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Applewood are proud to again be sponsors of the Nantwich Tree & Lights

Due to the current Government restrictions, the usual annual Christmas Lights switch on in Nantwich couldn’t go ahead as usual.

However, yesterday evening David Pritchard and Alex Pritchard, Managing Directors of Applewood Independent, joined the Mayor of Nantwich, along with local keyworkers to switch the lights on around the town of Nantwich.
As we can all appreciate, this year has been a strange one, which has proved difficult for many people. But what we have seen is our wonderful community pulling together.

At Applewood Independent we are once again proud to be sponsoring the Nantwich Christmas Tree & Lights. We hope this year’s Christmas Tree and the rest of the fantastic decorations around the town bring some cheer to all residents and visitors during the festive season.

Stay safe everyone and Merry Christmas from all of the team at Applewood Independent.

How To See The Hidden Dangers Of Emotions And Ethics In Investing

Letting emotions get the better of you when it comes to investing opens you, and your money, up to all kinds of trouble.

It can be all too easy to get excited about a high-performing stock as the next “big craze” and jump to rash conclusions thinking, “Wow! I can multiply my return 100 times over and pay off the mortgage”.
On the other hand, getting frustrated with a stock when it hits a low may convince you to sell out of fear it will never recover. There are all sorts of thoughts that can come into play when emotions get involved with investment decisions – it’s honestly one of the worst things you can do.

But what about emotion when it comes to the core values of the individual whose money is being invested? Is there a place for ethics when it comes to making investment decisions?

This article will shed light on these questions. I will also help you to recognise the dangers involved when emotions do get involved so you can avoid making some costly mistakes. 

An emotional bandwagon

“If you see a bandwagon, it’s too late.” –  James Goldsmith

One of the big issues that arises when we make emotional decisions is the tendency for people to allow their greed to push them forwards. It forces them to make decisions they wouldn’t otherwise make. When a stock performs exceptionally well, it can be all too easy for the average personal investor to get excited about making quick money and jump on the bandwagon without giving it much thought.

If it looks too good to be true, it could be

There have been a great many bubbles in the past that have encouraged emotional investors to throw money at them. In the early 2000s, a very similar thing happened with technology stocks. After decades of meteoric market growth in the ‘90s, everything appeared to crash. Essentially, technology stocks were being bought by people who do not usually invest, causing absolute mayhem in the stock market.

The bandwagon had well and truly set sail, and there was no going back.

People started investing heavily into assets such as tech companies that had no turnover, no stock, nothing behind it. The same thing happened 17 years later with Bitcoin when in the space of twelve months, Bitcoin’s stock value dropped.

In the world of investments, the truth is if something looks too good to be true, then it usually is – trust in James Goldsmith and avoid the bandwagons.

Emotion – buy higher, sell lower 

Investments that appeal to people’s emotional side never really serve any use. For example, an emotional investor, because they are looking backwards, may buy into assets that are very high because they haven’t considered where that stock will be in the future. Additionally, emotions would cause that same investor to sell low when they shouldn’t have.

In 2007, if you’d have sold your investments at the bottom of the markets, you would have missed out on more than a decade of tremendous market growth before the pandemic. Either through greed or fear, it is emotion that would have dictated all of those incorrect actions in 2000, 2007 and 2017.

Pragmatic sense doesn’t come from self-managing your investments

Pragmatic sense would take a far more efficient approach. If a stock has gone up 7 or 8 times over a year, as Bitcoin did, do we want to buy that high? Where is that stock going in the next 12 months?

Using a pragmatic template would have also discerned that at the bottom of the 2007 credit crunch, the tech bubble-burst in 2001 and now during the 2020 pandemic, to invest more. Double down on the equities that are cheap, but do it correctly, with advice from an experienced adviser. I explain more about this in my previous blog, The Makeup of a Successful Potfolio, so feel free to refer to that for more information.

This pragmatic sense never usually comes from an individual managing their own money. It comes from a financial professional that takes a pragmatic view of the world, and if they are good enough, a pragmatic view of the future, too.

