Are you preparing properly for your retirement?

The concept of retirement has the potential to be the best years of your life but you need to prepare properly in order to make the most of it. Everybody wants the freedom to pursue what they love during these years without the need for strict budgeting and sacrificing. This is why it is vital you start planning your retirement as early as possible. What type of retirement you want depends on you. If you want to continue to live in different countries or work part time in a consultancy role then planning is needed.

It is important to remember that Personal and Financial planning are both as important as each other. A quick test to know how well you are prepared for retirement is to ask yourselves the following types of questions:

  • What age would you like to retire from your current role? it doesn’t mean you can give up work completely.

  • What sort of lifestyle do you want in retirement?

  • Where do you want to retire to?

  • How much will you expect to spend per month?

  • What do you currently have in your retirement funds or income vehicles?

  • How much will your pension/savings pots be worth when you reach retirement age?

  • How many years can you expect your funds to have to last?

Seven deadly sins of investor behaviour

Behavioural finance is a discipline that draws on psychology to explain cognitive and emotional errors made by investors.

Here are some biases of which all investors should be aware.

HERDING

The market over recent months has been characterised by violent short-term trends. So it has been easy for investors to herd, that is, thoughtlessly to imitate others. December 2018 was the S&P 500 index’s steepest December decline since 1931 (-9.2%); and January 2019 its strongest start to a year since 1987 (+7.9%). Herding leads investors to panic and sell after market falls, and to become overconfident and buy at the top of rallies.

Take a calm, long-term perspective, and have confidence in judgments backed by evidence, even if temporarily contradicted by others’ short-term behaviour.

LOSS AVERSION

The pain of loss is felt more keenly than the pleasure of profit. This principle extends beyond finance: studies show that in interactions between married couples, it takes five kind comments to offset one critical comment. Loss aversion can lead investors to behave irrationally, and, after several years of low volatility prior to 2018, many have forgotten how to handle losses.

Try to adopt a broader view that sets losses in the context of overall profits.

CONFIRMATION BIAS

A focus on data that merely confirms previous beliefs. Such is the volume of information available to investors that it can be very difficult for them to avoid unconsciously filtering out data that would contradict their opinions.

ANCHORING

Anchoring is the tendency to rely heavily on one piece of information – often a reference point adopted at an early stage. An example is the belief that some asset classes, such as utilities equities, real estate equities, the yen, or gold, are all-weather safe havens. Yet during 2018, all the above were negatively correlated with the volatility index, indicating that they tended to fall when S&P 500 volatility spiked.

ENDOWMENT EFFECT

People tend to value something they own more highly than something they do not. This can lead to investors holding onto underperforming stocks for too long and failing to form a fair view of them.

Although stocks are legally rights to ownership in companies, they can be dominated by market- rather than company-specific factors.

CONSERVATISM

Beliefs are often insufficiently revised even when new evidence is presented.

OVERREACTION

An excessive emotional response can cause havoc. Even experienced investors can fall prey to overreaction, abandoning their investment process and taking irrational decisions after a period of underperformance, for example. Overreaction makes an interesting contrast with conservatism.

Try to keep faith in a sound, disciplined investment process – even during periods of short-term underperformance. Improvements to a proven investment process should be incremental and well-researched.

Source: Merian Global Investors