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Financial Planning

What Is An Annuity And Should You Have One?

What Is An Annuity And Should You Have One?

“Here’s the bottom line about annuities; they’re confidence products” – Stan Haithcock
 
4 min read
Annuity - Annuities - Should You Have One?

What Is An Annuity And Should You Have One?

“Here’s the bottom line about annuities; they’re confidence products” – Stan Haithcock
 
4 min read

Annuities are designed to provide a steady income stream, typically for retirees.

They are insurance contracts where you pay a lump sum or series of payments in exchange for periodic disbursements in the future. Annuities can be a valuable component of a retirement plan, but they also come with complexities and considerations.

Below, you will found out what annuities are, how they work, the different types, their pros and cons, and whether you should consider having one. So, read on!

Understanding Annuities

An annuity is a contract between you and an insurance company.

In its simplest form, you make an investment in the annuity, and in return, the insurer promises to make periodic payments to you, either immediately or at some point in the future.

Types of Annuities

There are several types of annuities, each with unique features:

  1. Fixed Annuities: These provide regular, guaranteed payments. They are considered low-risk because the insurer bears the investment risk.
  2. Variable Annuities: Payments vary based on the performance of investments chosen by the annuitant. These offer higher potential returns but also come with more risk.
  3. Indexed Annuities: Payments are linked to a stock market index. They offer a middle ground between fixed and variable annuities, providing some potential for higher returns while limiting risk.
  4. Immediate Annuities: Payments start almost immediately after a lump-sum investment. They are useful for those needing income right away.
  5. Deferred Annuities: Payments begin at a future date, allowing the investment to grow tax-deferred in the interim.

How Do They Work?

When you purchase an annuity, you either make a single lump-sum payment or a series of payments over time. The insurance company then invests your money and guarantees to provide you with periodic payments for a specified period or for the rest of your life.

  • Accumulation Phase: During this phase, you pay into the annuity, and the funds grow tax-deferred.
  • Distribution Phase: In this phase, the insurer starts making payments to you according to the terms of the annuity contract.

The Benefits

Annuities offer several advantages, making them an attractive option for certain people. Here are a few of them:

  1. Guaranteed Income: One of the most significant benefits is the assurance of a steady income stream, which can provide financial security in retirement.
  2. Tax Deferral: Annuities allow your investments to grow tax-deferred, meaning you won’t pay taxes on the earnings until you start receiving payments.
  3. Customisable Payment Options: Annuities offer flexibility in how payments are structured, such as for a fixed period or for life.
  4. Death Benefit: Some annuities include a death benefit, which pays out to your beneficiaries if you pass away before the annuity is fully paid out.

The Drawbacks

Despite their benefits, annuities are not for everyone and do come with several disadvantages. Here are a few of them:

  1. High Fees: Annuities often come with various fees, including administrative fees, investment management fees, and surrender charges if you withdraw funds early.
  2. Complexity: The terms and conditions of annuity contracts can be complex and difficult to understand.
  3. Limited Liquidity: Once you invest in an annuity, your money is typically locked up for a period, limiting access to your funds. In addition, should the company paying you find themselves in severe financial difficulty, your income may cease.
  4. Potential for Lower Returns: Compared to other investment options, some annuities may offer lower returns, especially after accounting for fees and inflation. This means that you would be able to pay yourself more or earn higher returns if you were to retain your fund.

Who Should Consider an Annuity

In short, annuities are suitable for those who are looking for a ‘guaranteed’ income and like the security that comes with it. Provided all goes well with the insurer, it can be comforting to know exactly what you will receive and when you will receive it.

You also have the option to only use a certain portion of funds to buy an annuity, whilst retaining access to the rest aimed at higher returns and performance.

How To Choose The Right Annuity

Selecting the right annuity involves careful consideration of your financial situation, goals, risk tolerance and more.

The top 3 things you can do to ensure you are making the right decision are:

  1. Assess Your Needs: Determine how much income you need in retirement and whether an annuity can meet that need.
  2. Research Different Annuities: Compare the features, benefits, and costs of different types of annuities.
  3. Consult With Your Patterson Mills Financial Adviser: Our professional Advisers can help you navigate the complexities of annuities and choose the best option for your situation.

So, Is An Annuity Right For You?

Annuities can be a valuable tool for securing a reliable income in retirement, but they come with complexities and costs that must be carefully considered.

There are a myriad of options that go beyond the basics provided in this article, and this can be overwhelming for some. By planning early, doing your research, and consulting with Patterson Mills, you can make an informed decision about whether an annuity is right for you.

We are here to help you navigate the complexities of annuities and tailor the right strategy that meets your needs, whether that involves buying an annuity, or not!

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting to learn more about how we can assist you in securing your financial future.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Investments

The Pros and Cons of Real Estate Investing

The Pros and Cons of Real Estate Investing

“Now, one thing I tell everyone is learn about real estate” ― Armstrong Williams
 
3 min read
Pros and Cons of Real Estate Investing

The Pros and Cons of Real Estate Investing

“Now, one thing I tell everyone is learn about real estate” ― Armstrong Williams

3 min read

Real estate investing is a popular strategy for building wealth that involves purchasing, owning, and managing properties with the expectation of generating income or value appreciation over time.

Like any investment, it is not guaranteed to increase in value, and also has it’s own set of advantages and disadvantages.

Read below to find out what they are so you can make more informed decisions as to whether real estate investing is right for you.

Pros of Real Estate Investing:

Let’s get straight into it.

