As Father’s Day approaches, the internet will be alive with inspirational quotes about the joys of parenthood. Standing out from the crowd is Goon Show legend Spike Milligan’s tongue-in-cheek tribute to his dad: “My Father had a profound influence on me. He was a lunatic.”
Spike was only joking of course, but the inspirational comic was making a comment about the impact – both positive and negative – our parents have on us, and our behavior.
In fact, our parents can have an impact on all aspects of our lives, including shaping our attitudes toward spending and saving. Researchers estimate that our attitude to money is set by the time we are 7 years old.
During his life Spike witnessed a transformation in the way people consider retirement. When he was born in 1918, the state pension had only been around for 10 years after the Old Age Pensions Act was introduced in 1908. Over the course of his life, pensions grew in popularity and importance, becoming what they are today – an essential part of our personal financial plans.
The reason is, as those who cashed their cheques for the first pension probably realised, the State pension is a great help, but it’s hardly likely to provide the kind of comfortable retirement you expect.
In the early years, employers were responsible for pensions, offering workers the chance to contribute to pension plans and in many cases making generous contributions themselves.
In more recent years, as final salary pensions have fallen out of fashion and the industry has experienced the crises of the 80s, the responsibility for retirement planning has shifted for the majority of people, putting the individual in greater control.
This can be seen in the rise of self-directed investments like SIPPs and the new lifetime ISA. Even those involved with workplace pensions are also having to take an interest in their own retirement, selecting investment options and making decisions on their attitude to risk.
The Baby-Boomer generation is rightfully proud of their ability to take control of their own lives, but when it comes to investing, this commitment to DIY isn’t always successful. But it’s only now that we can see the impact of amateur investing.
In a new report called Mind the Gap: why are UK investors missing out on returns? Cambridge PhD candidate Charikleia Kaffe takes a look at the damage DIY investors are doing to their retirement savings.
The report highlights two issues that are losing savers money. The first is the fact that investors are paying high management costs which can reduce returns by up to 0.75%. The second, and more costly mistake made by the amateur, is in chasing returns – losing a whopping 1.35% every year by moving between funds and selling at the wrong time.
The problem is that investors often ignore market fundamentals, chasing returns from stellar fund managers, or responding impatiently to fluctuations in the market.
The report illustrates how, over ten years, the average investor could be losing out on up to 35% in potential gains when compared to investing with a simple buy-and-hold strategy.
If there’s one thing that can typify most men of any age it’s their inability to ask for help, and the world of finance is no different. In the past, independent financial advice was the preserve of those with significant amounts of money. But those investors who have dutifully saved over many years could be sitting on an investment pile that would make a few of us raise our eyebrows.
Careful and intelligent investing can help you achieve the retirement you want. How you chose to spend it is up to you, but Spike has a few words of advice: “Money can’t buy you friends, but you get a better class of enemy.”
You don’t need millions, or even hundreds of thousands. Independent and informed investment advice is now available to everyone to help you get the best from your savings and investments. Call Flying Colours today to speak to one of our experts, on 0333 241 9900.