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Why You Need a Financial Plan

I recently interviewed CEO of Blue Sky Financial Planning, Gary Neild on the Fearless Finance podcast around the topic of why you need a financial plan. If you would like to listen here is a link

This quote from Alice in Wonderland came to mind:

“Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?”

“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,” said the Cat.

“I don’t much care where—” said Alice.

“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,” said the Cat.

The starting point with a sound financial plan is understanding two things. Where you are now and where you would like to go. Or in financial terms the current state of your income, expenditure, assets and liabilities together with a clear understanding of your goals and expectations for the future.

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In our conversation, Gary pointed out that many of his clients arrive with one issue in mind, only to discover their financial priorities are something completely different.

The many benefits of working with a reputable financial planner seem clear and obvious to me as someone having been around the industry for many years. Yet for others there seems to be an element of resistance around paying for advice, feeling a sense of shame or embarrassment at their lack of knowledge or perhaps a belief that they can do better on their own.

Let’s take these one at a time. Firstly financial planning is a heavily regulated industry. The negativity around mis-selling or bad advice from the wild west years has long dissipated. Financial planners need to be qualified and keep their knowledge up to date. If you needed help from a lawyer, accountant or architect would you not expect to pay a fee?

Point two fear of embarrassment. How did it become a norm that we are all expected to be financial literate? Chances are that money skills were not taught as part of your school or university curricula. How then do we learn to manage our money? The occasional article in the Sunday papers or a YouTube video? If you approach a conversation with a financial planner with curiosity and the recognition that they are likely to help you save or generate substantially more money than you could do with out them, then hopefully that conversation becomes a little easier.

P.s they don’t care about your levels of financial education, you don’t have to take a test to work with them.

Number three, you feel that you can make it on your own. There are undoubtedly many success stories of people who successfully learned to invest, whether in the markets, property or currencies, but equally those we don’t hear about who came unstuck. Financial planning is not confined to making a few quid speculating, but rather a long term approach which considers all your life goals and aspirations.

Whether for estate planning, ethically reducing your tax burden or growing wealth for the future a good financial planner can help, regardless of your current levels of knowledge, experience or bank balance.

5 Unusual Ways to Invest Your Money You Need to Know

If you’ve got some money spare each month, or you’ve come into some from a windfall, you might be wondering what to do with that extra cash. Yes, you could simply spend it or go on some lavish holidays. But, it always makes sense to invest spare money and make it grow. With that in mind, you probably know about the typical investment ideas for money like property, buying shares in a business, or putting it all in a long-term savings account. But, did you know many unusual investment ideas work just as well? Check out these examples:

1. Peer-To-Peer Lending

There’s no denying that the financial landscape is changing every day, and fewer people are using mainstream banking services each day. One such example is lending; more people are seeking alternative lending sources like peer-to-peer lending.

You could invest some of your money into peer-to-peer lending and help partly fund many loans to minimise your risk. It’s an excellent way of growing your money for minimal effort, and you get to help people with their daily lives in all kinds of exciting ways.

2. Buy Old Photographs

Many people have hobbies like stamp collecting. Some collect stamps that are rare and of a particular vintage because their value increases over time. Most people know that fact, but did you know the same also applies to old photographs?

You could invest some or all of your spare cash into buying vintage photographs and keeping hold of them until their value soars. At that point, you can consider selling them to a person or business that offers the best price for them.

3. Buy Shares in Songs

Musicians usually receive royalties on their works whenever someone buys their music or broadcasts it in a public setting. However, some artists decide to sell the rights to their songs for a cash lump sum.

You may not know it, but it’s possible to buy shares in such songs and receive part of the royalties to them each year. Many investment groups often purchase the rights to music, and those groups get made up of many individual investors like you.

4. Buy Some Wine

You’re probably used to drinking wine, either on special occasions or socially with loved ones and friends. Wine is undeniably a popular alcoholic beverage enjoyed by millions of people globally each year.

Have you considered taking things a step further by investing in some fine wine? As you may know, some wines are very expensive, and ones of a particular vintage can even fetch tens of thousands of pounds.

Consider buying some vintage wine and keep it locked away in a safe and secure cellar. You can then sell them when they reach a specific value.

5. Cryptocurrency

Lastly, if you’re looking for an unusual but medium to high-risk investment idea, how about cryptocurrency? You could invest in existing cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin, or you could be an early adopter of new ones like Pi.

Just remember to do plenty of market research before selecting a particular cryptocurrency for your investment.