Here are some of the advantages to real estate investing:

  1. Potential for High Returns: One of the primary attractions is its potential for high returns. Historically, real estate has shown steady appreciation in value over the long term, which in turn has provided significant capital gains. There is also the possibility to receive rental income from investment properties which can generate ongoing cash flow, thus further enhancing returns.

  2. Compounding Returns with Leverage: The ability to borrow a significant percentage of an investment property’s purchase price can greatly increase total returns. For example, borrowing 75% with a real estate mortgage, secured on both the property and the rental income, would result in a 100% return on your invested capital after just a 25% increase in the property’s value (before applicable taxes).

  3. Portfolio Diversification: Being separate from stocks and bonds, your investment portfolio can enhance its diversification with real estate. This is because real estate values often move independently of other assets, thereby helping to reduce overall portfolio risk and volatility.

  4. Tax Advantages: Real estate investors often benefit from various tax incentives and deductions that can lower their overall tax liability. Expenses such as mortgage interest (excluding the UK), property taxes and insurance can often be deducted from rental income, reducing taxable income. Additionally, profits from the sale of investment properties may qualify for preferential capital gains tax treatment (excluding the UK), depending on the holding period or rules in your relevant jurisdiction.

  5. Tangible Asset: Unlike stocks or bonds, which represent ownership or debt in a company, real estate is a tangible asset that you can see, touch, and control. Owning physical properties can provide a sense of security and control that can be appealing to those seeking more direct involvement in their investments. Along the same vein, real estate investments can offer the opportunity for hands-on management and improvement, allowing you to add value and increase returns.

Cons of Real Estate Investing:

We’re not here to waste time, here are the disadvantages!

  1. Lack of Liquidity: One of the major drawbacks of real estate investing is its lack of liquidity compared to other asset classes. Unlike stocks or bonds, which can be bought and sold quickly, selling a property can be a time-consuming process that may take weeks, months, or even longer. Illiquidity can make it challenging for those wishing to access their capital quickly in times of need or take advantage of new investment opportunities.

  2. High Upfront Costs: Real estate investments typically require a significant amount of capital upfront, including down payments, closing costs, and ongoing maintenance expenses. For many, this high barrier to entry can make real estate investing inaccessible or impractical. Financing real estate investments with mortgages can also introduce additional risks, such as interest rate fluctuations and leverage.

  3. Risks From Leverage: Whilst borrowing to invest in property is often seen as a positive way of increasing returns, interest rate risks need to be managed carefully. The risk of interest costs exceeding rental income over time can be very real, especially during periods of rapidly rising interest rates. In such circumstances, exiting the investment may not be possible (see point 1 above) and so maintaining good cash reserves is vitally important.

  4. Management and Maintenance: Owning and managing investment properties can be time-consuming and labour-intensive, requiring landlords to deal with tenant issues, property maintenance, and regulatory compliance. While hiring property management companies can alleviate some of these responsibilities, it comes with additional costs that can eat into overall returns. As well as this, vacancies, property damage, and unexpected repairs can negatively impact cash flow and profitability. Maybe not very ‘passive’ income after all..!

  5. Market Risk: Real estate markets are subject to fluctuations and cycles, which can impact property values and rental demand. Economic downturns, changes in interest rates, and shifts in local market conditions can all affect the performance of real estate investments. You must carefully assess market risk and conduct thorough due diligence before committing capital to real estate to ensure you are making informed investment decisions.

Buy In or Steer Clear?

There are ways to invest in real estate without having to buy a property, such as through REITs, which can help with upfront and management costs, though the majority of the pros and cons remain the same.

It’s important to carefully weigh up these pros and cons when deciding whether real estate investing is right for you. How does it align with your overall financial goals, time horizon, risk tolerance and more?

Patterson Mills are here to help you answer these very questions (and more!) when it comes to considering real estate within your investment portfolio.

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Investments

All About Private Equity

All About Private Equity

“The role of private equity as fiduciaries is certainly to make money” ― Thomas G. Stemberg
 
3 min read
Private Equity

All About Private Equity

“The role of private equity as fiduciaries is certainly to make money” ― Thomas G. Stemberg

3 min read

Private equity firms are influential players in the financial world, specialising in investments in established companies with the aim of driving growth, improving operational efficiency, and generating significant returns for investors. Essentially, buying a proportion or entirety of a company with the aim of making it profitable and selling. 

In this article, you will find out all you need to know about private equity firms and how they may impact your returns.

Their Core Functions

Private equity firms primarily focus on acquiring ownership stakes in established companies through various investment strategies, including leveraged buyouts (LBOs), management buyouts (MBOs), and growth equity investments.

These firms typically seek controlling or significant minority stakes in their portfolio companies, allowing them to exert influence over strategic decisions and operational matters.

Private equity firms provide financing to companies at different stages of their lifecycle, from mature enterprises seeking expansion capital to underperforming businesses in need of restructuring. By deploying capital and expertise, private equity firms aim to enhance the value of their portfolio companies, drive operational improvements, and ultimately deliver attractive returns to their investors.

How Do They Invest?

Private equity firms employ various investment strategies tailored to the specific characteristics of their target companies and investment objectives.

Put simply, they invest using many strategies!

Leveraged buyouts (LBOs) involve acquiring companies using a significant amount of debt financing, with the aim of restructuring operations, reducing costs, and improving profitability.

Management buyouts (MBOs) entail the purchase of a company by its existing management team, often in partnership with a private equity firm, to facilitate a change in ownership and drive growth.

