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The Four Golden Rules for Achieving Financial Independence

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The Four Golden Rules for Achieving Financial Independence

By Dale Gillham 

Over the past twenty years, I have been fortunate enough to be involved in helping thousands of people achieve their financial goals. However, a common theme,which became apparent in the early days of my career, is that most people don’t know where to begin their journey towards achieving financial independence.Interestingly, in my experience, little has changed despite the enormity of information available on this subject.

The cold reality is that investing in the stock market is one of the few things you can do where you know from the outset you will lose money. The issue I find is that while many people agree with this statement on an intellectual level, the majority never believe it will happen to them.

The irony is that most people seek out quick fixes to achieving their financial goals with the mindset that short-term gratification will fulfill their long-term needs.This is often spurred on by the proliferation of seminars available on trading the stock market. Whether the strategies presented actually work for you or not is usually of no concern once a sale is made. Indeed, from experience, I can say that all you really gain is a little bit of knowledge and very little understanding.

Think about it: If I spent a few days with you learning how to do your job, do you really believe I would gain the required knowledge or experience to be proficient?It is highly unlikely. Yet, many people are blinded by the instant gratification that the stock market offers, plunging head-first into the market using complex strategies in the hope of profiting from their efforts. Sadly, many have lost their capital, or a substantial portion of it, trying to implement these supposed wealth strategies. As a result of these poor experiences, many do nothing or seek out-advice from a financial planner or broker, believing this is their only hope of achieving long-term wealth. But is it?

What I’ve learnt from over twenty years of investing in the stock market is this: gaining knowledge is one thing; it’s gaining the right knowledge and understanding that is critical to your long-term success in the stock market.While self-education requires both commitment and work, what I have discovered, and what I share with you in my book, Accelerate Your Wealth, is that you don’t need to be a genius or a rocket scientist to achieve consistently profitable returns in the stock market. In fact, I think it help snot to be a rocket scientist.

What people need to be truly successful in creating financial independence in the stock market is a practical framework they can follow that is tried and tested, and provides a higher probability of ensuring that they are consistently profitable while reducing their risk of losing. Therefore, what follows, are my four golden rules to success in the stock market. While some may see these rules as too simplistic, please do not underestimate the power of them, as they do really work and will make you a lot of money while reducing your risk. I then follow this up with how you can apply these rules regardless of the amount of capital you have to invest. 

Golden rule #1

Irrespective of the amount of money you have to invest or the instrument you are trading, you should always spend the same amount of time researching your options to ensure you are protecting your capital on each and every occasion.

 Golden rule #2

When constructing a medium to long-term portfolio, you should always aim to have between five and twelve stocks in your portfolio. The idea is not to have lots of stocks with small amounts invested in each; instead, you only require a small number of the right stocks, with larger amounts invested in each because:

  • Smaller portfolios are easier to manage and represent lower risk
  • It is far easier to select a smaller number of stocks that are rising in price. The result is increased returns.
  • You will have fewer transaction costs when buying and selling stocks simply because a smaller portfolio will have fewer transactions.

Golden rule #3

Never invest more than twenty percent of your total capital in any one stock. If you invest in the stock market, you need to accept that some stocks will fall in value. However, this rule will help reduce your exposure to risk, while allowing you to achieve good returns simply because you are minimising the amount of capital you could lose at any one time.

Golden rule #4

You should only ever invest ten percent of your available capital in trading short-term highly leveraged markets and allocate the remaining ninety per cent to trading a medium to long-term portfolio. This is a very solid money management rule that allows you to take a low risk approach with your money while still achieving good returns on your capital.

Now that you know the four golden rules to success in the stock market that will help you Accelerate Your Wealth, let’s take a look at how you would initially construct your portfolio based on the amount of capital you have to invest.

Small investors 

One of the most common questions I get asked is: “How much do I need to start investing in the stock market?” You can begin investing with as little as a $1,000, although you will want to develop a savings strategy so that you can build up your portfolio until you hold at least five stocks. Because of transaction costs, I always recommend that the minimum amount you should allocate to a particular stock is $1,000.

Obviously, if you have less than $5,000 to invest, you will be breaking Golden Rule #3 which is to never invest more than twenty percent of your total capital in any one stock. Until your portfolio grows large enough to ensure you only ever invest twenty percent of your total portfolio in any one stock it’s okay to break this rule in the short term; for many, it is the only way they can get started in the stock market.

