If I come across another 'Best Investments For 2019' or 'Best place to invest €100,000' article I will lose the plot. Reason being that, just like the title of this blog, these articles really are just another form of click-bait. As we all will know, even if we didn't, click-bait is merely a hook with which to drag you into a website, and ultimately to sell you whatever they have in their warehouse, maybe the 'worlds most powerful torch', or the amazing 'world's quickest can-opener'......things designed to solve problems that you don't really have!
Likewise, you may not have the problem of needing to know where to invest €500,000 right now, yet you still find yourself reading this! I am not sure what that says about you, or indeed about me who is writing the blessed thing! Yet there is a proliferation of 'best way to invest such & such' and 'best investments in such & such' on the web here in Ireland. The web is great, I really do love it, but my god it's also so full of dross. I have read 5 such articles this morning in the hope of finding something which represents some sort of sense......but alas I have drawn a blank! One article suggests investing it all in a certain investment product, which on closer inspection has a really rubbish performance record and carries 2.7% fees per year, and another suggests investing the entirety in gold in the interests of 'accessing the world's greatest commodity'!
If we really were reliant on the information at hand then mistakes could be our hobby of choice for years to come! I understand that media need to create content, it is what generates traffic and subsequently advertising revenue, but as we all will accept, let's not take what we read or hear on the internet as gospel (including what you read or hear right now). Having said that some sources might be more wellintentioned than others!
Begin With The End In Mind:
Yes I have borrowed it from Stephen Covey and yes I probably over-use it but any time we have a big decision to make about anything I believe it really does pay to spend time figuring out what is it that we really want to achieve. When I say this I don't just mean what we want to achieve with the funds, but moreso what we want to achieve with life! Might seem a little 'tree-hugger' but I wholeheartedly believe, and have witnessed on so many occasions, the power that this time can have for us.
What is really important in your life that you would like to do more of? What have you not done yet that you would really love to do? Life is not a rehearsal, what would really give you satisfaction in doing with the time that you have left? These are all very practical and very real questions but to many of us they are so scary to consider that we pass them off as nonsense and head-banger questions. I guess it is a question of mindset, do you take responsibility for your future or do you leave that to the universe or some-such greater being!?
If you do take a healthy amount of time to consider these questions, and really don't hold back or subdue a thought because you think someone might judge it as foolish, I promise you that you will probably come to some new realisations about what it is that you truly want. It took me 5 years of thinking but I got there in the end, and am living a life full of meaning, joy and adventure. What's the worst that could happen? You may find that you are living exactly the life that you really do want, happy days!
For some us having someone else to really help us figure it out is really necessary, others may not need such help. George Kinder sparked the birth of a new form of financial planning which is really gaining momentum in the US and UK. I have started on this journey to become an 'Accredited Life Planner'. This form of planning is not focused on selling product but revolves around the intent to help people to figure out what they want their life to be, and only the to help them align their financial affairs in such a way as to maximise the chances of success. Yes part of this stage may be fund performance, lowering fees, increasing transparency, making some changes to spending habits and lifestyle where necessary, changing planning or tax structures to maximise outcomes, or any number of possible permutations on this.....but those aspects are secondary to the first part, which is figuring out what you want it all to be about.
I think it was Yogi Bear who said 'If you don't know where you're going you'll never get there'!
What Is The Best Investment?
At this stage it might seem overly obvious that I am not going to try and answer that question here today. Moreso I'm inviting you to think what is your idea of success in life, what would really make it a superb experience and one full of success, meaning and fulfillment (and whatever these happen to mean to you). Only if you figure that out can or should you then explore the best investment route or strategy to try and facilitate it.
It may be a case that you have more than enough money to go and do stuff that you really want to do, but just are afraid to go and do it. It may very-well be that you really don't need to 'invest' anything anywhere! Why would you if you already have more than enough? Is getting 1%, 2% or indeed 20% more per year returns going to change anything fundamentally for you if you already have enough? Likewise if you need more than you have, what are you going to do to get that 'more', and perhaps a suitable investment will facilitate that in some way shape or form.
If you won the lotto what would you actually do? I think this is a fantastic question to really consider. Many us of us will give the oul stock answer of 'ah they wouldn't see me in work on Monday, thats for sure', or some variation of that answer. Once we get past that initial celebration week or holiday what would you LOVE to do then? When we start to actually think about it, it throws up all sorts of questions.
Many of us wouldn't want to change much at all, we might be living the life that we currently have, perhaps with a few small alterations, even if we had many millions spare. I work with some people that are in this very situation, and are doing the stuff that they really want to do, living a life of meaning and purpose. Likewise I know others that have more than enough already to go and do stuff but perhaps fear of running out or a lack of having thought about this stuff before is holding them back.
There might be others who if they won the lottery would live their life very very differently, perhaps leave paid employment or retire early, perhaps work in voluntary roles, community activity, or giving-back in some way. Others may see themselves fulfilling dreams of buying a business or pursuing some occupational dream which these finances will support and allow. Funny thing here is that investments and rates of return, and volatility and all that jazz should really only be a back-ground technicality of the bigger picture. It will be an important part of making the plan work but it is not the first step by any means!
SO, what the friggin 'ell is the best way to invest €500,000?? Ultimately I guess what I am trying to convey here is that in my view at least, asking someone what the best investment before we figure out how we really want to live our lives is a horrid case of putting the cart before the horse, and we know how that'll end! I guess my belief is that if you are engaging with a financial advisor or planner that really is interested in helping YOU, then surely the focus of any conversation should not be about the money and the returns and the rates, it should be about YOU. It should surely be about about figuring out what YOU want, what YOUR plans are, because as I have hopefully conveyed already, only when one knows that can they determine what might or might not stand a chance of supporting YOU.
I'll get off my soap-box now!
Thanks for reading,