Bubbles and Ice

By Elke Zeki

 

I’m a bit of a wine snob so I almost had heart failure the first time I saw a couple putting ice in their champagne! I thought I knew about wine trends, but watching this pair pour a R700 bottle of Moet Chandon over a large pile of ice was just too much for me. Little did I know that this is in fact the perfect, new summer drink and that these global pioneers actually make a champagne specifically to be enjoyed this way.

These Champagnes are mostly crisp, fruity and slightly sweeter than my preferred brut wines. Interestingly though, when wines are served chilled it is perceived as less sweet and more enjoyable!

These refreshing drinks can be savored in various ways. Much like gin, one can add fresh fruit, vegetables, teas or herbs. So, move over Pimms, this summer drink looks like it’s here to stay!

Some Ice Champagnes to look out for:

  • Moet Chandon Ice Imperial
  • Veuve Cliquot Rich
  • JP Chenet Ice Edition

All of these have a Rose version available too.

 

The next champagne-inspired summer trend to enjoy is undoubtedly one of my favourite beach treats. The homebrewed alcoholic PJ Pops from Haute Cabriere. Launched in 2016 theses ice popsicles took the market by storm. They come in two wine-infused flavours made form the Pierre Jourdan Brut MCC and Pierre Jourdan Tranquille, a still wine made from a blend of pinot noir and chardonnay. These will definitely bring the kid out in you.

I like these two summer drinks because they challenge the status quo and help us let our hair down, take ourselves a little less seriously and have some fun. Something we should all do a little more of. Come on summer.

 

What is it with women and money?

By Sunel Veldtman

 

Almost one out of three women believe that men are better at handling financial matters than women are. This is according to The Old Mutual Savings Monitor (2012) – one of the few surveys that have studied the attitudes of South African women towards money. Even worse though, is that 65% of men agreed with the statement.

I was no different. Even though I held three post-graduate financial qualifications, had over a decade of work experience in insurance, stockbroking and investments; and had advised some of the wealthiest families on their investments: I still somehow managed to convince myself that I could not read a bank statement and that my husband knew better when it came to our finances.

How had I gotten myself into that position?

I had all the theoretical knowledge but could not put it into practise for myself. Women might be wondering at this point – if a financial guru cannot get this right, how on earth can I? However, I am proof that it is not only about financial knowledge as much as it is about our relationship with and attitudes towards money.

What is it about our relationship with money that stumps us?

1. How we were raised matters

I grew up in a very traditional home. My dad was the breadwinner and took care of all the financial matters. My mom ran the home and took care of us. I was looking for a partner to take care of me in the same way. I never realised that my husband’s home background was very different to mine (and very unusual for that time). We both had a picture of being taken care of, but in his home, it was his mum that took care of all the financial matters.

I still find that many women have this picture – a sort of ‘Cinderella’ idyll. You want to feel safe and secure – taken care of. You want someone else to take the responsibility for the hard stuff. You want the prince on the horse to make it all happen.

You may think that we have come a long way; that women now take care of themselves. However, I find that even professional women and self-made entrepreneurs have little appetite for taking care of their personal finances. In so many cases, they still outsource it to their spouses or financial advisors. I see them in my office regularly – the self-made millionaire shifting all their financial matters across the table to make it all happen and be taken care of by someone else.

The pictures and words of our childhoods are seeds that sprout when watered. If these pictures and words are repeated and especially if they co-incide with traumatic experiences, they form deep roots and develop into trees that bear fruit in our adult lives. They become money messages that dictate our thinking and actions even subconsciously. Think of some of the sayings of your gran or your parents: “Money doesn’t grow on trees” or “Choose a man that can provide for you.”

 

 

A good exercise to do is to write down all the money messages you’ve received over time. If you think about how you manage your money now, you’ll notice that many of those messages stuck – maybe even subconsciously? If so, are they helpful and should you continue to follow them?

2. Get familiar with your money

Why is it that we women don’t relate to our money, talk about money or learn about the world of money?

We don’t discuss the stock market at braais. We do not, in general, have a natural curiosity about financial matters. I blame the financial industry for talking to women in ways that simply alientate us. Putting pink branding on products designed primarily for men, and then marketing them to women, also does not help. However, we cannot completely shift the blame.

It’s time that our attitudes to our personal finances match our attitudes towards our careers and the rest of our lives. Just as we need to learn about our bodies, we need to learn about and take control of our money.