In addition, private equity firms may pursue growth equity investments, which involve providing capital to companies with proven business models and scalable operations, aiming to accelerate growth and expansion. These investments typically target companies in high-growth sectors such as technology, healthcare, and consumer goods, offering the potential for substantial returns over the long term.

Risks and Rewards

Whilst their investments offer the potential for attractive returns, they do come with inherent risks, including execution risk, market volatility, and economic uncertainties.

Leveraged buyouts, in particular, involve significant levels of debt, exposing investors to financial leverage and interest rate risk.

Additionally, private equity investments are illiquid in nature, with capital typically locked up for several years, requiring investors to have a long-term investment horizon and tolerance for illiquidity.

However, successful private equity investments can deliver substantial rewards, including capital appreciation, dividend income, and potential tax benefits.

By actively managing their portfolio companies, implementing operational improvements, and driving strategic initiatives, private equity firms aim to maximise value creation and generate superior returns for their investors over the investment lifecycle.

Is Private Equity Right For You?

Determining whether private equity aligns with your investment goals, risk tolerance, and financial circumstances requires careful consideration and due diligence.

While private equity investments offer the potential for attractive returns and diversification benefits, they also entail inherent risks and illiquidity.

Fear not!

Patterson Mills is here to assist you in assessing your investment horizon, liquidity needs, and comfort level with risk before committing capital to private equity funds or direct investments.

Remember, you are not alone.

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Investments

Currency Hedging: The Cost of Managing Risk

Currency Hedging: The Cost of Managing Risk

“Between calculated risk and reckless decision-making lies the dividing line between profit and loss” ― Charles Duhigg
 
4 min read
Currency Hedging

Currency Hedging: The Cost of Managing Risk

“Between calculated risk and reckless decision-making lies the dividing line between profit and loss” ― Charles Duhigg

 

4 min read

Businesses and investors are increasingly exposed to risks stemming from fluctuations in foreign exchange rates. Currency movements can impact the value of investments, affect profitability, and introduce uncertainty into international transactions.

However, there is a way to mitigate your exposure to currency risk, and this is through a strategy known as ‘hedging’.

For you, the investor, hedging is simple as it involves simply buying a fund that has ‘hedged’ in the name or fund literature.

Under the bonnet, currency hedging involves a range of financial instruments designed to mitigate the potential adverse effects of currency fluctuations on your investment portfolios, business revenues, and cashflows.

This article aims to help you make informed decisions about whether currency hedging is the right strategy for your investments, or not. So, read below to find out more!

What is Currency Hedging?

Currency hedging is a risk management strategy used to mitigate the impact of currency fluctuations on international investments or transactions. 

It involves taking positions in the foreign exchange (FOREX) market to offset potential losses that can come from changes in exchange rates.

Currency hedging aims to protect against adverse movements in currency values that could erode the value of investments denominated in foreign currencies.

One common method of currency hedging is through the use of financial derivatives such as forward contracts, futures contracts, options, and swaps.

Essentially, by hedging a certain currency, you are taking a position on the future direction of that currency’s movements. This is akin to placing a bet on whether a particular currency will appreciate or depreciate. So, you are locking in a specific exchange rate to protect yourself from adverse currency movements.

These instruments allow you to lock in exchange rates at predetermined levels, providing certainty about future cash flows and reducing the uncertainty associated with currency risk. However, whilst currency hedging can help smooth out your returns and protect against losses in currency fluctuations, it also comes with costs and complexities that you need to consider carefully.

Is Currency Hedging Good or Bad?

The effectiveness of currency hedging depends on various factors, including your specific circumstances, market conditions, and investment objectives.

As mentioned, you are placing a bet on whether a particular currency will appreciate or depreciate, locking in a specific exchange rate, and you do not get to do this for free!

Just like any insurance policy, currency hedging requires paying a premium, typically in the form of management fees or transaction costs. These costs can then eat into your potential profits and diminish your returns (which is especially true if the currency movements do not move in your favour).

In some cases, currency hedging can provide valuable protection against currency risk, particularly for those with significant exposure to foreign markets or those holding international assets. You can even potentially enhance risk-adjusted returns over the long term whilst enjoying reduced volatility in your portfolio.

However, do not be fooled, hedging does not eliminate currency risk entirely and may not always be effective in volatile or unpredictable market conditions.

What’s more is that hedging decisions should not just be a quick thought of “I am investing in a foreign currency so I should buy a fund that implements hedging”. In reality, this decision requires careful consideration and expertise, and improper hedging strategies can result in unintended consequences or losses. 

Therefore, you should weigh the pros and cons of currency hedging carefully before implementing any strategies. Fortunately, Patterson Mills is here to help, so contact us today!

Considerations You Need To Make

When evaluating whether currency hedging is suitable, there are several consideratinos for you to make.

  1. Determine your risk tolerance and investment objectives
  2. Find out the level of exposure to foreign currencies in your  existing or planned portfolio
  3. Consider the outlook for currency markets, economic fundamentals, and geopolitical developments that could impact exchange rates.
  4. Evaluate the costs associated with currency hedging and compare them to the potential benefits.
    1. This includes considering the impact of hedging costs on investment returns and whether the expected reduction in currency risk justifies the expenses incurred.
  5. Assess the performance of different hedging strategies under various market scenarios and their historical effectiveness in managing currency risk.
    1. Remember, past performance is not indicative of future performance
  6. Consider the prevailing interest rate differentials between currencies
  7. Consult with Patterson Mills

Could Topiary Help Your Investments?

Our Advisers at Patterson Mills understand the importance of currency risk management and offer tailored solutions to help you navigate the challenges of international markets and decide if hedging would be suitable for you.