Once you hold a minimum of five stocks, you can begin to increase the amount of shares you hold in each company. If you sell a stock, reinvest the capital from the sale into another stock, as well as any savings you may have accumulated, to increase the amount you are purchasing. Gradually your position size will increase, rather than the amount of stocks you own, which will ensure you are able to manage your risk.

 If you have less than $5,000 to invest, it is not recommended that you consider leveraging as part of your overall portfolio strategy until you build up your capital to around $20,000.

Small to medium investors

If you have between $5,000 and $20,000 to invest, you may still need to break Golden Rule #3, particularly if you have less than $10,000, as you want larger parcels of your capital invested in stocks, so that you minimise your risk. Therefore, if you have less than $10,000, I recommend you split your capital into parcels of twenty-five per cent so you hold four different stocks.

If you have $10,000 to $20,000 to invest, you would comfortably invest no more than twenty percent of your total capital in each stock. In other words, you would simply buy five different stocks to hold in your portfolio.

If you want to incorporate leveraging into your portfolio, I would only recommend this if you have $20,000 or more to invest. In this instance, you would allocate $18,000 to your medium to long-term portfolio and $2,000 to your short-term trading account, which would provide you with capital of $20,000 at 10:1 trading on margin. To minimise your risk when using margin lending, it is advisable that you avoid using all of the available funds that the lender provides. Allow yourself a safety margin in case something does go wrong.

 Larger investors 

If you are a large investor with capital holdings over $20,000, you may want to purchase more than five stocks. This way, the percentage of your total capital that you invest in each stock will drop below twenty per cent. For example, if you have $100,000 to invest, you may want to purchase ten stocks, with each stock representing ten per cent of your total portfolio. On the other hand, if you have a million to invest, you may want to invest $100,000 in each stock, which would still represent only ten per cent of your total portfolio in any one stock.

Although I recommend you should never invest more than twenty percent of your total portfolio in any one stock, obviously your portfolio will grow as the stocks rise in value. Over time, this growth will change the percentage each stock represents in your portfolio, as one or more rise in price. This is perfectly okay, as Golden Rule #3 only relates to the amount of capital you should invest when initially purchasing a stock. Remember—the purpose of this money management rule is to protect your total capital should a newly entered position turn bad.

Those with larger portfolios are better placed to incorporate leveraging as part of their overall investment strategy, however, as I have stressed many times before, you need to ensure you are consistently profitable in the stock market over the medium to long term before you consider this approach.

To sum up 

Let me say, from experience, if you follow the golden rules and strategies outlined, you will reduce your risk and achieve greater returns than most in the stock market. Remember,

  • Always take the same amount of time researching your options to ensure you are protecting your capital on each and every occasion.
  • Always aim to have between five and twelve stocks in your portfolio.
  • Never invest more than twenty percent of your total capital in any one stock.
  • Only ever invest ten percent of your available capital in trading short- term highly leveraged markets and allocate the remaining ninety per cent to trading a medium to long-term portfolio.

You also need to consider the amount of capital you have to invest, as this will determine how you initially construct your portfolio.

Last, but not least, it is important, if you want to achieve better than average returns, to focus your attention on assets that are rising in value and increasing your wealth.

Good luck and good trading!

Dale Gillham is Chief Analyst at Wealth Within and international best-selling author of How to Beat the Managed Funds by 20%. He is also author of Accelerate Your Wealth: It’s Your Money, Your Choice, which is available in book stores and online at www.wealthwithin.us.

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COVID-19 is changing people’s preferences when it comes to BTL investments

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COVID-19 is changing people’s preferences when it comes to BTL investments 1

By Jamie Johnson, CEO of FJP Investment

Throughout 2020, investors have had to navigate increasingly treacherous and volatile market conditions as a consequence of the COVID-19 pandemic. No country has been immune to the coronavirus outbreak, particularly here in the UK.

Yet even as the country enters another phased lockdown of sorts, demand for UK property has remained strong. After a brief period of suppressed demand after initial lockdown measures were introduced in late March, the UK’s implementation of the stamp duty land tax (SDLT) holiday triggered a rush in demand for bricks and mortar. As a result, both house prices and transactional activity is rising.

With this new surge in demand resulting in an 18-year-high of UK house price growth, according to the Royal Institute of Charted Surveyors, buy-to-let (BTL) investments have also substantially increased in popularity.

It’s easy to understand why. BTL investments offer landlords both long-term capital growth and regular returns in the form of rental payments. And now, as the SDLT holiday deadline beckons closer, investors keen on taking advantage of the comparative discounts on offer must act quickly.