There is another element to our distant relationships with money. It feeds our insecurity. A 2006 survey by Alliance Capital found that nine out of ten women felt financially insecure. This insecurity seemed uncorrelated to the level of income or total wealth of the women surveyed. It seems like a primal fear.

One proven way to overcome this insecurity is to get clarity around the facts. When you know your situation, even if it is bad; at least you can make a plan. If you do not know, you just continue to fear!

Research indicates that women find it difficult to make time to look after their money. Women still spend more time organising their households and caring for their families, despite the majority of us now working outside the home. We leave very little time for ourselves and even less time for our money.

It’s not easy, even for me, even now, to sit down and familiarise myself with my personal finances. It’s the last thing I feel like when I have worked hard and taken care of my family. However, it’s the first step to being responsible for my own finances, and not relying on others to manage my money and my future.

3. Your money and your life

If those numbers on your investment report leave you cold, you are not alone. It appears that there is a fundamental difference in how women see their money and that’s not bad. As women, we see our money as a tool to reach the goals of our lives – money is not the object but the means by which we attain education for our kids, health care for our families, the retirement we dream of, or the security we need.

If you can think about your money in these terms, it may spur you on to do something about it. I grew up on a farm in the Karoo where I watched the gardener water the vegetable and fruit garden. Around the garden, there were little cement channels separated by small sluice gates. He would channel the water to the dry areas by opening and closing the sluice gates. Years ago, when I first started planning to start my own business, I put a plan together, to channel money into my dream project. Every month before anything else was paid; I put money into an investment account for this purpose. Now I look back and I know that if it had not been for that fund, I would never have been able to start my business.

Ask yourself the question. “What is the money for?” Perhaps the answer will inspire you to get stuck into your money matters.

Right now, I am planning for my own Encore years – the years after fifty. It has inspired me to take a good look at our finances. It has motivated me to rechannel the money to our future dreams, to review our retirement savings and our monthly budget.

Women and the financial world

The financial world has been dominated by men and despite more recent conscious effort to change this, this remains the reality. The result is that this world still does not speak to women. Unsurprisingly, most women find it foreign. In addition, research shows that women relate differently to services providers – they want to be educated and informed, not patronised and kept in the dark. They want their time resepcted and appreciate efforts to make interaction as easy and simple as possible. They want to feel part of a community so that they can relate to the financial services provider through that community.

What makes Foundation a place where women thrive?

Unlike most financial instiutions in South Africa, Foundation Family Wealth puts empasis on creating an environment where women feel at home.

  • We focus on needs based, holistic financial planning, which resonates with women because it relates our advice to their key questions. For example, will I have enough money to send my kids to overseas universities? Will I have enough money to pursue my entrepreneurial dreams?
  • We listen. It is part of our DNA to ask questions and to listen. We strive to ask the questions that will help our clients verbalise their concerns and thoughts.
  • We have empathy for newly single women – those going through divorce or the death of a spouse. In addition, we have spesialised expertise in dealing with these, sometimes complicated issues.
  • We provide learning opportunities for women through our regular courses
  • Our clients (especially the women) always comment on the sense of community they feel at Foundation Family Wealth. Through our regular functions and sometimes, direct introductions, they are able to share their journeys whether it be as entrepreneurs or through widowhood.

Behavioural Finance: Investors are their own worst enemies

By Elke Zeki

I heard a great analogy the other day from world-renowned researcher and storyteller, Brene Brown. She explained how often Thought and Behaviour sit in the back while Emotion drives the car. There are few things in life that stir up emotion the way money does. Even experienced investors are at risk of letting their emotions overtake their judgement – often without even realising it.

This behaviour can have a significant impact on long-term investment returns. The world’s biggest study in this field, The Dalbar study (http://www.qidllc.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/2016-Dalbar-QAIB-Report.pdf), shows that the average investor in the US gets much lower returns than the market/index. Why is that?

Research in psychology has identified a range of decision-making behaviours called biases. These biases relate to how we process information and how that leads us to making a decision. Without realising it, these biases can lead to poor investment decisions that destroy value over time. The only way to combat this is to understand what biases there are and the effects they may have on your decision-making. By doing this you may be able to reduce their influence and learn to work around them.

