Something has got to give

When people expect returns in excess of 25% per annum, whether they be in property or shares, you have a clear case of unrealistic expectations and therefore a potential collision of expectations waiting to happen.

When you read, too often, that the way to achieve this scale of return is simply to switch between the two aforementioned Investment Classes as each slows, then you have potentially the blind leading the blind.

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Making a difference

As a financial planner, many of you will know that your decision to take that career path was based on the fact you are one of those people. Much of the Financial Services Industry is, strangely enough, peopled by individuals who are not that gregarious or blessed with people skills. We are, however, on the front line!

But, boy, what a front line! Ours is a world apart from the rest and I personally love it. Where else can you actually meet with people and have an almost immediate impact on their lives, even if it is just to redraft their will correctly? We have the skills to make a difference and it is a real pleasure to do exactly that, whenever possible.

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Repetition Reaps Rewards

We live in an ever changing world. Take your eye off the papers or TV for only a few days and the rest of the world seems to be dealing with, and talking about, issues you know nothing about.

This is the information age and we are force-fed a diet of news and product, constantly. Forget noise pollution, we are now assailed by visual pollution, you cannot open your eyes without someone’s brand or message prompting you to buy or sell.

Occasionally you can find yourself in a space where time has seemingly stood still, there is no road noise, there are no adverts and your soul actually feels lighter and more at peace. I suppose that is the real purpose of a holiday, the ability to allow our minds and bodies to recover before we return to the hectic world we now live within.

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It is said that no man is an island; we are all connected to different people and facets of life. Personally I quite like the response of Hugh Grant in the movie, “About a Boy”, his sister screams at him, “No man is an island, you know”, he fires back, “Well I am. Iâ’m Ibiza!” OK, we get it. At times I would also like to be Ibiza hot, packed with young restless things and ready to party 24 hours a day (more pills doctor, please)!

Then on the other hand, I look in the mirror, check the birth date on my passport and realise perhaps my destiny is, in fact, to be a slightly less chaotic island than Ibiza, or rather one that does not require me to stay up until 5am every morning, as my sons like saying, “you’re old Dad.” Thanks boys!

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A Reality check on Realty

James Goldsmith was asked what he thought about his daughter Jemima’s marriage to Imran Khan, the Pakistani cricketer. “He will be a good first husband”, he answered straight faced. Well, he was certainly correct that it would not last, but whether Hugh Grant would have met with the, now deceased, mogul’s approval, we will never know!

What I do know, however, is that a line I heard from him many years ago still rings true as a bell today. Jimmy was asked what he thought of a particular hot and popular new investment trend, his reply says it all: “If you can spot a trend, you’ve missed it!”

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“Acronymism” has been a slowly growing disease for many years, but of late the PC (here we go) lunatics have taken over the asylum and now everything is seemingly reduced to a shortened, rather self important, sound byte that requires the recipient to do a mental double-take.

At times these modern barbs are thrown around like intellectual challenges; the more you quote the smarter you may appear  not! As an extreme example:

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A Guide for Life

As we pass through life we all have, often without knowing it, personal mantras, lessons and or guiding principles that we are able to return to at times of doubt, indecision, fear or stress.

These, let us call them “guides”, have come about as the result of life lessons and hard experiences, or they are a gift from another, someone that loves and cares for us and is therefore concerned about how we are coping, or need to cope, with life issues at any particular time.

I am truly blessed to have a number of friends, who have never been shy to point out where I must moderate or correct my actions, or behaviour, wherever they thought my position was inappropriate. I am thankful to them for those moments because that is what real friends do, they get involved !

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2008 Can be great!

I am no spring chicken, but this must be, no I know this is the first year where I have entered any January with the heads of central banks warning of financial turbulence to come!

So what must we make of it all?  Well, I believe it is simply a challenge we must all raise our game to meet.  The biggest single issue will be managing client expectations.  Our clients have gone from expecting to receive 30% p.a. returns to thinking that perhaps 2008 will look to take back much of what they made in 2006 and 2007, that we must put straight and quickly.

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Pocket Money

I now believe the worst thing you can have is a child who is good at Maths. Personally I was never great with the old numbers as a child, hence my slide down that old academic pole into law school.

Maths came to me later in life and consequently I was conned out of numerous pocket money amounts as I never really kept track of what was going on, my Mum and Dad were always the winners!

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Port Elizabeth “A breath of fresh air”

I can see why people love and stay in PE it has a close and carrying community and some very smart guys. the guys we have joined, to form our expansion plans into EP and Border, are great people as well as being from good solid families.

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