My advice to those considering a BTL investment in the UK is to understand and appreciate the longstanding market changes that have been brought about by COVID-19. Traditional BTL hotspots are being challenged by a rise in tenant demand for real estate in up-and-coming cities and regions.

For example, the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in the majority of the workforce working remotely from home. Recent data from property listing site Rightmove makes clear the shift in demand away from central London and towards less densely populated regions; with areas like Cambridge and Oxford seeing 76% and 64% more rental searches respectively and searches in areas like Earl’s Court dropping by 40%.

This is the clear result of previously London-based professionals realising the benefits of working from home. As businesses identify the financial drawbacks and COVID contagion risks of having all their staff physically present five days a week, employers will seek out smaller commercial workspaces.

At the same time, we are also seeing workers looking to rent larger, cheaper properties that might be further away from their office. This is due to the fact that they are unlikely to need to commute every working day to their office, even once the COVID-19 outbreak has been contained.

But, where exactly are the best larger, cheaper properties to be found? Where are the UK’s emerging BTL hotspots that need to be on the radar of prospective investors? I explore these pertinent questions below.

Liverpool life

Those who have been closely following the UK’s housing market will know just how primed Liverpool is for BTL investment. As a key recipient of the UK Government’s Northern Powerhouse funding, and with massive developments like Liverpool Waters and Wirral Waters soon to be completed, the city’s housing supply is ready to meet the demands of those taking part in the aforementioned London professional exodus.

With Liverpool constantly ranking No.1 in rankings of UK cities for BTL investment, it’s evident why investors would be keen on completing purchases of Liverpool property before the end of the SDLT holiday. Though even after the SDLT holiday ends, there’re still plenty of reasons to be optimistic about Liverpudlian BTL investment. Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s government is firmly committed to ‘levelling up’ the North of England through regional regeneration, and planned high speed rail connections between Liverpool and other northern cities will only add to the investment potential of the city.

Leeds living

Although Liverpool boasts the highest rental yields for BTL landlords in real terms, Leeds was recently named the most profitable city to become a landlord in the whole of the UK by CIA landlord. By evaluating numerous metrics; including mortgage costs, average rent, average monthly landlord costs and average property prices, they determined that Leeds was the best city for potential buyers to make their first foray into BTL investment.

And, looking at recent trends, it’s easy to see why. Leeds may benefit more from the London exodus than other cities due to its unique position of being a brain gain city’, i.e. one where more students remain after graduation than move away. As a result, it boasts the largest financial services sector in the nation after London, making it an ideal locale for employers in the financial services sector who are seeking cheaper commercial rent outside of London; likely bringing investment and employees with them.

With its strong urban economy likely to be bolstered by its designation as a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ leading business hub, Leeds is ideally positioned for BTL investment over the long-term.

Cardiff’s regeneration

And finally, the capital of Wales brings much to the table when deciding between different BTL investment destinations. With a metropolitan area population of over 1.1 million residents, forecasted to grow by 20% by 2035, demand for property in the city is set to rapidly increase over the next decade. Those able to capitalise on this population growth will be able to access considerable long-term investment opportunities – as recent reports suggest.

Thankfully, it’s unlikely that there’ll be any shortage of housing supply in Cardiff for BTL investors to invest in. Cardiff Bay has emerged as Europe’s largest waterfront development, and the upcoming Central Quay and £500m coastal developments will assist in attracting further investment into the city.

BTL remains a sound investment opportunity

COVID-19 has made evident just how resilient British real estate is as an investment asset. By offering the best of both worlds, namely long-term capital growth and regular rental returns, BTL has successfully remained an attractive and popular investment choice. And, with demand for housing still outstripping supply, the market need for rental accommodation looks set to only grow.

COVID-19 has permanently changed the UK’s housing market and, as explained above, new BTL hotspots are surely due to emerge over the next year. With renters seeking out larger homes in cheaper areas, flexible working patterns will forever change the landscape of the UK’s residential real estate market, and those able to capitalise on it may benefit hugely as a result.

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Global private wealth holders set to almost double impact investing allocation over next five years

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Global private wealth holders set to almost double impact investing allocation over next five years 2
  • High net worth individuals, families, family offices, and foundations plan to increase their allocation to impact investing from 20 per cent of their portfolios in 2019 to 35 per cent by 2025.
  • A quarter (27 per cent) of all investors expect to move to more than 50 per cent invested for impact within five years.
  • Nine-in-10 (87 per cent) investors say climate change influences their investment choices, while over half (52 per cent) view climate change as the greatest threat to the world.
  • Seven-in-10 (69 per cent) say COVID-19 has affected their views of investing and the economy, while 66 per cent say that it is likely to broaden their risk assessment to include more environmental, social, and governance (ESG) factors.

