Month: July 2020

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Changing landscape for our investments

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Last weekend, I had the opportunity of driving down to Cape Town to pack up, after acknowledging that my daughter was not going to be returning to University this year. Under normal circumstances, a three thousand km round road trip would hold no appeal whatsoever, especially in three days, but following being in lockdown for this extended period, the thought of getting out was quite attractive. Watching the sunrise and sunset three days in a row was spectacular, ranging from the Berg to the Karoo, Cape Town and then Gauteng. We even caught the tail end of the snow on the Hex River mountains, about an hour outside Cape Town. We are spoilt with a beautiful country, something that is so easy to forget as we are all confined to our homes and the somewhat negative daily news.

This past week we saw interest rates being dropped even further, now down 3% this past year, bringing them to the lowest rate in five decades. Quite favourable to anybody who has debt, as this means that each household will have more disposable income. This low-interest rate puts pressure on those people who are living off savings, which is the majority of our clients. However, it’s important to note that inflation is 2.1%, and it may be difficult to comprehend increasing your income by only 2.1% for the next 12 months. We will discuss this with you in your review meetings. Most of our clients are in investment strategies targeting 3 to 5% above inflation. This now seems like a meagre goal, when only six months ago you could achieve a 7% return in cash. For possibly the first time in most of our lives, we find ourselves in a situation to which most people living in first-world economies are well accustomed—both a low inflationary and interest rate environment. We have often shared that the risk of investing offshore is that the returns are low, relative to South African inflation. This differential has now reduced significantly creating an opportunity to expose your assets to a more globally diversified investment portfolio.

Another argument for increasing offshore exposure is the substantial country risk that comes with South Africa. Many economists have mentioned that we were in a crisis before Covid-19, which means we are in a very desperate position now. Our various investment consultants, who manage the asset allocation of the majority of our portfolios at Chartered, are gradually moving away, where possible, from Reg 28. Reg 28 is a piece of legislation that determines how retirement funds must be invested in SA. There are two significant benefits to not following the Reg 28 guidelines. The first being that you can invest more than 30% of your investment offshore, and the second that your funds fall outside the ambit of the much spoken about proposed prescribed assets guidelines. We will be sending out a more detailed communication later this week on the increased offshore exposure.

Continue to look after yourselves during these very uncertain times. Your health is one of your greatest assets. We are here for you and happy to assist wherever we can.

Warm regards
John

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It’s not the birds and the bees, but talking about death is just as important

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Just the thought of one’s mortality can bring out strong emotions and feelings of anxiety. We all know death is inevitable, but dealing with it doesn’t make it less difficult. Even more challenging is talking about death with our loved ones. The people who will be left behind to deal with loss and grief.

It can be easier to park these hard emotional conversations, and instead focus on the money side of death. Who gets what and how. Most of us know of families that have had their relationships changed forever because of the unfairness some have felt with inheritance. However, the unfairness usually stems from not having the hard conversations before death, not from the flow of money. I know from first-hand experience that this can have far-reaching adverse effects on the people, and their relationships, that you leave behind.

I encourage you to start having conversations around death with your loved ones when you next feel comfortable to do so. Ask them if they have thought about your passing, and what they felt when they did. Speak to their emotions first, and acknowledge that it is an uncomfortable, difficult conversation. Try and avoid the financial aspect of death until you have explored the emotional side. When you do bring in money, the conversations will be more valuable and comforting for all those involved.

As we like to say at Chartered Wealth, our loved ones would give up all the money they intend leaving behind just to spend one extra day with us.

Four tips to remember when it comes to your Will

  1. Make sure you and spouse each have your own original Will. Joint Wills can cause havoc as the originals are routinely misplaced by the Master’s office
  2. Make sure your original Will is signed, witnessed and dated correctly. It is also important that none of your witnesses are beneficiaries of your Will.
  3. Think carefully about who you want to act as your executor. The burden on your family is tremendous, and often does not come with the savings benefits one imagines.
  4. If you have offshore assets, make sure these are referred to in the appropriate way. Fixed assets in many countries carry additional burdens and should be discussed with professionals.

If you need help with having these conversations with your loved ones, Chartered Wealth has a number of Retiremeant™ Specialists, who are experienced in facilitating these types of discussions.
In terms of your Will drafting, Chartered Wealth are fortunate to have the services of Chartered Legacy and Trust. Kerryn Franck, and her team of specialist attorneys, understand that drafting the right Will takes time, in order to ensure that every client feels confident that their intentions have been communicated correctly through their Will.

If you would like to discuss any aspects of your will, please do so by contacting us on info@charteredwealth.co.za

Podcast

Kim Potgieter and Tom Brukman tackle the difficult topic about talking about death with our loved ones, as well as tips to remember when drafting your Will.

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COVID-19 Market Crash – Are we out of the woods?

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The year 2020 will undoubtedly go down in the history books for several reasons. By now, there are a few catchphrases that have become part and parcel of our everyday lives. These include: COVID-19, flattening the curve, quantitative easing, social distancing, herd immunity, second-wave, new normal, “you’re on mute”, “can you see my screen” and our personal favourite, “in these unprecedented times.”

