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How much buffer do you need? (Or: four things I agonise over when providing financial advice)

I have clients worth tens of thousands of dollars, and clients worth tens of millions of dollars. I find it much easier to advise clients with millions rather than thousands. First up, I’ll admit to sampling bias, which impacts this blog and my world view in general. For the most part, my clients and the people in my personal orbit are in a good financial position. In most of the reports I prepare for clients, I’m able to use the words “You’re in an enviable position compared to most Kiwis, especially at your age and stage”. In fact, most

You might need to change your investment strategy.

We’re in the middle of history right now. I won’t sugar-coat it: things are bad, and they’re going to get worse. I’m allergic to making predictions of this nature, but I think the current downturn will be worse than the Global Financial Crisis in 2008. Unlike the GFC or most other financial crises, our current situation is unique because there is clear, definable reason. We’re in the middle of a pandemic that is likely to result in a lot of heartbreak. There will be significant economic ramifications. The exact nature of these remain to be seen. Because of all

The paradox of advice

If you decide to engage a financial adviser, you might think that the decision would make you better off financially. That’s not necessarily true. I was chatting with some clients recently and had a weird realisation. I realised that for many of my clients, engaging with me is likely to mean that they end up with less money over the long-run. The reason for this is that I often encourage clients to spend their money. Or I point out that they can probably afford to generate less income over the course of their lives. The goal shouldn’t be to