So when it comes to managing investments, my advice would always be to use an experienced independent adviser. Don’t let your investment decisions be based on human greed. In most cases, it only causes the individual to get caught up on bandwagons, fads and in the worst cases, false promises and scams.

Ethics – do they have a place?

So far, I have made it clear that when it comes to buying and selling, emotion should always take a back seat to the pragmatism of a good financial adviser.

However, what about emotion when it comes to personal values? Do ethics inform investment decisions? Should we let our values stop us from investing in stocks that can give higher returns?

Traditionally, an ethical suite of bonds hasn’t performed as well as other funds. Look at the oil industry as an example. It may not be the most ethical industry, but we are still very much in a world where we need oil everywhere, and as a result, it makes a massive amount of money. If you are in the investment world to make money, then naturally you’re attracted to what will provide the best return, right?

The truth is the world cannot go round without something unethical cropping up. That organic, ethically sourced orange you buy has most likely been driven around in a diesel-fuelled truck, with oil-based rubber tyres. Unfortunately, it’s not always avoidable.

But there is a place for ethical investment, too. In the world today, we are more conscious than ever of our carbon footprint, and this does play a role in investing. Some ethical funds have done tremendously well, investing in the growing popularity of green energy, but it’s still a small market when you compare it to other funds.

Ethical investing with a pragmatic view

Of around 6,000 funds available to buy, the amount of them that are ethical are into the mere hundreds; there just aren’t many ethical things to buy. So what does that mean for diversity and a successful portfolio? When it’s your retirement at stake, is it really worth taking this narrow viewpoint?

If we are to make ethical investments, we should look at it from a pragmatic, rather than emotional viewpoint, in my opinion. If we do so, there are investments out there that can create diversity to traditional assets. The oil industry is a great example of an industry that has made money, isn’t ethical and at some point in the next 20-50 years, may be gone.

So you can be optimistic that more ethical industries like solar will be much larger than they are now and this presents an excellent case for diversifying into them. Ultimately, however, it’s still about looking at it from a pragmatic view and making decisions that will make you the most money.

Smart investing is about following money-making machines like oil but also understanding when to branch off and diversify into smaller markets that will become mainstream in the future, like solar.

And that’s why it’s best to speak with an experienced financial adviser. When we start letting emotions dictate our decisions, mistakes happen. So if ethics elicit an emotional response to the investor, do they have a place in investment either?

I hope this was useful. Feel free to comment with your thoughts and opinions, and email me directly for any further information at alex@applewoodindependent.co.uk.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice. Applewood Independent Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial advice designed for you and your specific circumstances, please contact the author using the contact details provided in this article, or alternatively contact the Applewood Independent Ltd office on 01270 626555.

“Your capital is at risk, you may get back less than you originally invested”

“The value of an investment can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.”

How to Make Better Investments During COVID’s Second Wave

There is no doubt about it – we are now in the second wave of the novel coronavirus. But what does that mean from a financial perspective?

With COVID-19 cases rising all over the world and the UK locking down parts of the country, it seems likely that it’s only a matter of time before the stock markets feel the pinch too. But is this really the case? Can we look beyond the bad news and see the light at the end of the tunnel?
This article will look at the impact of the second wave of this coronavirus from a financial point of view. We will also look at major upcoming events aside from COVID-19 and assess their potential impact on our stock markets so you can make better investment decisions knowing the full picture.

Overseas markets have fared better

During the first wave of COVID-19, nobody foresaw what was going to happen. The effect it had on the economy, the stock market and jobs was utterly unprecedented and hit the UK hard. In fact, the UK took one of the most severe downturns compared to lots of the stock markets around the world. From its all-time high at the beginning of the year, it fell 35% during its worst point, and at the time of writing, we still have 20% to recover.

Overseas markets have fared better with the American, Japanese and German markets having recovered all of their losses already. What this teaches us is that over the last six months, the best performing portfolios all have a larger exposure to overseas investment funds. That’s where the money has been made, however there is nothing to suggest this trend would continue.