Whether you’re looking to hedge currency exposure in your investment portfolio or protect your business from currency fluctuations, our team can provide the guidance and support you need.

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Financial Planning

Holding Foreign Currencies To Get a Higher Interest Rate: Should You Do It?

Holding Foreign Currencies To Get a Higher Interest Rate: Should You Do It?

“Volatility gets you in the gut. There’s no question that when prices are jumping around, you feel different from when they’re stable” ― Peter Bernstein
 

4 min read

Higher Interest Rates - Foreign Currency Accounts - Exchange Rates - Should You Do It?

Holding Foreign Currencies To Get a Higher Interest Rate: Should You Do It?

“Volatility gets you in the gut. There’s no question that when prices are jumping around, you feel different from when they’re stable” ― Peter Bernstein

4 min read

We all want to get the most out of our money, especially when it comes to earning interest on our cash.

Sometimes, it may seem like the grass is greener on the other side, with foreign currency accounts offering higher interest rates than what is available in your home currency.

But is it really as good as it sounds?

It may seem obvious to gravitate towards the higher interest rates and receive more money each year. However, there may be more risks involved than you think.

Today, we are going to explore the ins and outs of foreign currency interest rates, and weigh the benefits and risks to help you make informed decisions about whether a foreign currency interest rate is right for you, or not.

Is Holding Cash in Foreign Currencies a Good Idea?

Opening an account in a foreign currency to capitalise on higher interest rates may seem appealing at first glance, especially if the rates offered are significantly higher than those available domestically.

However, whilst higher interest rates may enhance the potential returns on your cash, at least in terms of the actual figures you will see on your statement, they also come with increased currency risk.

Exchange rate fluctuations can significantly impact the overall return you receive, and could actually cause you to experience a reduction in purchasing power (i.e. lose money!).

Put simply, when placing funds in a currency other than the one in which you intend to spend the funds, you are making a bet that the foreign currency you choose will not lose value against your domestic currency by the difference of the increased interest rate you will receive.

Currency exchange costs, foreign transaction fees, and regulatory differences can all affect the net return, too. Moreover, navigating the regulatory landscape and tax implications of foreign investments may require specialised knowledge or professional advice, adding to the overall complexity and potential costs associated with utilising foreign currency accounts.

So, is it a good idea to utilise foreign currency accounts to get a better interest rate? Ultimately, it depends.

It depends on whether you are willing to accept increased risk, what your investment objectives are, and the broader economic environment at the time.

Whatever your decision, you should definitely be aware of a theory known as ‘Interest Rate Parity’.

What is Interest Rate Parity?

Interest rate parity is a concept in finance that relates to the relationship between interest rates and exchange rates in different countries.

Essentially, it states that the difference in interest rates between two countries should equal the expected change in exchange rates between their currencies.

In other words, if one country offers higher interest rates than another, its currency should depreciate relative to the currency of the country with lower interest rates to maintain equilibrium.

What this is saying is that your purchasing power won’t benefit from a higher interest rate in a foreign currency.

This principle is based on the idea of arbitrage, where people seek to exploit differences in interest rates and exchange rates to make risk-free profits.

If interest rate parity did not hold, it would be possible to borrow in a currency with low-interest rates, convert it to a currency with higher interest rates, invest at the higher rate, and then convert the returns back to the original currency, profiting from the interest rate differential.

Interest rate parity helps prevent such opportunities for risk-free profit, ensuring that currency markets remain efficient and prices reflect all available information.

Whilst interest rate parity provides a useful framework for understanding the relationship between interest rates and exchange rates, it is not in itself a perfect predictor of currency movements.

Various factors, such as economic conditions, inflation expectations, geopolitical events, and central bank policies, can influence exchange rates independently of interest rate differentials.

However, interest rate parity remains an important concept to know as, frankly, it’s saying there is no such thing as a free lunch!

Are Exchange Rates Really That Important?

In short, yes!

The volatility of currency exchange is not to be ignored. This refers to the degree of fluctuations or variability in the exchange rates between different currencies.

Currency exchange rates are typically highly volatile, fluxuating all the time. 

Why? Well, the fluxuations are influenced by a myriad of factors, such as those mentioned for interest rates above, and present risks that you may not have considered.

Currency volatility adds an additional layer of uncertainty, so you may have thought you can get 2.00% interest for 1-year in your home country, and 5.00% for 1-year using foreign currencies and that’s great, right?

Well, if your domestic currency increases in value by 10% against that foreign currency, you actually have made a loss of 7.00% if you then convert it back into your home currency to spend.

The problem is, no matter what the past performance of a currency has been, the future is not known and the unexpected can happen!

Knowledge is Power, But What's The Answer?

There are two sides to every coin.

In this case, on the one side you make a loss from adverse currency fluctuations, and on the other side you make a profit from advantageous currency fluctuations.

If it goes your way, that would be great. The truth is, there is just no way of knowing.

This is why it is mentioned above that whether or not it is right for you really depends on your risk appetite, capacity for loss and personal circumstances.

Importantly, holding cash is investing, and this is even more true for those holding cash in a currency other than that in which those funds will be spent.

The key to success is that you need not make these important decisions alone.

Patterson Mills is here to guide you every step of the way and assist you in making the decision that is right for you and your financial future.

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Financial Planning

Should You Rent or Buy Your Home?

Should You Rent or Buy Your Home?

“Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful” ― Hazrat Inayat Khan

3 min read

Should You Rent or Buy Your Home?

Should You Rent or Buy Your Home?

