Trump to the left of us, Brexit to the right…stuck in the middle with EU

There has been a lot of uncertainty surrounding Brexit and what impact this will have on people’s investments and pensions. A question I have been asked recently by clients, is whether they should move their investments to a safer fund or stick with their current strategy. At any given time, you need to accept the value of your investment when reviewing it. What you wish it was worth is not as important as taking a cold hard look at your circumstances for how you wish to strategize your investment going forward.

There are some things I would suggest you consider before giving any sort of advice:

  •  How long do you have before you will most likely need to mature your investment?

  • How much of your money can you afford to lose?

  • How will you react if you lose a significant value of your fund? Will you cash in your investment or move to a safer option or remain committed to your fund strategy?

  • What portion of your fund/investment would you call significant?

What has this got to do with Brexit? It has everything and nothing to do with it. I would not recommend that people try to time the market in terms of getting in and out of investments. Brexit may be the most immediate danger to the stability of the market, but it won’t be the only one over the coming years. So, if a person learns to see their investment as something that will go through good and bad periods, they will improve their chances of making the right decisions at different times.

One of the important things to note, is how long you plan to invest your funds. The longer you intend on investing your money the potentially greater the risk you can afford to take. The next thing is trying to work out how comfortable you will be with these fluctuations and this will help determine how much risk you can take.

So, what will happen with Brexit? Well, nobody really knows. Perhaps it will be a “Hard Brexit”. Maybe there will be a referendum or an election which will change the direction the UK is taking. What impact this has on investments is anybody’s guess. One would not expect that Brexit should lead to a worldwide recession like the crisis of 2007/08.

Where do you invest €10,000 today?

Well everyone seemingly has an opinion on this question and will give you a quick answer to it! Well that’s anyone with the exception of a Financial Broker, who is unlikely to give you a quick answer to such an important question. Because what to invest in is not about going with fads or trying to pick a winner as you might in a horse race. Instead finding the best investment opportunities needs to based on a very systematic approach and on your own particular circumstances. And that’s where a Financial Broker will help you.

Your Financial Broker will first look to become crystal clear on your investment objectives. Why are you investing? What is your end goal for the money? What is your investment timeframe? It’s only when they get clear on these types of questions that they can start to even think about what to invest in. Investing money in Ireland today is full of opportunities and pitfalls, it is really important that your Financial Broker understands your objectives fully first.

Understanding your attitude to take risk is the next essential step in determining the best investment for you, because what might be considered the best investments in Ireland may not be the right investment for you. At the end of the day, we are all different when it comes to what we consider acceptable risk in relation to our investments. For some people, they want to always get back at least their investment amount after a set period of time, even if this means lower potential returns. For others, they want to aim for the maximum possible returns and can happily sleep at night even if they risk losing some of their money. Your Financial Broker will ask you a series of questions that will help you to determine your personal appetite for risk (are you happy to take risk or not?) and also your capacity to take risk (can you afford to take risk or not?). This will guide them further towards the right investment opportunities for you.

Your Financial Broker will then want to know your full financial circumstances to see where your investments sit in your overall financial affairs, as this may also shape the suitability of individual products.

When they have all of this done, your Financial Broker will then research all of the best investments in Ireland to find the one that suits you. Unlike a bank or life assurance company salesman, they are not tied to advising in relation to the products of one company. They will find the best product to meet your objectives, one that fits with your attitude to risk and that also suits your specific personal circumstances.

So back to the question of where do you invest €10,000 today? We still can’t tell you the answer, but using the services of a Financial Broker will ensure that you end up getting the best result for you.


Pension and Investment Lessons from the Economic Crash: A Financial Broker Perspective

Think back to the start of 2008. The economic storm clouds were getting darker, there were rumblings about losses building in banks across the globe and investors were beginning to get nervous. And now race forwards 7 years and consider the lessons to be learned with the benefit of hindsight. Like all lessons, these are lessons that can easily be forgotten again!

Research has shown time and time again that “stock picking” investors rarely out-perform the market. Yes some hit lucky and beat the market, but the majority would be better off in a fund that tracks a stock market index, or a professionally managed active fund.


Why is that? At the end of the day, people make poor investment decisions because they are human. They see stock markets racing ahead, and then decide to buy in. Or indeed (as during the economic crash) when there are huge falls in the market, investors decide to jump ship. And of course this is exactly the opposite of what we should do, i.e. buy low and sell high. Your financial adviser will help you to do the right thing, and often that might be to sit tight and do nothing at all. 

Every Financial Broker will know the horror stories of one-way bets and sure things. Surely, if you had a genuine one-way bet, you’d tell no one about it! So the “guaranteed” returns that were coming from apartments in far-flung places and the certain returns from Irish bank shares were shown up for what they are – investments with risks attached, just like all other investments. Your Financial Broker will ensure you have a diversified investment portfolio that matches your risk tolerance. They will caution you against these “sure things”!

In the past, when people were asked about the amount of risk they were happy to take, they bullishly took on more risk, with the hope of gaining greater rewards. However the folly of this approach was laid bare when the crash came and investment losses increased. Many investors realised that they were ill equipped to deal with these losses, either financially or emotionally.

Having a Financial Broker in your corner will help take the emotion out of your investments. Their financial advice will be based on experience and knowledge of the highs and lows of the markets over many investment cycles. Their only interest is in your financial goals and objectives and how best to achieve them. From their experiences as a financial adviser, they have learned that there is no quick route to success.

Instead they will bring rigour and a structured methodology to the financial advice that they offer. So apart from fulfilling their traditional role as your financial adviser, a Financial Broker can be your financial conscience!

What is . . . ?

Life Assurance: This is cover designed to provide a financial lump sum to a family/person/company in the event of the death of a specified individual. There are different kinds of Life Assurance that include:

  • Mortgage Protection – Decreasing Life Assurance – ends at set term

  • Term Assurance – Level Life Assurance – ends at set term

  • Whole of Life cover – Level Life Assurance – No set term

  • There is reviewable and non reviewable Whole of Life cover

    Life Assurance with convertible option: You can request a conversion option on some Life cover. This allows you to extend the lifetime of your policy without having to supply any medical information. This allows some people to choose a shorter term for cover now, at a lower cost.

    An example of this benefit would be if you take out €100,000 Life cover for 10 years with a conversion option. During the 10 year lifetime of this plan you might get sick or be struck with an illness that would prevent you from taking out Life cover in the future. The conversion option would allow you to extend the term of your €100,000 Life cover beyond the 10 years and the Life company could only use your medical information from the original application.

    Serious Illness Cover: This is cover designed to provide a financial lump sum to a family/person/company where a specified individual is diagnosed with a Serious Illness.

    Income Protection: This is a cover designed to be a replacement Income if a person is unable to work due to illness or injury. It is particularly important for self-employed people.

    The cost of these covers depends mainly on your age, your smoker status, your health and the length of time you would like the cover.

    Pensions: During your working life, you can save into a Pension arrangement to subsidise your drop in income at retirement. The main advantages of this are that you get tax relief on your contributions and you get tax free growth on your investment.

    Savings/Investment plans: An alternative to saving/investing money in the bank. The main advantage is that there is a much greater potential to grow your investment. The main disadvantage is that your value can go down as well as up.