Many of the funds have even taken the falls in the market and still made a profit. Some of our riskier portfolios are higher today than they were six months ago due to the positive gain of their overseas exposure.

I talk more about overseas investment funds in my earlier blog ‘How to Beat The 2020 Stock Market‘, but it’s worth mentioning it again here when it comes to looking at the next 18 months now the second wave of the virus is here.

The unloved UK market

The truth is, the city sees the UK market today as being oversold and unloved. Part of the problem was the Brexit worry. It meant that over the last three years, new investment monies from Europe, that always came to London, stopped coming due to the uncertainty brought on by no trade deal. 

And then the novel coronavirus hit.

The combination of these two factors has made it very difficult for the UK market to thrive and is the reason why it has the biggest deficit to recover of any major stock market. 

But we shouldn’t just look at the impact of COVID-19 alone when it comes to the stock market. What I am hearing from fund managers is that there are things, not linked with COVID-19, that will arguably have a more significant, and far more long-term effects on the state of the markets.

Let us have a look at these now.

Elections, Brexit and a Vaccine

Firstly, the recent US presidential election. During any election period, there is always uncertainty in the markets and that has been the same for this one too. However, now that has been decided we may start to see the markets begin to stabilise again in the coming months.

The second thing is that we now know there is a COVID-19 vaccine. The recent announcement of successful trials by both Pfizer and Az brings hope that by next year there should be something ready for the mass market. Once the stock markets begin to see that coming into play, the uncertainty that COVID-19 brings to the markets may start to diminish.

The settling of the US election and knowing there is light at the end of the tunnel with COVID-19 may have two very positive effects on the UK market once uncertainty settles.

Another positive thing for the UK market is Brexit. Like it or not, on the 31st December 2020 the UK will leave the EU, deal or no deal. For better or worse, it means that the uncertainty brought on by Brexit may be taken away and the UK market will possibly begin getting some more love. 

The UK market loved once again

So, what does this mean in terms of investment? Well, for a start, unlike the other major world markets, the UK market still has 20% to recover before it is back to where it was in February 2020. If we look at this from a financial point of view, this presents a great investment opportunity for the UK stock market.

With certainty restored by the recent US election, Brexit on 31st December 2020, AND a vaccine, we may see over the next 18 months some very nice recovery in the UK market. However, we still need to be careful as to where we decide to invest. 

Recently the whole investment world has been turned on its head with traditional “safe” things, like oil and energy production, having a much more difficult time than ever before. We are now in a position where the largest companies in the UK are the more modern, more resilient companies which have been able to adapt to changing circumstances.

Loads of companies that were not traditionally “safe” have made a lot of money in the UK over the last six months. Look at technology companies, delivery companies, e-commerce companies. They have all thrived where other companies, with the wrong business model, have failed – so knowing which sector is going to come out on top of today’s market is vital.

2020 – getting in the market now

If you have investments or pensions and are concerned over the second wave of coronavirus, keep in mind that while it’s been the main focus in the news this year, the economy is not all about COVID-19. As I said earlier, there have been many companies who have prospered at this time. 

The thing to remember is that stock markets HATE uncertainty. They hated the fact that they didn’t know who was going to win the political elections or whether there was going to be a Brexit deal, but come January 2021, that will all be over. We will know what happens to UK-EU borders and we will fully know the plans of Biden’s new democrat US government, which should mean more certainty will come back.

I would suggest that anybody who has money to invest should consider getting into the market now. Once the uncertainty has been removed, the markets may start to recover, and once they do, by waiting you may have missed any preferable bounce that the future holds.

History has proven that the stock markets have ALWAYS recovered. And the UK still has 20% left to go. I discuss market recovery in more detail in my blog, How to Beat the 2020 Stock Market”.

Asset allocation with an independent adviser

So, keep in mind that although the second wave is and always was inevitable, there are still a lot of opportunities if you look in the right places. However, you must be discussing asset allocation with your independent financial adviser. It is the mixture of industry sector investments and geographical areas that will ultimately determine the success of your portfolio, so make sure you are working with a professional to get it right. 