“Some people look for a beautiful place. Others make a place beautiful” ― Hazrat Inayat Khan

3 min read

In the never-ending debate between renting and buying a home, you won’t be surprised to read that there is no one-size-fits-all answer.

Both options come with their own set of advantages and disadvantages, and the decision ultimately depends on various factors unique to your circumstances.

That being said, once you have read this article you will have a much better idea of the considerations to make to find out which one suits you best!

Why Might You Rent a Home?

A key aspect of renting is that it offers the flexibility and freedom that buying does not. It’s a suitable option for those who prefer not to be tied down to a particular location or property for an extended period of time. You would have the flexibility to move to different city or country without the hassle of selling a property. This can be an excellent choice if you are unsure about your long-term plans and prefer not to commit to a specific location.

Moreover, there are far fewer upfront costs involved when renting compared to buying that means there is a lower financial barrier to entry when renting. Whilst you may need to pay a deposit and possible X month’s rent in advance, there are usually much higher upfront expenses involved for homeowners. So, renting can be advantageous for those who are saving up for a down payment or prefer to invest their money elsewhere.

Subject to your rental agreement, you are likely to not be responsible for property maintenance, repairs, or other unexpected expenses associated with homeownership. Instead these tasks could be handled by your landlord or property management company, allowing you to focus on other aspects of your life without the added burden of maintenance.

Why Might You Buy a Home?

On the other hand, homeownership could also be beneficial, and one of the most significant benefits is building equity.

Unlike renting, where monthly payments go to pay your landlord, if you were to buy your home, you would (hopefully!) gradually build equity in your property over time through either paying off a mortgage or your property increasing in value.

This can serve as a valuable asset and source of wealth accumulation, and from this you may even have the opportunity to leverage your property’s equity for other purposes, such as home improvements, education expenses or otherwise (talk to your Patterson Mills Adviser before doing so!).

Additionally, you would have the freedom to customise and personalise your living space according to your preferences. From knocking out walls to landscaping, the autonomy to make such changes is yours without having to seek permission from a landlord.

Owning your home can also provide a sense of stability and security, knowing that you have a place to call your own and be part of a local community of your choice. This is often seen as a milestone and significant investment for many individuals and families.

Buying Versus Renting: Quick Comparisons

When comparing buying and renting, several factors come into play that can influence the decision-making process. Below you will find a simple list of comparisons between the two.

  1. Financial implications
    1. Renting typically involves lower costs though does not have the opportunity for wealth accumulation through the property value or paying off any mortgage.
    2. Buying a home often requires a substantial down payment, higher ongoing costs and maintenance. However, when you own your home, you have the potential for equity accumulation, whilst renting does not provide this wealth-building opportunity.
    3. The right option here for you cannot be said in this article, as it is specific to your financial situation. Buying a home wins on the opportunity to build wealth over time, whilst renting (though not the case in all instances) is likely to win on affordability.
      1. This can change greatly subject to the areas in which you are looking to buy or rent and other circumstances, so make sure to do your own research or talk to your Patterson Mills Adviser.
  2. Flexibility
    1. Renting provide more flexibility in terms of mobility, allowing you to easily relocate or adjust your living arrangements without the burden of selling a property or having any ties to a specific area.
    2. Buying offers stability and flexibility in terms of having the freedom to personalise and invest in the property.
    3. Renting wins on having the most mobility flexibility, whilst buying wins on personalisation.
  3. Stability and Community
    1. Renting may struggle here, subject to how long you stay in one place and whether your landlord continues to rent the property in which you live. Whilst it would indeed be possible to remain in one place for a significant period of time and build valuable friendships in your local area, you may find a lack of stability in knowing how long you would be able to remain, or knowing that you won’t remain for long.
    2. Buying often allows you to feel safe and secure knowing that your property is your own and enables you to have a sense of security and stability as it would be your own decision as to whether you leave the area in which you live, or remain. 
    3. Renting has potential, though in this category would be subject to your rental agreement and the landlord’s future objectives for the property. Buying is likely to provide more security and stability, and so wins on this category.

Which One Is Right For You?

Market conditions and local real estate trends play a significant role in the comparison between buying and renting. In some markets, buying may be more financially advantageous due to lower mortgage rates, favourable home prices, and potential tax benefits. Conversely, in areas with high property prices or volatile housing markets, renting may be a more practical and cost-effective option in the short term.

Evaluating these market dynamics and considering future projections can help yo make informed decisions that align with your financial goals and lifestyle preferences.

The best part is, you don’t have to work it out alone.

Patterson Mills is here to help you every step of the way and assist you in making the decision that is right for you.

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Pensions

What to Do When You’re Behind on Your Retirement Savings

What to Do When You’re Behind on Your Retirement Savings

“It is never too early to encourage long-term savings” ― Ron Lewis

3 min read

Retirement Savings Shortfall: What to Do If You Are Behind

What to Do When You’re Behind on Your Retirement Savings

“It is never too early to encourage long-term savings” ― Ron Lewis

3 min read

Facing a retirement savings shortfall can be daunting, but it’s essential to tackle the issue head-on and take proactive steps to bolster your retirement savings.

Whether you’re nearing retirement age or still have several years left in the workplace, there are strategies you can implement to bridge the gap and secure a comfortable retirement.

Assess Your Current Financial Situation

Naturally, you need to know how far behind you may be!

This means the first step in addressing a retirement savings shortfall is to assess your current financial situation comprehensively.

Take stock of your retirement accounts, including pension plans such as the three Pillars (in Switzerland), your SIPPs or ISAs (in the UK), or 401(k)s or IRAs (in the US), and any other investment vehicles you may have.

