Don’t panic, a lesson from our recent history

Obviously our primary hope, is that the situation in The Ukraine can de-escalate as soon as possible. The people effected are in our thoughts at this time.

My job, however, is to talk to people a little closer to home about the impact on investment markets.

There’s no getting away from the facts, the majority of our investments have seen losses in recent weeks.

So, what do we do.?

My answer is always to stick to the rules

Time

Diversity

Avoid Greed

Avoid Fear

Take Advice.

The last time we had significant falls in investment values was during the start of the Pandemic.

On March 17th, we wrote to our clients with the following letter.

The current situation regarding Coronavirus and its impact on investments.

We felt it would be a good idea to write to you regarding the current situation on Coronavirus and its impact on investments.

Firstly, our main hope is that the impact of this virus causes the least damage possible and that people are able to continue with their lives.

We continue to follow advice from the Government regarding the office and what we should do. We have put in place measures, so should any of us need to self-isolate we would be able to work from home. We therefore expect to be able to keep the office open throughout.

Regarding investments, this has proven to be a very difficult time and (as ever) the stock market does not like uncertainty. Whilst these are unprecedented times, history tells us, that holding investments for the long term is normally the correct course of action. Short term panic can often lead to poor decisions and losses.

We always believe in long term investing and sticking to the principles of time and diversity whilst avoiding greed and fear.

As always, we will continue to act in your best interest.

6 days later, the world markets bottomed out, and by December that year the majority of our funds had recovered to above their previous highs.

Whether the falls will match those seen in February/ March 2020 or we will need to send another letter remains to be seen.

Nobody has a crystal ball

2008-2021

This month we celebrate 13 years since Trafford and Houghton started.

It has been quite a ride and the last 15 months have been a testing time for all of us.

The success of Trafford and Houghton has been made possible thanks to our vision, our committed staff and loyal customers.

Thank you for being part of the story so far.

Exam Success

Congratulations to our Apprentice Josh on passing the RO6 Financial Planning Practice exam. Josh has now completed the Diploma in Financial Planning!

Well done Josh!

The Longest January

So we finally got through January.

With each day happier, brighter times draw nearer.

I recall seeing a meme on social media

30 days hath September

April, June and November

All the rest have 31

Apart from January which has about 77.

It certainly felt like that.

Whilst markets have slowed somewhat in January most of our portfolios managed to hold onto the gains made in the latter part of 2020.

One of the questions asked most often in January was how had the investments produced a positive return over the last 12 months despite the pandemic.

Well, on the whole clients didn’t panic so instead of wanting to sell assets at the worst possible time, they knew to follow the rules of investing.

Time

Diversity

Avoid Greed

Avoid Fear.

Some portfolios showed big losses between February and March last year but managed to bounce back remarkably quickly as the year went on.

Secondly we are pleased with how the recommended investments have performed, particularly given the backdrop of doom and gloom surrounding Covid.

Then there’s the money injected into the system.

As advisers we try to meet with fund managers as often as we can. The meetings nearly always throw up a nugget, a gem, something that sticks in your mind.

This one is (to me) mind blowing.

In 2020 the amount of money injected into the system by the central banks amounted to $1.2 billion dollars……….. per hour.

And there is no sign of this stopping!  

An interesting blog about a little bit of interest being of interest and the interest in the interest rate rising

In these unprecedented times, people are looking for alternatives to interest from traditional bank accounts given the current bank of England base rate of 0.1%.

However, many people are still holding out for interest rate rises.

I recall in a previous life (at a well known Insurance Company) inflation was referred to as the silent embezzler.

Put simply, £10,000 in the bank today will generally buy you less than it would say, 5 years ago.

So the absolute minimum for any money, is to grow in line with inflation.

That however, is easier said than done in a deposit account when the rate of inflation is significantly higher than The Bank of England base rate (and the vast majority of deposit rates).

So, when do we see interest rates rising, returning to normal?

I used to say at meetings that interest rate rises were always six months away, a bit like the pub which advertises free beer tomorrow.  Neither ever seem to arrive.

After the financial crisis of 2008-09, what appeared to be temporary cut in the bank of England base rate, saw the rate drop to 0.5%. In the twelve years since, the rate has not once risen to 1% and currently sits at an all time low of 0.1% with talk of negative interest rates a real possibility!

Can interest rates rise? Given the amount of borrowing by central governments around the world, is this a realistic possibility?

Another astounding quote heard in financial circles in the last few weeks.

Should the cost of borrowing increase by 0.5%pa, the additional annual cost to The US Treasury would be equal to the Country’s entire military budget for the year.

I guess the interest rate rises are still 6 months away!

CHRISTMAS OPENING HOURS

merry-christmas-wallpaper-hd-download-free

Our Christmas opening hours are as follows:

Wednesday 23rd December 2020: 8:00am – 14:00pm

Thursday 24th December 2020 – Friday 1st January 2021: Closed

Monday 4th January 2021: 8.00am – 17:00pm (normal office hours)

We would like to wish our clients a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.

Thank you for your continued support.

Exam Success

Congratulations to our Apprentice Josh on passing the RO2 Investment Principles & Risk exam last week. Josh has now passed three exams towards his Diploma in Financial Planning and has three to go!

Well done Josh!

Pension Awareness Day

Today is Pension Awareness Day and it’s no secret the average person knows little about their pension.

Recent research from Royal London revealed 66% of pension customers admit to having little or no knowledge about pensions and more than a quarter of workplace pension customers have no idea what happens to their pension money, or think it’s saved in a bank account. It’s good to plan for your future. Whether you’re years from retirement, nearing retirement or about to retire, it’s important to have all the information available to make the right decisions.

At T&H we are fairly optimistic that our clients (in the main) fall into the 34% who do have at least a reasonable knowledge of pensions.  We strongly believe in the ongoing connections with our clients, not just advising but educating in the journey to and through retirement.

Make Hay While The Sun Shines

AKA   Is this the end for pension tax relief.

Well, probably not.

However, the subject is in the news again.

Back in 2016 The rumour mill went into overdrive that the end was nigh for higher rate tax relief on pension contributions. So much so, that record amounts were being put into pensions to grab the generous tax breaks before they disappeared.

Such was the hysteria that George Osbourne announced on a Saturday morning (interrupting my holiday!) that pension tax relief was here to stay.

So will history repeat itself?

Will this be much ado about nothing (again)?

Who knows? I suspect tax relief will stay in some form, but we are in unprecedented times.

The cost of the Coronavirus dwarfs anything we’ve seen before and  is likely to be felt for generations. Therefore it does make sense that something may have to give.

We have a phrase at T&H that nobody will march in the street against that.. I do think that the removal of pension tax relief, particularly higher rate relief, could be seen as an easy target.

When you also consider that the current government doesn’t have to call another election for another four years, then some tough unpopular choices look easier now than a year or two down the line.

So, whilst I would never advocate acting in haste when it comes to investing or (as some might say) allowing the tail to wag the dog……

Make Hay while the sun shines .