Do you invest in traditional property funds, or look for more modern infrastructure? These are questions that your independent adviser can help with, but whatever you choose, it is better to act now. History shows us if you miss the bounce of a stock market when it recovers, then you may never make the same return. Most of the gain in a stock market’s rise happens in that first bounce. 

Be pragmatic, look at the second wave and the drop of the UK market as a great opportunity. The return of certainty and the recovery of the market is well on its way. 

I hope this was useful. For more information, please feel free to email me at david@applewoodindependent.co.uk or give us a call on 01270 626555.

 

More to come next week.

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice. Applewood Independent Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial advice designed for you and your specific circumstances, please contact the author using the contact details provided in this article, or alternatively contact the Applewood Independent Ltd office on 01270 626555.

The value of an investment can go down as well as up. Past performance is not a guide to future performance.

What Is The Price Of Not Having Financial Advice?

When it comes to purchasing a service, everyone wants to know that they are getting is good value for their investment. Understandably, you will want to know where your hard-earned cash is going. It is the same with financial advice.

At some point, the question of cost will always come up. But what is meant by the word ‘expensive’? Is it the fact that you may have to pay an adviser £500, £5000 or £50,000 in fees to get their advice? How expensive are these fees if the advice could help you avoid a severe pitfall caused by a possible error of judgement when running your own money? Without infrastructure, research, and the experience of a financial adviser, this may be likely, especially in a volatile economy. 

If we talk about the expense of financial advice, we must weigh up these factors and look at the risks involved by choosing to go for the cheapest options.

This article will help to clearly outline the risks involved in choosing to run your funds so you can make an educated decision as to what is best for you. 

Market tracker funds – cheap, but they may not always cheerful

For people who are looking to save extra cash by managing their money, there could be very cheap options available, quite often market trackers. With a market tracker you may well save yourself 0.5% per annum but as I discussed in my blog, The Makeup of a Successful Portfolio, you could expose yourself heavily to the ups and downs of the stock market. 

During a time like we are in now with COVID-19, market tracker funds could face particularly heavy losses. By building your portfolio cheap rather than something more sophisticated, you might save yourself maybe 0.5% per annum. However, when the FTSE 100 market dropped this year, you may have felt the FULL loss. 

This may prove to be far more expensive than paying extra for a diversified, well-researched portfolio.

An average risk in my opinion would have 40% of its money exposed to that market, which means the other 60% had a chance to recover the losses. Now that’s not to say that the entire remaining 60% made a profit. Some of it went up, some went down, and some just stayed still. 

So a diversified portfolio may be a bit more expensive. But that unquantifiable performance, which you can never quote or predict in a graph, could possibly save you from a costly mistake. 

Market funds can appear cheap on paper, but they may not always be cheerful.  

It can be scary

It’s worth noting here that although potentially better than market trackers, building a sophisticated portfolio isn’t without its own risk.

It can be scary for someone with a large sum of money to put their funds in the hands of an adviser, and rightly so. If you are going to trust someone, it is essential to find someone who, unlike a private investor, can get access to fund managers and has all the infrastructure in place to conduct thorough research in the stock markets. 

One man making his own decisions may never compare to an experienced independent adviser. An adviser with decades of experience and an entire team behind them will almost always provide better returns. It is especially true when looking at it from a risk and reward perspective.

So, is financial advice expensive? Perhaps on the surface. However, if that advice can avoid the worst possible market conditions, possibly produce better returns, AND have the potential to take less risk, is it all that costly? Or is the real expense failing to protect yourself? 

You be the judge. 

Applewood Independent

Picking a good independent financial adviser does not mean you have to go straight for the most expensive to get results. At Applewood Independent we are not the cheapest out there, but we are not the most expensive either.

It is possible to get upper-level service with us in comparison to the price of our packages. And those of our competitors too.

At Applewood Independent we have experience and infrastructure. Company founder David Pritchard has over 30 years’ experience building portfolios.

Most advisers his age work from home and do not have a team of three advisors and fourteen back-up staff.