Calculate your total savings balance and compare it to your retirement goals to determine the extent of the shortfall.

Additionally, evaluate your current expenses and budget to identify areas where you can cut costs and redirect funds towards retirement savings.

Great, you’ve completed the first step. Now what?

Read below to find out the steps you can take to increase your chances of enjoying a comfortable and enjoyable retirement!

Delaying Retirement

Delaying retirement can be a strategic move that involves extending your working years.

Essentially, this provides you more years to earn income, contribute to your retirement accounts and grow your investments.

Delaying retirement can also increase your State / Social benefits, too, as they are often calculated based upon your earnings history and the age at which you begin to receive them. For each year your State pension is deferred, you will likely find that the benefits you receive could increase by a certain percentage each year (up-to a maximum age set by the country in which you reside).

In parallel to having more years to earn income, you also reduce the number of years you will need to rely on your retirement savings! Thus, you have extra opportunities to pay off debts, such as mortgages or loans, and reinforce your financial situation.

However, whilst this may not be the ideal scenario for everyone, it can be a practical solution for those looking to boost their retirement savings over the long-term.

Additional Income Sources

Exploring additional income sources can be highly effective in bridging the gap caused by a retirement savings shortfall.

This could involve taking on part-time employment, freelancing, or starting a business you can do in addition to your full-time job to generate supplemental income.

By diversifying your income streams, you can increase your overall cash flow and allocate additional funds towards your retirement savings. This in turn can provide a sense of financial security and peace of mind, knowing that you have alternative avenues to support your retirement lifestyle.

Review Retirement Goals

When faced with a retirement savings shortfall, it’s crucial to reassess your retirement goals and expectations.

This involves carefully evaluating your desired retirement lifestyle, including factors such as travel plans, hobbies, healthcare needs, and living arrangements.

This method would include reducing the income you take and your planned expenditure (as listed above).

By undertaking this review, you can identify areas where adjustments may be necessary to align with your ‘financial reality’.

Downsizing or Relocating

Options like downsizing or relocating can be an integral part of alleviating financial strain.

Downsizing involves reducing the size or cost of your current living arrangements, whether by moving to a smaller home, selling excess possessions, or cutting down on unnecessary expenses in this area.

By downsizing, you can free up funds that can be redirected towards bolstering your retirement savings or covering essential expenses.

Relocating to a more affordable area is another strategy to consider as moving to a region with a lower cost of living can stretch your retirement savings further, allowing you to maintain a comfortable lifestyle without depleting your resources too quickly.

Researching potential relocation destinations and assessing factors such as housing affordability, healthcare access, and overall quality of life can help you make an informed decision about whether relocating is a viable solution for your retirement savings shortfall.

Talk to the Experts at Patterson Mills

Overall, it can be a scary thought when facing a retirement savings shortfall. However, with expert assistance from Patterson Mills, you can take the necessary steps to begin correcting your situation with ease.

Remember, we are here to help you navigate the complexities of retirement planning and develop a tailored strategy to achieve your retirement goals.

Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Investments

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Dividends?

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Dividends?

“And I had an old-fashioned idea that dividends were a good thing” ― James MacArthur

4 min read

Dividends - Income - How Much Money Do You Need To Live Off Dividend Income

How Much Money Do You Need to Live Off Dividends?

“And I had an old-fashioned idea that dividends were a good thing” ― James MacArthur

4 min read

Dividends are an important part of the total return you achieve within your investments. They are also particularly notable for those looking for income stability.

They offer a reward (payment) for investment in a company’s success and can act as a buffer during market downturns, providing a source of income even when capital appreciation is stagnant or negative.

However, despite the benefits, it’s important to recognise that dividends are not a one-size-fits-all solution and may or may not align with your own financial planning. 

Whilst you could prioritise income generation and value the reliability of dividend payments, you may prefer growth and the reinvestment of earnings for long-term capital appreciation.

Whatever you may decide, it’s important to have knowledge! Luckily, that’s what you will find below, so read on!

Dividends: The Basics

Dividends represent a portion of a company’s earnings distributed to its shareholders as a reward for their investment.

These payments are typically made on a regular basis, such as quarterly or annually, and can vary in amount depending on the company’s profitability and dividend policy.

Dividends are often seen as a sign of financial strength and stability, with companies that consistently pay dividends considered reliable investment options in this area.

The “dividend yield” is how much dividend you could expect to receive per share. This is expressed as dividend divided by a share price. For example, this may be 2.50%.

It is important to note that dividends are not guaranteed and can fluctuate based on various factors, including economic conditions, company performance, and management decisions. During periods of financial distress or economic uncertainty, companies may reduce or suspend dividend payments to conserve cash or address operational challenges.

This can lead to disappointment and financial strain should you be relying heavily on dividend income for your living expenses. As such, it is important to carefully assess a company’s dividend sustainability, financial health as well as many other factors.

The Key Advantages

Naturally, one of the main advantages of dividends is their potential to provide a steady stream of income, regardless of market conditions.

Dividend-paying stocks are often viewed as less volatile than non-dividend-paying stocks, offering a degree of stability and predictability to your portfolio. 

Additionally, dividends can provide tax benefits depending where you are tax-resident, as they are often taxed at a lower rate than other forms of investment income, such as interest or capital gains.

You can also get signals of a company’s financial health and management’s confidence in its future prospects. Companies that consistently pay dividends demonstrate a commitment to returning value to shareholders and may be perceived as more reliable and trustworthy investment opportunities.

