Sunél’s Blog | Why you need losers in your portfolio

Everyone knows. You should not put all your eggs in one basket. You should diversify so that your wealth is protected against the unforeseen.

What does this mean?

It means that the prospects of your investments should be linked to different factors.
If all your investments do well at the same time, then it probably means that your portfolio depends on the same factor(s) and that the portfolio is not diversified enough. You should, in fact, expect some elements to perform poorly at times.

If you’re trying to eliminate the underperforming parts of your portfolio, you are probably eliminating the parts that will do well in the future, when the current star performers take a back seat.

It is how it works. This year’s winners are likely to become next year’s losers.

Of course, you don’t want to bet on bad investments. No one wants that. However, there is a difference between a bad investment and one which is currently not shining. We don’t know exactly which parts will perform when – no one has that ability or foresight.  But a good portfolio will always, knowingly, keep some losers. It’s uncomfortable but it is the mathematical truth of diversification.

Ps. I love to hear your comments. You can comment by hitting reply. Or you can comment in the section below on social media. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe to receive this blog every week on our website www.foundationsa.com.

Kind regards,

Sunél

//31 July 2020

Sunél’s Blog | Dare to dream

I believe in dreams. As a money expert, it is quite something to admit but my current reality exists because I dreamed: Foundation Family Wealth is the product of my dream to help people live their best life with their money; living in Cape Town is the result of my dream to live closer to nature and family. Of course, we planned and saved, but it would not have happened had I not first dreamed.

In my experience, many people are scared or unable to dream. For most of my life, I was too. I studied, got a job and did the best I could. I worked hard on what was in front of me and found myself in a career, chasing a vague goal of ‘having enough’. It wasn’t what I had planned. In fact, there was no plan. Also, a big admission for someone who would become a financial planner.

That is until I started dreaming. I was challenged to write down my dreams for my future. Not just a few, but one hundred dreams. Initially, it was difficult. I couldn’t get beyond ten, never mind one hundred. On my list were things completely beyond my control and others were just fleeting wishes. They varied from a deep desire to leave a personal and business legacy, to one day being able to tend a patch of lavender and have a few chickens. I wrote down my hopes for healthy family relationships and a country without poverty. My list also included the mundane and even the slightly ridiculous, yet fun dream of buying a pair of red stilettos!

In the ancient scriptures of the Old Testament, there is a verse that says, ‘Without vision, my people perish’ (Proverbs 29:18).  Vision is missing at present. It is lacking in the world but almost completely absent in South Africa. Most of us are just surviving, trying to make it through the week. But we will perish if we don’t raise our heads, lift our eyes and imagine a better future.

You may think that I am tone deaf when I encourage people to dream in the middle of a health and economic crisis. But I believe that dreams are acts of defiance. They taunt the critics and naysayers as well as your current circumstances. They challenge you to imagine a different, favourable future. It takes great courage to dream in the middle of a pandemic. It means admitting that there could be a beautiful future beyond this.

If we don’t dream now, we will succumb in some way. Just existing is the start of a slow death.

Start dreaming. Start writing that list for life beyond COVID-19. Or create a Pinterest board. Or write a journal entry. Whatever you like, just start. It can be something small, like resolving to have a weekly beer with a friend or buying yourself a bunch of flowers every month. It can be big, like starting a new business, planning a year of travel around the world or retiring well.

During this pandemic, I have had moments where I have felt robbed of my dreams. However, I refuse for a government or a pandemic to rob me of them. I will dream as a revolutionary act against a system and circumstance that feels hopeless. I will dream as an act of hope.

In my experience, when we dare to dream, life moves in the direction of our dreams. Our thinking shifts. Our conversations change. Many of the dreams on my initial list are now a reality. There was both a push and a pull towards those dreams and the realisation of them was not always seamless. But there is always a wonderful satisfaction as my dreams become intentions which become reality. There are many more dreams on my current list. In fact, I hope to die with dreams still unfulfilled, with hope for the future.

We have a choice. We can either perish or we can dream. There is no middle ground. I have chosen to keep dreaming.

Ps. I love to hear your comments. You can comment by hitting reply. Or you can comment in the section below on social media. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe to receive this blog every week on our website www.foundationsa.com.

Kind regards,

Sunél

//24 July 2020

Sunél’s Blog | What’s on your mind?

Just when we thought it could not get worse, it did. Now we have lockdown and load shedding, all without alcohol. Yes, the winter cold fronts have been welcome and there is the silver lining of nearly full dams (in the Cape), but the freezing cold in the dark has come at a dark time for South Africa.

Then there are the small losses like the matrics’ final year at school or grandparents missing the birth of a grandchild. Just this morning, my eldest evacuated her res room – she will not be going back to res, ever. These small losses do not compare at all to the big losses of lives or jobs. Yet they weigh on us.

The situation feels overwhelmingly depressing.

Our biggest fight – other than for our lives – through this pandemic may not be for our livelihood. It may be for our mental wellbeing. Without mental wellbeing, there will be no livelihood.

A crisis like this can damage our mental wellbeing permanently, much like trauma leaves its mark.

In talking to many industry colleagues this week, I realised that protecting our own and our clients’ mental wellbeing may be one of the most important aspects of protecting wealth through this pandemic. Protecting our mental wellbeing isn’t difficult. Strangely, we neglect it exactly when we need it most.

