"Alternative sources of alpha"

I enjoy many of the articles in Ben Carlson's blog, "A wealth of common sense". When it comes to wealth management, investments, financial markets and investor psychology, Carlson gets it

One of his recent posts is thought provoking. He discusses "Alternative sources of alpha". 

Carlson talks about the "ever elusive alpha" ("outperformance, after accounting for the risk taken and fees paid") and explains that the pursuit is extremely difficult, if not impossible. He then goes on to talk about other forms of alpha that can be overlooked. 

In particular, Carlson's comments about "tax alpha" and how important it is to get this right can't be stressed enough. This is especially the case in Australia, but is also relevant in New Zealand. The effect of a few percentage points compounded over a long period of time can be profound.

I think the idea of "savings alpha" is also an interesting way of communicating a vital piece of the puzzle when it comes to building up wealth. Spending less than you earn is an important part of achieving your long-term financial outcomes.

I would also consider adding "fee alpha". Minimising fees is one of the lower hanging fruits when it comes to maximising return relative to risk. 

As an aside, I enjoyed his quote from Jason Zweig's book The Devil's Financial Dictionary:

Alpha, n. Luck

(Zweig is another guy who gets it. His book Your Money and Your Brain is outstanding - even if the title is terrible...) 

Sonnie Bailey

Sonnie is the founder and principal of Fairhaven Wealth.

Before founding Fairhaven Wealth, Sonnie worked in the legal and financial services industries for over a decade.

Sonnie first became involved with financial advice as a specialist financial services lawyer. For many years, he was an “adviser of advisers”, reviewing thousands of advice files prepared by hundreds of financial advisers, and providing feedback in relation to the quality and appropriateness of advice; industry best practice; risk management; and regulatory compliance. He has published work in industry publications and spoken at various financial advice conferences.

Sonnie has also worked with banks, investment management firms, insurers, and derivatives providers.

Sonnie has worked as a private client lawyer, focusing on succession, estate planning and trusts. He ran his own legal firm in Australia before relocating to New Zealand. He has also acted in independent trustee and company director positions.

Sonnie is passionate about helping people achieve their goals and manage the risks to which they are exposed.

He has written extensively on his blog, New Zealand Wealth and Risk, which can be found at www.wealthandrisk.nz.

Sonnie is married to his wonderful wife Chrissy, and has two young children, Ben and Anna.