The topic of money and how it should be saved, spent and invested is often intensely personal. What money means to individuals many times represents an amalgamation of life experiences, outlook and your innate behavioural tendencies. As different people view financial decisions and subsequent planning needs in very different ways, it can be a topic that is avoided among family members so as to maintain privacy, or avoid tense and awkward conversations.
Warren Buffet, arguably the greatest active investor of our times, recently issued his wife some heroically simple advice. In Berkshire Hathoway’s latest annual report, he writes about the investment instructions laid out in his will for the funds he intends to leave to his wife: specifically he advises to invest 90% into an S&P tracker fund, and 10% into short-term government bonds. He justifies these instructions by writing that the long term results from this policy would be superior to those attained by most investors using high-fee managers.
A few years ago an existing client introduced me to a charming American lady in the throes of an acutely uncharming life experience – she was fighting her way through an ugly divorce, and was extremely and understandably concerned for her financial future. While she had my most sincere sympathies, from a professional perspective I initially felt there was little value I could offer until her divorce had settled, when I could help find investment solutions to suit her needs. However over the course of a series of meetings, and as her divorce raged on,