In an article in The Neuroleadership Journal, published in 2012, David Rock and Daniel J. Siegel explain how we can protect our mental health with seven simple activities, which they call The Healthy Mind Platter.

We know these things. We need to get enough good sleep. We need to exercise. We need to have time when we focus, away from distractions, including screens. We need to have fun and connect with our friends. We need to sometimes be idle and we need time to reflect and process on our own about what is going on with ourselves.

It means that we need time, separate to when we are ruminating on potentially depressing and stressing thoughts. All these activities will help to improve concentration, learning, memory, emotion regulation and perspective-taking. Aren’t these all essential at this time?

Instead of reading another disconcerting article, watching news endlessly or mindlessly scrolling through social media, rather go for a stroll, read an absorbing book or go to bed. According to the mental health experts, you and your money will be better off.

Ps. I love to hear your comments. You can comment by hitting reply. Or you can comment in the section below on social media. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe to receive this blog every week on our website www.foundationsa.com.

Kind regards,

Sunél

//17 July 2020

Sunél’s Blog | How scarce is money?

I spent the first few years of my life on a small Karoo farm. There was freshly baked farm bread with homemade butter every day, milk from our own cows, meat from our livestock, vegetables from our own garden and eggs from our own animals. Writing this now, I realise that for the reader this may sound like abundance. Yet, I came away from that childhood with a belief that resources were scarce.

You see that part of the Karoo has an average annual rainfall of less than 200mm. Imagine ten good days of rain a year. All the water for our animals and home were pumped with wind pumps. Often, there was not enough wind to pump water to bath, not enough water at all and it was a constant battle to ensure that our animals had enough water.  When it had rained enough, meat prices were low or locusts devoured the land. When it hadn’t rained enough, the boreholes dried up.

Looking back, I remember myself as a little girl watching my dad talking on the phone in the hallway to the meat dealers, sensing his disappointment or even despair. I experienced that as fear.  That fear stayed with me until I became aware of its impact on my life and business. The belief that resources are scarce and that calamity can strike at any time, took root in my life early on.

This scarcity mentality can rob you of life. It isn’t rational. It has nothing to do with how much money you have. If you are still working towards a number that will drown out the voice of scarcity, you should stop. There will never be enough to stop the voice. It will never allow you to enjoy your money, always protesting that you’re wasting or putting yourself at risk of an uncertain tomorrow. A scarcity mentality will stop your hand from being generous and rob the community as well.

I encounter people with enough money for a few lifetimes, yet are too afraid to live. It saddens me. It sometimes leaves me feeling helpless: unless a person chooses to tackle that mentality, none of the beautiful graphs of abundance I show them will make a difference.

The COVID-19 pandemic will amplify the voice of scarcity in your life. It will stop you from having vision. In the face of so much need, it can feel, even to someone with an abundance mindset, hopeless. The ability to dream and look beyond the immediate disaster is what will get us out of the mess we find ourselves in. If we all despair, a bleak future will be our reality – our scarcity mindset will play out in our lives. A scarcity mindset will keep us tethered to the ‘little we have’ instead of looking up and toward the abundance from which we can survive and on which we can build and invest in a prosperous future. This type of abundance is a mindset. We’re not advocating frivolity or conspicuous spending, but equally, we cannot allow the scarcity mindset to keep us from all our well-considered plans for our lives and our money.

Much like that picture of myself, a lucky little girl on a Karoo farm, we need to rid ourselves of the scarcity mentality. We need vision and hope for a good future.

Ps. I love to hear your comments. You can comment by hitting reply. Or you can comment in the section below on social media. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe to receive this blog every week on our website www.foundationsa.com.

Kind regards,

Sunél

//10 July 2020

Sunél’s Blog | Poor prospects, poor returns?

The return on an investment is determined by two factors – the prospects and the price you pay for those prospects. If you pay too much for the prospects, the total return on your investment can be as poor as an investment with poor prospects.

Imagine there was an investment with great prospects, but you had to pay a hefty price for that investment because everyone was already excited about the prospects of that investment. Now imagine you came across another investment with poorer prospects, but it was very cheap. How would you compare these two investments? That is the question every investor must answer.

When we look to the immediate future, it is easy to imagine poor prospects from our investments, especially for South African investments. It is easy to imagine that American companies, for example, have much better prospects than local ones.

However, the return on our South African investments will not be determined by just the prospects. It will be determined by the price we pay for those poorer prospects. Depending on which measurement of value you use, it looks like investors will pay nearly 50% more for American companies than for South African companies, even if they have similar prospects.

Is it then so clear cut that American companies will give better returns than South African companies? Perhaps not.

Thankfully, we do not have to choose one or the other, we can invest in both. Many investors don’t because they have such low expectations from South African investments and fail to remember both price and prospects.

Just remember. Poor prospects do not necessarily equal poor returns. It depends on the price.

Ps. I love to hear your comments. You can comment by hitting reply. Or you can comment in the section below on social media. If you are not on our mailing list, you can subscribe to receive this blog every week on our website www.foundationsa.com.

 

Kind regards,

Sunél

//3 July 2020