In all seriousness though, these really are unprecedented times. In late December, rumblings of a virus in China began. Most of us didn’t give it a second thought, and the general expectation was that it would be contained, and have little or no impact on us. However, by the middle of February, COVID-19 had spread like wildfire across the globe causing fear and panic amongst both health professionals and financial markets. Leading into March, we saw one of the sharpest equity downturns in the last 100 years, as countries closed their borders and shut down their economies. For the first time, this market crash affected almost all asset classes. Oil futures contracts went negative for the first time in history. The Rand reached an all-time high of R19 to the dollar. Record after record was being broken, almost daily.

In the midst of this all, racial tensions in the US flared when George Floyd was brutally murdered at the hands of a white policeman. A social movement known as “Black Lives Matter” gripped the world as protestors took to the streets to voice their racial concerns and feelings.

What was widely expected to be a “U-shaped” (i.e. slow) market recovery has, in fact, turned out to be a “V-shaped” (i.e. fast) recovery. In the second quarter of 2020 markets rallied as investors weighed up the effect of the virus on global economies, versus the sheer weight and power of the various central bank’s stimulus packages. More than 8 trillion dollars were pumped into global financial markets in three short months. Today, markets around the world are almost back to levels that seen in January.

So, are we out of the woods?

While we have no crystal ball, the reality is that the world has not returned to normal, and both counties and companies still need to go through this fundamental shift of figuring out what this “new normal” entails. Some may survive, and some may fail. While China may beat us all to shifting back to positive growth (GDP) numbers, we suspect that a vaccine is the only route to finding our new form of whatever “normality” is. While there is a major race and competition going on in finding this vaccine, it is only likely to be ready next year sometime. Given all of this, it is hard to believe that we are out the woods.

Does that stop us from investing? No. There are still growth opportunities out there, and it simply means that we invest with caution, and there are various strategies to do so. This is something that you need to seek professional advice on.

So, yes, a record-breaking 2020 so far, and the year has certainly not turned out how we expected, in more ways than one. While we are on the road to recovery in terms of markets, and a vaccine seems to be in our reach, economies will take some time to fully recover and stabilise. The stimulus packages have been a saving grace to economies and markets; thus, for now, we bank the recent gains and wait to see what lies ahead.

Podcast

Kim Potgieter, Stephanie Bakhuis and Robbie Goldsworthy discuss the market crash as a result of COVID-19, and tackle all the important question – are we out of the woods yet?

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Blocking out noise to avoid emotional burnout

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There is no doubt that at challenging times such as these, we tend to let our emotions drive us, especially when it comes to our investments. Over the past four months, the noise in the media, about where you should be investing during these tough times, and how to secure your future wealth, has been overwhelming! Everyone is using social media as their soapbox to express their ‘expert’ opinion, which, if you are not careful, can send you spiralling out of control, cause you sleepless nights and bring on unnecessary panic.   

A top media personality has recently commented on costs of investment portfolios and the economical nature of index funds. Index funds have their place, and our independent investment consultants use index funds to some extent, thereby providing you with the best of both worlds. However, before your emotions start to run away with you, it is so important to remember that our independent investment consultants offer you, as Chartered Wealth clients, institutional pricing, meaning that fees overall are more economical when compared to you trying to manage your investments directly. 

Other topics that have come up include the exposure to local bonds and rand hedges within your investments. If you look closely, you will see that your investment strategies already expose you to local bonds, and include rand hedges, in the form of dual-listed shares on the JSE and offshore exposure.

So what do you do in the face of all this ‘noise’?

My father taught me one of the greatest lessons in life: never make a life-changing decision when you are emotional. When you are tempted to act from a place of fear, panic, anger or grief, rather let those emotions subside before making any decisions, because it is during these times that your rational mind takes a backseat. When faced with life’s challenges, we as human beings, undoubtedly become emotional.  I try to take a step back at these times and ask myself what is driving this emotion, this panic, grief, fear and anger? I then decide to rather face the cause head-on as opposed to letting it take over and drive my decision making.

This lesson rings true when it comes to your investments and the decisions you make, especially in turbulent times like these. The best thing you can do is to take a step back, acknowledge how you are feeling and get your emotions in check. Go back to your RetiremeantTM Plan, and focus on your investment strategy and all that goes into building that strategy. You will soon see that your investment strategy incorporates all available asset classes that are mentioned in the media, but more importantly, in the proportions that are right for you, specifically in RetiremeantTM.

Your investment strategy is being actively managed by our independent investment consultants who are professionals in the industry with years of experience. Be rest assured that they are working hard in the background, to make sure your investments strategy is achievable.   

Here are a few tips to help you weather these emotional storms:

  • Realise that the media will print, air and post anything to gather followers, viewership and ratings – there is so much fake news out there, learn to take it with a pinch of salt.
  • Focus on the positives, and on the things that are within your control.
  • Go back to your RetiremeantTM Plan, and have a look at your investment strategy and what it already exposes you to, this should answer a lot of the emotional questions that you may have.
  • Remember that your time invested in the market counts for more than trying to time when to invest in the market.

Podcast

Kim Potgieter and Maryanne Leicher discuss all the financial advice being given on social media during this pandemic, and share tips on how to manage this emotional economic storm.

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