Dividend payments can also act as a form of discipline for company management, encouraging diligent capital allocation and discouraging wasteful spending or risky investments.

Uncovering The Disadvantages

Despite their appeal, dividends do come with their share of drawbacks.

  1. Unlike interest payments on bonds, dividends are not guaranteed and can be reduced or suspended altogether if a company’s financial performance deteriorates. 
  2. Furthermore, dividend payments can fluctuate with changes in the company’s earnings or stock price, making them less reliable than you might first think. 
  3. Companies that prioritise paying dividends may have fewer resources available for reinvestment in growth initiatives, potentially limiting their long-term growth prospects.
  4. Dividend income may not keep pace with inflation over time, reducing its purchasing power and eroding the real value of your returns, particularly in environments with high inflation rates.
  5. Investing in dividend-paying stocks may also limit your ability to diversify your portfolio across different asset classes or pursue alternative investment strategies which could lead you to missing out on higher returns elsewhere.

How Much Do You Need To Live Off Dividends?

So, what is the answer to the question of how much you need to live off dividends?

Well, it will (hopefully) come as no surprise that of course it depends on how much income you require!

If you are considering a dividend-focused strategy, you should carefully assess your income needs and risk tolerance.

For example, if you require an income of 100’000 per year and were looking at a dividend yield of 10%, you would need to invest 1’000’000.

To work out much you need, calculate your required income and then the percentage dividend yield you may be able to achieve.

From here, you can find out what initial investment you would need to achieve that percentage return and therefore the income level you desire.

The example above is a useful way of looking at this.

What Are The Next Steps?

Whilst dividends can be an attractive option when seeking income, it’s crucial to weigh the pros and cons carefully and consider how dividends fit into your overall investment strategy.

Yes, it can be complex, and that is exactly why the next steps are to get in touch with Patterson Mills! We understand the complexities of dividend investing and offer expert guidance to help you navigate the world of dividends and achieve your financial goals.

With our expertise and experience, we can help you make the investment choices that give you the best possible chance of success. Get in touch with us today and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Investments

OEICs and SICAVs: Exploring Investment Fund Structures

OEICs and SICAVs: Exploring Investment Fund Structures

“Invest for the long haul. Don’t get too greedy and don’t get too scared” ― Shelby M.C. Davis

4 min read

OIECs / SICAVs Structure of Investment Funds

OEICs and SICAVs: Exploring Investment Fund Structures

“Invest for the long haul. Don’t get too greedy and don’t get too scared” ― Shelby M.C. Davis

4 min read

The vast amount of differing fund structures available when you are looking to invest can be daunting. One such structure that you will likely see is the ‘Open-Ended Investment Company’ (OEIC), also known as the ‘Société d’Investissement à Capital Variable’ (SICAV) in some jurisdictions.

Unlike traditional mutual funds, which are common in the United States, OEICs and SICAVs are prevalent in Europe and other regions. 

OEICs and SICAVs offer several advantages over other investment vehicles. Their open-ended nature allows investors to buy and sell shares at the prevailing Net Asset Value (NAV) per share, ensuring liquidity and transparency. Additionally, these structures provide access to a wide range of asset classes and investment strategies, catering to various risk appetites and investment goals. As global financial markets continue to evolve, OEICs and SICAVs remain popular choices for those seeking exposure to international markets and professional fund management expertise.

Keen to know more? You are in the right place!

What is an OEIC (or SICAV) Investment Fund Structure?

An OEIC (or SICAV) is a collective investment scheme that pools money from multiple investors to invest in a diversified portfolio of assets. Unlike closed-end funds, which have a fixed number of shares traded on exchanges, OEICs and SICAVs are open-ended, meaning they issue and redeem shares based on demand.

This structure allows you to buy and sell shares at the fund’s Net Asset Value (NAV) per share, which is calculated daily based on the value of the fund’s underlying assets.

Key Features of OEICs and SICAVs

  1. Diversification: OEICs and SICAVs offer access to a wide range of assets, including stocks, bonds, and other securities, providing diversification benefits to mitigate risk.
  2. Liquidity: Buying and selling shares in OEICs and SICAVs on a daily basis provides liquidity and flexibility when managing investment portfolios.
  3. Professional Management: These investment funds are typically managed by professional fund managers who make investment decisions based on the fund’s objectives and investment strategy.
  4. Regulation: OEICs and SICAVs are subject to regulatory oversight by financial authorities in their respective jurisdictions, which helps add a level of protection and transparency.
  5. Tax Efficiency: OEICs and SICAVs often benefit from tax-efficient structures, which can result in lower tax liabilities compared to direct investment in securities.
  6. Investor Protection: Both OEICs and SICAVs are regulated investment structures, offering protection through compliance with regulatory requirements and standards.
  7. Global Access: OEICs and SICAVs provide access to a diverse range of international markets and asset classes, allowing for global investment opportunities and portfolio diversification.

Net Asset Value (NAV) Explained

So, you can trade assets at the fund’s “Net Asset Value”, but what does this mean?

Well, Net Asset Value (NAV) per share, is a measure used to determine the value of each share in a mutual fund, exchange-traded fund (ETF), or other investment vehicle. It is calculated by dividing the total net asset value of the fund by the number of shares outstanding.

The net asset value (NAV) of a fund represents the total value of all the fund’s assets, including cash, securities, and other investments, minus any liabilities such as expenses or debts. By dividing this total value by the number of shares outstanding, the NAV per share reflects the value that each individual share represents.

