Self Defence for Investors
I’m so old that when I started out in the savings industry back in the summer of 1969, the Dead Sea just had a bit of a temperature and a sore throat, Long John Silver still had two legs and an egg on his shoulder, and people thought that With Profit policies produced profits.
Yet oldies like me look back over the years with rose tinted memories, until we’re reminded that it wasn’t a bowl of cherries back then either.
From 1969, for the best part of the next 25 years and more, we suffered the slings and arrows of double-digit inflation and high taxes, making us feel like our mortgage rates were linked to bungee straps.
And did I forget to mention the umpteen financial crises lurking around the odd corner?
Before 1986 there wasn’t any investor protection. Unscrupulous conmen could advertise ‘must-have investment plans’ that, unless your head buttoned up the back, should’ve been filed away under ‘ten-foot bargepole required’.
Those scams were about as helpful as an ACME package addressed to Wile E. Coyote (Meep-Meep. Boom!) And from memory most of the attraction to them boiled down to high ‘guaranteed income’ returns that were always way, way higher than was available from mainstream banks and building societies.
As my old grannie McKay used to say: “If it sounds too good to be true, it usually is.” And here we are today, and still folks seem to be falling for the same tricks.
But it’s much worse nowadays thanks to social media and the sophistication of digitally enhanced conmen. I read only the other day that over £30 million had been stolen recently from investors, either through pension scams or ‘guaranteed income’ plans that vanish before your eyes.
They say that experience is a wonderful thing. It enables you to recognize a mistake when you make it again. But surely it’s better not to make the mistake in the first place?
So, here’s some thoughts for you to consider for effective self-defence against the nasty conmen out there:
- If somebody phones you out the blue to offer advice on pensions or income plans you should probably either just put the phone down, or if it makes you feel better, tell them to go forth and multiply. I’ve got it down to only two words. They certainly work for me!
- If you see an advert anywhere that ‘Guarantees’ an income any higher than a smidgeon above the best rate you’re offered by major institutions (or National Savings) - and it incorporates RISK warnings that you can only read with the assistance of an electron microscope – you may want to give it a wide berth. You’ll probably be glad you did because your income might have vanished, though not nearly as fast as your original investment.
- And if, with the help of that microscope, you spot the words ‘Guaranteed’ or ‘Unregulated’ anywhere, think about running for the hills. It seems to me the large print giveth and the small print taketh away.
Oh, and keep that ten-foot bargepole handy.
They live by the fundamental principles of propaganda, which include ignoring all moral limits whenever they deem it useful and appealing to the extreme emotions of FEAR and GREED.
Don’t fall for their tricks.
Instead, why not try talking with registered Independent Financial Advisors who’ve been around for a while.
And if you liked what you read here and fancy a chat about it give us a call.