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Saturday, 21 November 2009

Give me dull performance any day.

Looking at asset manager advertising in preparation for a pitch this week got me thinking about why we need to see 50% over 5 years and similar big numbers. We’re trained to see these figures as good, but if the last 18 months have shown anything, it’s that the bigger the upside, in general the bigger the downside.

And the real reason that we need this kind of performance is that as a species we prevaricate. It’s only when the problem is looming that we start doing. And when it comes to retirement that’s very bad news. Starting retirement plans in your 30s is simply too late, and even your 20s is leaving it a bit late. No, the real answer is to start preparing for the end of a life when it’s just beginning. Start investing an achievable £178/month at age 1 and you get £1,000,000 at age 66, needing only 5% pa compounding; to get the same sum starting at 30? A slightly less achievable £898. To get that nice round million using £178/month over 35 years that easy 5% pa has to rise to a slightly less easy (and probably more risky) 12.09%. And of course most pensions start later.

So if I’m lucky enough to have grandchildren one day maybe I’ll do something super sensible and take out a pension for them. That really would be a gift that kept on giving!

Jim Poulter
Client Services Director

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