Client login

Daily Life in the UK as an American

Daily life in the US and the UK has its similarities and its differences. Almost any American who lives in the UK can put together their own list based on their perspectives and past experiences.  Everyone gets homesick from time and time and it is easy sometimes to get caught up and dwell too much on the familiar and under-appreciate the differences.

Bill Bryson is an American author who lived in the UK for over twenty years. At the point in time when he decided to return to the US, he took one final trip around the country and wrote a travel book called ‘Notes from a Small Island’ providing humorous insight into daily life in the UK. Twenty years later and having returned to live in the UK, Bill took a new journey around Britain to detail what had changed. Bill’s musings are summarised in ‘The Road to Little Dribbling.’ It is a book that doesn’t back away from highlighting in jest all of the perceived positive and negative changes and yet finds comfort in the country that has clearly won his heart.

Wimbledon – Week Two

With the 131st Championship well underway, Wimbledon fever is in full swing.

As we get closer to the quarter final, semi-final and final rounds, nearly everyone in the UK will be focused on results. As with any year, there have been shock early exits and commanding displays from some of the favourites.

4th of July – Ideas for celebrating as an American in the UK

American Independence Day is traditionally one of the hallmarks of summer filled with outdoors events, BBQs and fireworks. It is a day of patriotic celebration and family events throughout the US. With 4th of July tomorrow, we lay out some ideas below on how you can celebrate the holiday this year. Being an American in the UK certainly shouldn’t stop you from finding your own ways to celebrate and feel at home.

The potentially perverse nature of risk budgeting

Risk budgeting can be a relatively straightforward exercise and, if highly personalised, is an essential step in the execution of a successful wealth plan.  At MASECO we budget for risk by thinking both about the ability to take risk, which tends to be governed by the investment horizon, and the willingness or tolerance to take risk, which tends to be more individual. An example can help illustrate this concept. An individual may have a low tolerance for risk, which can be evaluated by how easily they sleep at night during times of market volatility, but at the same time may have a relatively high ability to take risk, if for example investing to meet their retirement needs in 25 years’ time.  There is no exact science to this, but assuming that the goal is to maximise returns over the 25 year investment horizon, the greater the risk they can tolerate the greater the expected returns over the period, and the more successful the outcome is likely to be.  However, if they take on too much risk compared to their risk tolerance, they may find themselves falling into the behavioural finance biases of divesting from the portfolio when the markets are down. This most likely leads to missing out on the ensuing recovery, thereby significantly reducing the return over the 25 year cycle.  It is up to the skill of the adviser to recommend a risk budget that can fulfil both criteria.

The value of teaching our children about financial education

Gaining an early understanding of personal finance can be an important building block to provide youth with the tools they need to become fiscally responsible adults. It seems like a topic that should have already been engrained in curriculums across schools. However, it has only been about four years since a compulsory financial education programme was put in place in secondary schools across the UK. And despite financial education now being compulsory, a majority of students still report their parents and family as their primary source of financial information.

Shirtsleeves to shirtsleeves, all around the world

Most major languages have their own version of the idiom “Shirtsleeves to Shirtsleeves in three generations”.  From the very literal Chinese “wealth never survives three generations” to the more musical Italian “dalle stalle alle stelle alle stalle” (from the stalls to the stars to the stalls), this is a phenomenon that has existed for centuries.  However, I believe that in our industry it is poorly understood, continuously under-studied and rarely discussed with clients.

What is Smart Beta Investing?

Smart beta is a relatively new term in investment management, but the concept has been around for decades.  It is a type of factor investing, a strategy in which the securities are chosen based on attributes that are associated with higher returns, which uses different rules of portfolio construction than traditional asset class investment.  The idea of smart beta is to potentially add value to a portfolio by systematically selecting alternative weightings and portfolio holdings in a way that deviates from the manner in which traditional market capitalization based indices have been created. Regular rebalancing is also part of this strategy. Rebalancing is a process in which the original weighting in the portfolio is realigned.

Holidays and Travel – A Cornerstone of your Wealth Plan?

When I work with clients on wealth planning engagements, I spend a lot of time discussing their personal goals and objectives; what is it that they want to get out of the one life they have to live? Through the conversations, a common theme often emerges. For so many people, it is not about buying luxury things or amassing material possessions. It is about affording experiences. It is about making memories with the people who mean the most in their lives, whether that be family or friends.