4 Savvy Ways To Invest Your Leftover Cash

One of the best ways to build wealth is to reinvest your leftover cash. So, if you find that you regularly have a rather sizeable sum left in your account when your next pay cheque lands, then you ought to start doing something with it and investing your money in profitable, sensible ways.

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1. Investing In Classic Shirts

The market for classic sports shirts and vintage kits has boomed recently, with millennials and Gen Z desperate to don the names of their heroes and idols from the 80s, 90s and early 2000s on their backs. Sites like Classic Football Shirts charge high prices for rare or vintage football kits, so if you have a little extra cash lying around why not see if you can find some popular jerseys for cheap either online on sites like eBay or in your local charity shops. Alternatively, you might decide to look to the future rather than make a quick buck and purchase a couple of popular sports shirts from today that could grow in value in the future.  

2. Buying Cryptocurrency 

The recent rise of cryptocurrency has seen the price of the like of Bitcoin, and newcomer Dogecoin, skyrocket. Don’t miss out by buying Dogecoin, Bitcoin or another cryptocurrency today, as you could be sitting on an absolute goldmine in years to come. There is plenty of risk attached to this strategy though; there is no guarantee these stocks will rise. That said, if you have the spare cash to invest, then you should be able to take the gamble and hopefully come out better off.

3. Put It Into Your Pension

Fancy retiring early? Then this could be your route to achieving just that. Upping your pension contributions is the ideal, tax-free way to save away your leftover cash and truly begin investing in your future. Your pension pot will only grow bigger with inflation, and the taxman can’t touch it, so this is a surefire, foolproof way to store your money away and seeing it grow with little effort. Result!

4. Get On The Property Ladder

Finally, the most expensive of ways to savvily invest your extra cash is to put it towards a deposit for a house. Getting on the property ladder is tough but investing in real estate is one of the most secure and potentially lucrative investments you can make. There aren’t many quick wins in investing in property unless you get particularly good at buying and flipping homes thanks to quick renovation jobs, so you might have to be a bit more patient to see a return on this investment. Nevertheless, putting your money into property could quite easily earn you a pretty penny, and it is an excellent way to invest your leftover cash. 

Ultimately, there are plenty more ways to invest your money that we haven’t covered. However, these four tips are some of the savviest ways you can use up leftover cash to make a profit. Whether it’s something as cheap as picking up a classic football shirt, or something much pricier like buying a house, investing your money in any way is better than just letting it sit there. 

Realistic Ways To Build Wealth

Many of us want to be rich but we have rather unrealistic ideas about how to attain that. We might purchase lottery tickets every week in the hope that our numbers might finally come up, or we might use betting sites in the hope that we might win a big cash prize.

Now, there’s nothing to say we won’t become rich using these methods, but the chances are rather slim. Thankfully, there are other, more realistic ways to build wealth, and these include the following. 

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#1: Invest (with a diversified portfolio)

Have you started investing yet? it might be that you haven’t. People are generally put off the idea because they don’t know where to start. They also fear losing money in market downturns, and are worried about receiving bad investment advice. To be honest, we can understand these concerns. However, investing is one way to build wealth, so for those wanting to improve their financial future, it should be considered. 

There are many ways to invest, of course. You could trade in stocks and shares, invest in real estate, or build wealth using a crypto trading website. It doesn’t have to be one type of investment over another, because the general consensus is that you should diversify your investments if you can. This way, you have a greater chance of earning big money, as even if the market takes a downturn for one type of investment, you might still see an upswing in another. 

To get started (if you haven’t already), check this investing guide for beginners. Then look online for more information, as the more knowledgeable you are, the greater your chances of success.

#2: Boost your income with a side-hustle

The more money you can bring home each month, the better, right? You will then have more to put away in a savings account, and you will build your wealth from your extra income and the accumulated interest. So, consider the types of side-hustle that suit you, and do whatever is necessary to get started. 

What kind of side-hustle could you begin? Well, as we have already established, investing could be your side-hustle. You could also start an online business, sell items for a profit on eBay and other eCommerce sites, rent out a room in your home, or do one of a million other things, as there are loads of ideas online. We discussed one passive income business idea here. Do whatever will excite you, as the more happiness you gain from your side-hustle, the more likely you are to stick with it. 

#3: Move into a better-paid career

If you can’t quite make ends meet (or put savings away) because of your current career path, it might be that a move into another career could be right for you. Admittedly, you might have to start on the bottom of the career ladder again, so you might not earn the big bucks right away. And you might have to go back to school too, be that online or offline to pick up a few new qualifications. But the rewards will be worth it because if you do choose a career path that gives you the opportunity to build wealth, you will be putting yourself on firmer financial footing. 

