Most Common Investment Mistakes (part 2)
I have been in the business of helping people with their investments for 30 years now and time and time again I get people coming to see me with problems or losses with their investments and feeling very foolish about their investment decisions. Here are the most common mistakes made by investors:
Lack of Diversification (or putting all your eggs in 1 basket)
This is still the most serious mistake I come across. Making a poor decision about some of your money can be disastrous, but losing all of it is devastating. It happens more often than you would think. Any adviser worth his salt would make sure that his clients’ money is diversified in some form. Just imagine losing ALL your pension fund because a single company or investment fund has gone bust. I have come across people who are in this situation and the impact on their lives is indescribable.
Not reviewing on a regular basis.
This is especially common. Rules and regulations change constantly especially around tax and your personal situation may change. The most common one in Spain for expats is the change from being a UK fiscal resident to a Spanish fiscal resident. When in the UK things like ISA’s TESSA’s and PEP’s were very tax efficient – in Spain that is not the case and can burden holders of such investments with very large unexpected tax demands.
Rushing a decision.
Never feel pressured into making an investment decision. This will often lead to regret. If someone is making you feel pressured, always step back. If there is an offer or inducement to make a commitment by a certain date and you are not 100% comfortable, then get a second opinion. Missing out on that extra half a percent or a free iPad if signing up now is not worth sleepless nights a rushed choice would give you. There will always be another offer just around the corner.
Too good to be true.
Investments offering returns guaranteed to pay 8% or 10% per annum or even 2% per month in the current climate WILL have some clause, catch or risk attached in the small print. Always get an experienced Financial Adviser to check out the terms and conditions before signing up.
Getting on the gravy train.
A great example of this would be those that invested in Bitcoin or Crypto currency at the end of 2017 when the values hit their highs. Yes, people did make staggering amounts of money, but jumping in trying to get in on the act would have been disastrous for anyone in early 2018. The average of the top 10 Crypto currencies fell by over 80% during 2018. Bitcoin itself dropped from over $20,000 to less than $4,000 during that period*. This is obviously a high-risk investment type and a Financial Adviser would explain this to you, so you are fully aware of the pitfalls.
I saw it on Facebook.
In years gone by, this category would have been called ‘My mate in the pub said’. Hearsay is so dangerous. Social Media, friends, taxi drivers etc do not know anything about you. A Financial Adviser will complete a factfind, discuss your risk profile, understand your objectives and be qualified to understand the market. He should also provide you with a comprehensive report explaining his advice. Your friend on Facebook or mate in the pub might have struck lucky, or be exaggerating, or even not understand what he is talking about, yet can provide overwhelming and compelling arguments about their investment success.
If you can avoid all the above when investing, you are half way to making a sensible choice. It is usually best to get a second professional opinion of any investment decision. In today’s financial climate it is essential you do everything you can to make sure your money is safe and secure and what you want to transpire in the future has the best chance of happening.
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*Data can be found on xe or any other currency converter charts.