NAV per share is typically calculated at the end of each trading day or at regular intervals determined by the fund’s management. Investors use NAV per share as a reference point to determine the fair market value of their investment and to track the performance of the fund over time. It is important to note that NAV per share can fluctuate based on changes in the value of the fund’s underlying assets and liabilities.

Let’s say the fund has the following assets and liabilities:

Total value of assets (stocks, bonds, cash, etc.): 10’000’000

Total value of liabilities (expenses, debts, etc.): 1’000’000

Number of shares outstanding: 500’000

To calculate the NAV per share, you would follow these steps:

  1. Subtract the total liabilities from the total assets to determine the net asset value (NAV) of the fund: NAV = Total assets – Total liabilities = 10’000’000 – 1’000’000 = 9,000,000

  2. Divide the NAV by the number of shares outstanding to find the NAV per share: NAV per share = NAV / Number of shares outstanding = 9’000’000 / 500’000 = 18

What Now?

Overall, understanding the structure and mechanics of OEICs and SICAVs is an important step for those looking to diversify their portfolios.

So, what now? Patterson Mills specialise in navigating the complexities of investment funds like OEICs and SICAVs. 

With our expertise and experience, we can help you make the investment choices that give you the best possible chance of success. Don’t wait any longer to optimise your investment strategy – get in touch with us and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting.

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.

Categories
Pensions

Understanding Your Retirement Requirements

Understanding Your Retirement Requirements

“Today people have to be self-reliant if they want a secure retirement income” ― Scott Cook

4 min read

Pension Retirement Requirements

Understanding Your Retirement Requirements

“Today people have to be self-reliant if they want a secure retirement income” ― Scott Cook

4 min read

Retirement planning is a crucial aspect of your financial management, yet it often has many misconceptions and unecessary complexities that can hinder people’s progress in ensuring a they can enjoy a comfortable and worry-free retirement.

Today, we are going to take a look at the intricacies of pension planning, aiming to provide clarity and understanding as to what your own retirement requirements may be.

It’s not just about saving money or having the largest pension fund you can get; it’s about envisioning and actively working towards the kind of retirement lifestyle you desire.

This may well include accruing the largest pension fund you are able, though it also requires making strategic decisions about your finances, health, living arrangements, and leisure activities.

With a comprehensive review of these factors, Patterson Mills are able to formulate a retirement plan that not only sustains you financially, but also supports your overall wellbeing and happiness in your golden years.

Evaluating Your Current Financial Situation

The first step in this process is to assess your current financial position. 

This involves evaluating your income, expenses, savings, investments, and any existing pension provisions you may have. Understanding this information allows you to set realistic retirement goals and devise a tailored pension strategy.

You might also spot any areas for improvement or potential obstacles to achieving your retirement goals that you did not even know were there! In essence, gaining clarity on your financial position can help you make informed decisions and take proactive steps to secure your financial future.

Setting Retirement Goals

Setting clear and achievable retirement goals is a great idea when it comes to effective pension planning.

Consider factors such as your desired retirement age, lifestyle aspirations, healthcare needs, and potential legacy plans.

Moreover, it’s crucial to factor in inflation and a potential rise in the cost of living when setting retirement goals. Whilst it may be challenging to estimate future expenses, incorporating inflation figures (or at least, estimated / average inflation figures) into your calculations ensures that your retirement savings will adequately cover your lifestyle needs and expenses over time. 

Additonally, be realistic about your retirement goals! There is no point in setting yourself a goal that might be near-impossible to achieve as it may needlessly negatively impact your mindset when approaching retirement planning.

Periodically reassessing your retirement goals and adjusting your pension plan accordingly is also necessary as your circumstances evolve. Life events such as marriage, parenthood, career changes, or unexpected expenses may necessitate modifications to your retirement strategy and ultimate retirement goals.

Pension Contribution Strategies

Once you’ve evaluated your current financial situation and defined your retirement goals, it’s time to implement a pension contribution strategy (i.e. putting some savings aside!).

This involves determining how much you need to save regularly to achieve your desired retirement income. Explore options such as employer-matched contributions, voluntary contributions, and tax-efficient pension schemes to maximise your savings potential.

You could also automate your pension contributions to ensure consistency and discipline in your saving habits. Setting up automatic transfers from your salary or bank account to your pension fund can streamline the saving process and prevent procrastination or impulsive spending.

As you progress in your career or experience changes in your financial situation, you could also consider increasing your pension contributions accordingly.

Aiming to contribute a percentage of your income, for example around 10% or more, towards your pension fund can help you stay on track towards your retirement goals. When adopting a proactive approach to pension contributions and regularly reassessing your saving strategy, you can enhance the growth of your retirement nest egg and ensure a comfortable financial future.

Who Do You Talk To?

Now you understand the very basics of how you can implement a solid retirement planning strategy and navigate the complexities with ease. However, this article is just scratching the surface.

It is far easier said than done when formulating and implementing such plans, but fear not! Patterson Mills are your specialists in all things retirement planning and we are here to guide you through every step of the process.

From assessing your financial situation to designing a tailored pension strategy, we will ensure that you are able to make informed decisions and have the best possible chance of achieving your retirement goals. 

Don’t let uncertainty hold you back from planning for your future — get in touch with us and book your initial, no-cost and no-obligation meeting. Take control of your retirement journey, today!

Send us an e-mail to contactus@pattersonmills.ch or call us direct at +41 21 801 36 84 and we shall be pleased to assist you.

Please note that all content within this article has been prepared for information purposes only. This article does not constitute financial, legal or tax advice. Always ensure you speak to a regulated Financial Adviser before making any financial decisions.