September 2008. Here we are again. At the time of writing, the FTSE100 is more than 25% down, even allowing for dividends. For many, this is not an attractive situation when considering investments. For others, the few that look through the dark clouds, this is a great opportunity. It is very difficult, for the vast majority of people, to time when to buy into markets and when to sell out. When to sell can be simpler for those who have a nerve trigger point that will say enough is enough and they will take their profit. Those who sell when things are going down often get it wrong and crystallise a loss. Some will be forced to sell due to other circumstances and could be lucky that this happens when markets are historically high. Others who have to sell at a low point, such as now, are obviously not so lucky. This then leads to a lack of confidence in investing and the feeling of never wanting to be burnt again.

Anybody sitting on cash, wondering what to do with it, should seriously consider investing at a time like this when stockmarkets have crashed. Interest rates are close to non-existent so there is little to offer short term deposit savers. Inflation trundles on and so cash might be ”king” in the short term, but long term hardly ever. The problem is that whenever there is a crisis few can see beyond its end, so they will not invest until things have improved. By then, the potential profits on offer have disappeared. The fact is that that markets will bottom out. Where? Nobody knows for sure, but based on the fact that a big influence on why markets have fallen so much is fear and panic, it is felt that markets are artificially low. There may be further to go down but it is likely that there will be a significant rebound. Markets tend to discount the future. This means that, on the day that someone says the virus is under control, stockmarkets will have already been on their way up for some time.

One way of coping with the uncertainty of when the bottom of this particular dip might be is to drip feed your money into the markets. This means that if markets continue to slide, you don´t suffer a reduced value on all of your cash. Conversely, if markets increase in value, then you are part of that increase. By feeding your money in over a period of time you are able to reduce the downside and be part of the upside. In time, once this crisis has ended, you will already be invested and thus reap the benefits.

To find out how you could make more from your money, protecting your income streams against inflation and low interest rates, or for any other financial and tax planning information, contact me today at john.hayward@spectrum-ifa.com or call or WhatsApp 618 204 731.