Aside from that, I feel that in many cases being able to deal directly with company owners (like myself and David) adds an added level of service. Applewood Independent is our company, and I do feel in many cases we are more motivated than an average employee to make more money for our clients. With an average employed adviser, it is not their company they are growing, it’s somebody else’s. 

What is the real cost?

So, finding an independent advisor like us would usually be, in my opinion, less expensive than not. Just think, what really is expensive to your pension or life savings? Is it the mistake that could potentially expose you to the market, without a diverse portfolio to recover your losses?

As we know from experience, this could happen tomorrow, next month or next decade but you have still got to protect yourself with diversity and well-managed funds. For you, retirement might be a decade away, but in terms of your future, a 10% hit now on a good portfolio is far better than a 50% hit in the future. 

I hope this was useful. Feel free to email me directly for any further information at alex@applewoodindependent.co.uk.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice. Applewood Independent Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial advice designed for you and your specific circumstances, please contact the author using the contact details provided in this article, or alternatively contact the Applewood Independent Ltd office on 01270 626555.

“Your capital is at risk, you may get back less than you originally invested”

Applewood Independent’s Christmas Message

With businesses closing for the holidays, I wanted to take this time to deliver a short message to all of our readers.

Firstly, I wanted to say a big thank you for your support over the last few months. Creating content like this has been a new, highly enjoyable experience for us and it’s great to know that our blogs are out there helping people better understand the world of investing and financial planning. 

Without a doubt, we will continue to improve on this content far into the future!

If you have been keeping up with our recent posts, you will know that 2021 already has a lot of exciting things in store for investors. Brexit, the COVID-19 vaccine and oil prices may all play major roles in 2021, and I can’t wait to share our insights with you as these factors develop further. 

We will also be sure to report on any new events as they arise, so if you are looking for quick, engaging information on the latest trends in the industry, you know where to go! 

To our clients – thank you!

Next, I wanted to say a massive thank you to our clients. Thank you for trusting us to provide you with the level of service that has now become synonymous with Applewood Independent Ltd. In most cases, we’ve been able to provide value worth far more than the fees we charge, and that’s not only in terms of the return of investments and pensions either. 

We also help people with their inheritance tax planning to make sure they are looked after when they lose someone. To ensure the best service on these matters, we work with a team of external solicitors to assist with probate, which is all included in our charges. 

Everything we do at Applewood Independent Ltd is based around the best interests of our clients, and potential clients. We even have a system in place to ensure we get back to the client the very same day and when clients are anxious about the markets, we will always take the time to give them a five-minute call to set their minds at ease. 

This kind of client care means that most of the clients we work with aren’t worried about money when the stock market falls. They know we put their interests at the forefront of what we do and can rest assured that their money is working as hard as it can for them.   

It is our clients’ faith in us that has allowed Applewood Independent Ltd to be able to deliver on this service, so I wanted to say a massive thank you to all our clients for giving us the privilege of working with you now, and into the future. 

To our outstanding team

Lastly, it’s crucial to point out that we wouldn’t be anywhere without our outstanding team – they have been more efficient at home than in the office in the last few months! We have all been extremely busy this year, and it’s the ever-increasing hard work and dedication of the team which has allowed us to grow the business in 2020.

It is my goal to keep growing the business for many years to come with Alex and the younger members of the team heading up the next generation of Applewood Independent Ltd.

One final note

So, to everyone out there reading this, I’d like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year. I hope you all stay safe, healthy and have a wonderful holiday surrounded by your loved ones.

However, let’s make sure we also follow the rules, stick to our bubbles and do our best to protect the NHS at this crucial time. 

2020 has been a tough year for a lot of people so if you are worried about your taxes, pensions or other investments and need a bit of advice, we are always here for a quick chat.

If you need to, please get in touch!

I hope this was useful. Feel free to email me directly for any further information at david@applewoodindependent.co.uk

 

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not constitute financial advice. Applewood Independent Ltd is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. For financial advice designed for you and your specific circumstances, please contact the author using the contact details provided in this article, or alternatively contact the Applewood Independent Ltd office on 01270 626555.