In times where markets are in turmoil and returns are low, we as financial advisors, often see strong influences from these biases when dealing with clients. These are some of the most prominent biases to be aware of:

Anchoring or confirmation bias

This is when you are fixated on one salient point and you ignore all the other information available to you. Or you only pay attention to information that supports your opinion.

Any of these look familiar?

  • Looking at past performance.
  • Only reading articles or research that supports your view.
  • Only considering the cheapest option.
  • Still holding an underweight equity position due to the financial crisis in 2007/08.
  • Believing that you predicted the low market return because of your political view.

Confidence bias

Most people tend to be overconfident in their own abilities. Just ask anyone if they think they are an above average driver? This is particularly prevalent amongst investors. Any investor that enjoyed short-term success based on their own decisions will claim the credit. However, if something goes wrong they see it as bad luck or blame someone else. This bias deeply entrenches perception and therefore may cloud your judgement. Interestingly, research show that men are often more overconfident than women.

Any of these look familiar?

  • Trading often.
  • Believing that you can pick winning investments and therefore keeping a high exposure to a specific stock or investment.

Familiarity bias

You have preference for familiar investments despite being “expensive” – or your portfolio is lacking diversification.

Any of these look familiar?

  • Holding Naspers at 25% of the portfolio because it has done well and you’ve had it for 10 years.
  • Not wanting to invest in hedge funds or international shares because its unknown and outside of your comfort zone.

Loss aversion bias

This bias refers to our tendency to avoid losses over acquiring gains. We feel the pain of loss more deeply than the joy of gain. This often leads to investors being too conservative.

Recognise any of these?

  • Not wanting to sell a losing share to avoid confronting the fact that it was a poor decision, despite the fact that funds can be reinvested into a share with a potentially better future.
  • Preferring money in the bank over investments where there is a larger potential gain such as equities.

Bandwagon effect or herding bias

Humans are social beings and there is a deep desire to be part of a group or community. This behaviour drives investors to follow trends or other peers. This is a powerful bias as it can impact investments more than any other bias – due to the momentum it creates. Following the crowd often means buying when prices are high and selling when prices are low.

What about these?

  • Buying IT shares during the DOT.com bubble (2001)
  • Taking large portions of your wealth offshore at R16/$1.
  • Investment returns that are too good to be true but all your friends are investing in it.
  • Invest in Bitcoin, it’s the next best thing! (We aren’t against this – just beware.)

Recency bias

With this bias, investors have the tendency to assume future events will be similar to their current experience. Thus, they attach more value to recent information than any older information. This is bias can be especially risky during bull markets when there is an assumption that markets will just continue going up.

Any of these look familiar?

  • Wanting to go with overweight equities because the markets have rallied well recently.
  • Investing in Bitcoin because its returns have been so strong.

How do you avoid these biases?

Here are some important things to take into account when making investment decisions:

  • Make sure your investments are well diversified.
  • Take a long-term view. It is time in the market that matters, not timing the market.
  • Be disciplined with your investment approach and rebalance regularly. Rebalancing protects you from judgement errors.
  • Fundamental bottom-up research helps avoid expensive/bubble assets.
  • Identify your specific goals and objectives – this will help identify suitable investments.

It’s true that these biases also affect investment professionals, not only investors. However, in most cases investment professionals put processes in place to combat potentially destructive behaviour. Investors don’t always have the same awareness, knowledge or infrastructure to protect themselves.

We therefore believe it’s crucial to work with a trusted financial advisor. As objective and independent advisors at Foundation Family Wealth, we help clients stick to their financial plans so that they achieve their long-term goals. We hold up the mirror when making investment decisions through uncertain times so that they can see when they are falling prey to biases. Sometimes this means doing something against your natural bias. Sometimes it just means doing nothing. Our advice is backed by sound and sophisticated research and most importantly it is always done with our client’s best interest at heart.

 

 

Words Worth Reading

“Can fairness really exist for women in the workplace?” – Business Day

A brilliant read by Prof Anita Bosch – a registered master HR practitioner and associate professor at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB) where she researches women at work. She also teaches in the human capital management and leadership tracks of the USB MBA programme.

“In a world of uncertainties, salary disparities and glass ceilings, what can really be considered “fair” in the working environment?”

Bosch has some hard-hitting truths about women as mothers in society and the workplace – women are valued as mothers or good corporate citizens but seldom both.

Read more here: https://www.businesslive.co.za/bd/business-and-economy/2017-08-14-can-fairness-really-exist-for-women-in-the-workplace/