A new research report launched by Campden Wealth, Global Impact Solutions Today (GIST), and Barclays Private Bank reveals the growth in leading private wealth holders and family offices investing for positive social and environment impact, with the average portfolio allocation set to almost double, increasing from 20 per cent in 2019 to 35 per cent by 2025.

Investing for Global Impact: A Power for Good, now in its seventh year, provides unique insight into the attitudes and actions of a sample of the world’s wealthiest individuals, families, family offices, and their foundations when it comes to generating positive impact with their capital. As a leading global benchmark for those interested in impact investing and philanthropy, data for this study was collected from over 300 respondents from 41 countries, with an average net worth of $876 million and cumulative net worth estimated at $264 billion. Additionally, case studies with prominent investors and philanthropists also feature in the report.

Private wealth holders are increasingly engaging in impact investing

The proportion of the wealthy investors allocating more than 20 per cent of their portfolio to impact investing is expected to increase from 27 per cent to 39 per cent as soon as next year, and a quarter (27 per cent) are predicting to allocate more than 50 per cent within five years from now. As such, the average portfolio allocation to impact investing amongst these investors is expected to increase from 20 per cent in 2019 to 35 per cent by 2025.

Driving this uplift is the belief of two-in-five respondents (38 per cent) that they have a responsibility to make the world a better place. A quarter (24 per cent) believe that this approach will lead to better returns and risk profiles, and 26 per cent are looking to show that family wealth can create positive outcomes around the world.

Climate change considered the greatest threat to the world

The majority of investors (82 per cent) feel a responsibility to support global social and environmental initiatives. Specifically, just over half (52 per cent) believe that the long-term impacts of climate change pose the greatest threat to the world, and roughly four-in-five (83 per cent) are already concerned with the effects of climate change seen globally. These concerns mean that nine-in-10 (87 per cent) say that climate change plays a part in their investment choices.

While just over half (53 per cent) of these wealthy investors say Europe is leading the world in carbon neutral initiatives, 86 per cent want governments to do more, but at the same time, four-in-five (81 per cent) recognise the role of private capital in addressing climate change. With this in mind, two-in-five (39 per cent) would like to know the carbon footprint of their portfolio to inform their investing, while roughly one-in-five (19 per cent) already have this information.

Of those who do know their carbon footprint data, 13 per cent consider it as they make further investments and 9 per cent use it to actively reduce it towards a target, showing that more information around carbon emissions helps create greater positive impact.

COVID-19 is acting as a ‘wake-up call’ and driving interest in sustainable investing

COVID-19 has made individuals increasingly aware of the world around them, with seven-in-10 (69 per cent) respondents saying that it has affected their views of investing and the economy. Nearly half (49 per cent) believe that investing will not return to ‘normal’, even after the crisis subsides, and one-in-five (22 per cent) think that the impact investing market is about to ‘take off’.

In a sign that the implications for impact investing will be long lasting, two-thirds (66 per cent) say that they are likely to broaden their risk assessment to include more ESG factors, while 64 per cent insist that the crisis will force a deeper reconsideration of shareholder capitalism, and 69 per cent agree that how companies behave during the crisis will determine their investment attractiveness afterwards.

Healthcare ranked the second most popular impact sector, and a notable 84 per cent say that they plan to increase their investment to healthcare over the coming year, a proportion that outstrips all others.

Remarks from:

Dr. Rebecca Gooch, Director of Research at Campden Wealth:

“Globally, over $30 trillion is now being invested sustainably[1] and this trend towards responsible investment is catching on rapidly within the private wealth community. A notable proportion of wealth holders are now engaged and there are expectations, particularly since COVID-19, for a considerable hike in their investment over the coming years.

“Wealth holders see the challenging state of the world, and the risks and vulnerabilities both individuals and businesses face due to COVID-19 and climate change, and they want to act. Here is where smart investment and deep pockets can make a real difference in impact and ESG investment. For many, responsible investing is not only the ethical thing to do, but it is simply good business practice.”

Gamil de Chadarevian, Founder, Global Impact Solutions Today (GIST)

“There has never been a better time to fast-track investment for sustainable progress and smart innovation to generate profound impact for people and planet.

