Through the palm trees, I can see the white sand dunes of northeast Fuerteventura. To my left, the waves are breaking on the shore. Earlier, I was swimming, and later on, I’ll probably take another dip.
Holidays are always welcome, and this one especially so. It’s been a good opportunity to unwind from a busy few months, and recharge the mental batteries.
But as with many of my holidays, it has also provided a welcome opportunity to do some thinking, catch up on some reading, and jot down some conclusions on a ‘to do’ list.
Time well spent
Regular readers will probably recall that I made a similar observation last time I was here on Fuerteventura, a couple of years ago, relaxing at this same isolated seashore hotel.
Once home, I began working through my ‘to do’ list, putting into practice that plans that I had conceived.
Two years on, looking at some of my investments – the value of my SIPP pension, for instance – it’s clear that this was time well spent.
The simple truth is that successful wealth-building investment strategies almost never pop into one’s head, fully-formed: some period of consideration is generally always necessary.
Put another way, in a day-to-day world full of news-driven noise, distance from the day-to-day pressures of life serves to provide its own – generally invaluable – perspective.
And to be sure, there has been plenty to think about.
Whatever the outcome of the General Election, higher taxes on investment income seem almost certain. That this represents a form of double taxation – don’t forget that investors, who own a company, have already paid corporation tax on its profits – seems to not trouble the Chancellor.
Whither the so-called ‘Trump bump’? The FTSE 100 is breaking fresh barriers, but the fundamentals are start to look more than a little stretched, as Trump’s presidency becomes increasingly mired in argument and scandal.
Growth, or income? Not so long ago, I’d have said ‘income’. But with earnings multiples starting to look decidedly rich, it’s difficult to dismiss the logic of hunting for value in growth stocks.
Inflation? Brexit? The pound? North Korea? The Middle East?
At 62, I’m old enough to remember former prime minister Harold Macmillan: “Events, dear boy, events,” was his response when asked what kept him awake at night.
That said, you will have your own agenda to think through: no two investors’ circumstances are ever exactly the same.
But most of us have the same broad objectives. Financial freedom, a second income, the ability to retire early, a nest-egg built up against adverse circumstances: talk to investors, and the same core themes emerge again and again.
And in working towards those objectives, careful thought usually pays dividends – often literally so.
Put another way, in turbulent times – such as the last ten or fifteen years, or so – a little foresight and preparedness go a long way.
Looking at my own financial circumstances, I can clearly see the impact of a few ‘big calls’: buying at market lows in 2003, 2009, and 2016, for instance; seeing the post-crash recovery potential of Asia and North America; and making a few prescient share picks.
Fortune favours the thoughtful
The trick, as ever, is having the time and space to think through the issues.
What tends to works best for me is doing this away from the office. Your mileage, as they say, may vary.
But wherever it is that you do your best thinking – with whatever data sources you prefer to work with as you do that thinking – my advice is to make sure that your investment goals receive the attention that they deserve.
The bottom line: investing is very rarely a matter of luck. So don’t leave your wealth to chance.
And now, if you’ll forgive me, it may just be time for a glass of sangria…
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