Part 1 – What should I do if I already have an investment?
After speaking to a bunch of yachties, I realized many of you already have investments. Mostly with financial advisors.
Although I advocate for DIY investing, this is a great indication of personal finance awareness amongst the yachting industry. However, with all the free information and technology available, you can become your own financial advisor and keep more of your own money.
Incase you don’t know, financial advisors typically charge high fees for a lesser performance compared to what you could get yourself using passive investing (Index funds/ETFs).
Anyway, what action should you take if you’re already an investor?
Check your fees
This is essential as fees can hugely eat up your financial returns, more than what you might think. I personally believe fees should be no higher than 1% per year yet most financial advisory fees can be anywhere from 3-6%!
To the untrained eye these numbers don’t seem very high and it is difficult to imagine how such a small number could effect your investment returns.
Index funds typically charge under 1% which ensures you keep more of your own money and don’t spend it fattening up someone else pockets.
What’s more, index funds typically return 8% per year of which you keep most. Financial advisors, however, typically fail to beat this return, yet you are required to pay them for trying.
Understand this, with only a little bit of work, you can self-manage your own investments, and do well.
Examples of fees
Can you believe the difference!?
Call to action – contact your investment provider and ask for a full breakdown of fees.
What are you invested in?
In speaking to yachties about their current investments it became obvious that they were unaware of what and where they had their money invested.
It important to have some idea of this as it gives you a sense of control and understanding over your investments.
The confusion and sometimes unwillingness of financial advisors to show you where your investments are (in a way we would understand) create yet another layer of distance between the investor (you) and your money.
This ultimately furthers the ‘need’ for a financial advisor and almost justifies their high fees.
Further, are your investments consistent with your beliefs?
Ethical investing is becoming more popular and many investment portfolios now avoid investing in funds that support tobacco, nuclear weaponry or non-environmental companies.
This probably sounds obvious to most but some major brands (think cosmetics, clothing and pharmaceutical companies) have been quietly investigated and subsequently deemed to be acting unethically.
With the rise of vegan-ism and ethical consumerism, people are becoming more conscientious of what they are buying and your investments shouldn’t be any different.
So, if you don’t get proactive and find out what your money is supporting then how can you be sure you are being true to your beliefs?
Call to action – ask your investment provider what they invest in and ask for a simple explanation in a way you understand.
Thats enough for one day! We will continue with this adventure with part 2.