Here are some of the highest-paying jobs in the UK.

Finally

So, buy a lottery card if you want to. And make the occasional bet if you can afford to do so. But to make your dreams of building wealth come true, try more realistic avenues. We have suggested just a few options but continue your research online and around this website to learn more. 

Diversify Your Investment Portfolio

One of the most sensible long-term steps you can take is to invest your money in something that has a good chance of being lucrative. If you already have one or two investments, that’s a great start. But there is a problem with only having a single investment, which is that it is much higher risk than having more than one. You should ideally have a range of investments active at any one time, so that even if one or two of them fail, you have others to fall back on. So how do you go about diversifying your investment portfolio?

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What Is Diversification?

So what exactly is diversification, and why should you make sure you are doing it? Put simply, diversification is when you add more streams to your investment portfolio. If you already have investments in gold, for instance, you might choose to add to that crypto or real estate. Any financial planner worth their salt will tell you that diversification ensures a stronger, safer economical standing, with much less risk on the whole.

Essentially, what you are doing here is blending different investments into a whole. As well as negating risk, it is also generally true that having a variety of investments yields a higher return on average.

Understanding Risk Types

When you go to diversify your portfolio, one of the best tactics is to ensure you have a balance of investments with different risk levels associated with them. It should be obvious that any kind of investment is either low risk, medium risk, high risk – or risk free. The aim is to increase your chances of landing a lucrative return with a good amount of high-risk investments – but back up those investments with a number of lower-risk and medium-risk investments too.

Exactly what balance you strike is up to you, but a good rule of thumb is to have slightly less than half of your investments in a high-risk strategy, and the remaining amount divided up between low, medium and no risk options. In this way, you are simultaneously maximising your profits and minimising your risks.

Let’s look at some of the more common investment options to consider when you want to diversify your portfolio – and discuss what risk level they are.

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Stocks

In general, stocks are considered medium-risk. A stock represents a portion of ownership of a public company. When you invest in stocks, you are hoping that the future of the company is a bright one – and as they earn more money and become more successful, your investment is going to become much more valuable too. To find good stocks to invest in, you need to think either about a business that is fairly certain – such as grocery stores – or one that looks likely to grow in the future – like AI, drones, or whatever else you might think of. Be aware: this is a medium-risk strategy, and you might lose all value you put into your stocks.

Bonds

The great thing about bonds is that they are a zero risk strategy – so there is really no reason not to invest in them if you are in a position to do so. They therefore provide a fantastic means of balancing out your higher-risk elements of the portfolio. Bonds are zero risk because they have a guarantee on them, so it’s kind of life a fixed deposit that is tradeable. As such, you are definitely going to make some return on it, even if it is small. Bear in mind that it is only government bonds that are zero risk. Investing in something like Tesla is much higher risk.

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Cryptocurrency

One of the more common forms of investment diversification in recent years is cryptocurrency, and it deserves a mention here as a possible way to make a lot of money. In general, you would probably put crypto in the medium-risk category, so it’s a great one to include if you want to both make your portfolio more potentially lucrative, but also keep relatively safe. The most famous – and still most valuable – cryptocurrency is the first one to have existed, Bitcoin, and investing in it is a simple matter of checking out the Bitcoin market performance, choosing a good time to buy some coin, and allowing it to develop value. You can also trade different cryptos, in a manner reminiscent of Forex.

Analyzing Your Portfolio

As you invest in different things, it’s important that you try to keep an eye on your portfolio as much as possible. In fact, you are going to have much more luck and chance of success if you make a point of analyzing your portfolio from time to time, and changing it up where necessary. If there is anything that isn’t bringing returns, or seems too risky, then you should think about swapping it for one of the other investments in the portfolio, and so on. Keep on top of it and don’t just let it sit there and forget about it.

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Look Out For New Opportunities

It’s also important to remember to keep your eye out for new opportunities, as ultimately you don’t really know what might be around the corner. The most successful investors in the world are those who managed to find a trend before everyone else knew about it, and capitalised on it at a good time. If you keep an eye out, you are more likely to be able to do that, and to make a lot of money in the process. If you want to make this more likely to work, you might even want to think about getting some help in the form of a professional investment advisor or trader, who can do it all for you while taking a fee for themselves. That is often a good balance to strike.

As you can see, there is plenty to consider as you try to diversify your investment portfolio, but it is absolutely worth your while and could mean that you have a much more lucrative future.