“We launched the report to catalyse and accelerate this transformation by serving as the leading knowledge platform to broaden understanding, identify trends, and provide a ‘peer-to-peer’ benchmark for investors in the field.”

Damian Payiatakis, Head of Sustainable and Impact Investing, Barclays Private Bank:

“Investors are being challenged to safely pilot their family’s lives and their portfolios through the disruptions of 2020, and it means they are having more discussions about the future – how their family’s wealth can reflect more of their values and the role they want to play in society.

“Families are considering the impact of their capital and then increasingly taking action, by allocating more towards solving our urgent global societal and environmental issues. We see that investors wanting to make this shift are looking for guidance to navigate the rapidly evolving field and to access high-quality opportunities that can deliver financially and with positive outcomes.”

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Can Covid-19 provide opportunities to change stakeholder relationships for good?

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Can Covid-19 provide opportunities to change stakeholder relationships for good? 3

By Paul Williams, Head of Production and Planning, Speak Media

When the coronavirus crisis hit the UK in March, businesses faced the immediate challenge of making sure that their content output was relevant to a strange and unsettling new landscape.

But, even as lockdown eases, could there be lasting implications for how companies communicate with their stakeholders? In a recent survey created by Speak Media and the Public Relations and Communications Association (PRCA), 93% of respondents said that the post-Covid world was likely to bring new opportunities for businesses to connect with their audiences – and pointed to a range of ways in which their relationships could change for good.

Here are four ways in which your relationships with stakeholders could evolve.

  1. Adapting to the needs of your customer base

The ‘new normal’ might be starting to feel more, well, normal – but that doesn’t mean your brand should revert to a pre-Covid content comfort zone. Nearly 80% of the comms leaders who took part in our survey said that organisations have an opportunity to become more relevant by adapting to the shifting needs of their customer base.

It is likely that the challenges and anxieties facing your stakeholders have changed significantly, so don’t assume customer interests are the same as they were before the pandemic. Do your research, communicate with your audience and look at key analytics data to identify areas you can provide real value to your readership – then focus your content efforts on them.

For example, sports brand Nike garnered positive attention for its ‘Play Inside’ marketing message – which not only encouraged its community to stay indoors at the height of the pandemic, but also gave them the tools they needed to workout at home. Meanwhile, in the financial services sector, Barclays has offered customers and clients who are facing coronavirus-related challenges access to insights from senior colleagues through its main digital hub, home.barclays.

  1. Creating meaningful connections

Close to 70% of our respondents cited creating “deeper and more meaningful connections with different stakeholder groups” as an important opportunity for brands. The last few months have placed a new emphasis on authentic brand identities and the values behind them. As consumers renew their interest in the broader significance of companies, there’s an opportunity to highlight your brand’s story, what it stands for – and ultimately create a more profound connection with you audience.

  1. Using your brand as a platform for positive change

It is not enough to ­just proclaim your principles in generic statements – your brand also needs to demonstrate how it is putting its values into action. According to our survey, 75% of comms professionals think the coronavirus crisis gives brands the chance to “serve society better and use their business as a platform for positive change”.

Your content output should become a platform that explains how your brand is making a difference – whether it is by reporting on events, highlighting colleague stories, publishing a think piece on how a problem could be resolved, or giving your readership the resources they need to take action themselves. Sainsbury’s for example has used the news section of its corporate website to post updates about a new partnership with charity FareShare, which will allow customers to help get groceries to people in need.

  1. Become a trusted source of expertise

The pandemic has created an atmosphere of uncertainty in almost every industry. It is therefore likely that your audience will be seeking information about the current landscape and how it could evolve.

Show that you deserve their trust by creating content that provides concrete value to your audience on a range of topics that relate to your brand ­– from reports and expert opinions to advice or guidance.

It is more important than ever to ensure information is detailed, accurate, but accessible enough to appeal to the knowledge levels of your varied stakeholders. Brand content from Vodafone, for instance, has recently covered topics such as making the most of tech while working from home and how smartphones could help find ways of treating Covid-19. And insurer Aviva has published engaging editorial perspectives on effective leadership while working remotely through its podcast.

Invest time in showcasing the expertise already present in your organisation and make sure you choose the best format to inform, engage and help your audience.

Foster meaningful relationships

It is crucial that comms leaders look closely at their content to make sure they place the concerns of their readership at the forefront of everything they do. The current situation may give brands opportunities to foster real and meaningful relationships with their stakeholders – but it is also increasingly clear that those who don’t take action to adjust their comms strategies risk losing their audience’s trust.

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