Are Premium Bonds as good as they used to be?

I was tidying my documents the other day (yes, I do eat my own cooking 🙂 ) and came across an old Premium Bond certificate that I received as a gift around the time that I was born.

With fingers firmly crossed I checked the website to see if I was a lucky winner, and…… I wasn’t.

Which means that in the past 46 years that I have held them, I have won absolutely nothing in  Premium Bond prizes.

This inspired me to look more deeply into the merits of Premium Bonds as an investment.

Continue reading “Are Premium Bonds as good as they used to be?”

Lesson from London Capital & Finance: risk and return are always related

I’ve been reading a lot about London Capital & Finance (LC&F) recently.

In case you haven’t seen the story, they are a UK investment firm that went into administration a few weeks ago. ​​​​​

They had 11,605 investors who had invested GBP236 million and who now stand to lose a significant part of their money (administrators think they could get as little as 20% of their savings back). Many of these investors were simply looking for a home for an inheritance or the tax free lump sum from their pension. Continue reading “Lesson from London Capital & Finance: risk and return are always related”

The danger of keeping all of your eggs (or beans) in the same basket

Shares in baked bean purveyor Kraft Heinz fell 27% in a day last week as markets reacted to an update in which the company took a USD15 billion write-down in the value of their assets.

They also disclosed that they were being investigated by the US Securities and Exchange Commission due to their accounting policies.

This is quite a fall from grace; it was only few months ago that Kraft Heinz were seriously looking to acquire Unilever.

You can read more about the background to the story here.

However, the key takeaway here is that holding a large percentage of your portfolio in the shares of a single company is risky because things like this can and do happen.

The risk is doubly so, when the shares in question are those of your employer because now you are relying on said company for your financial future as well as your monthly paycheck.

Financial planning update – November 2018

Stock market jitters continue

The stock market jitters that began in October have continued throughout this month.

US markets are now down 8-9% over the last two months, while European markets have lost 6-7% over the same time period and in the UK, the FTSE has dropped by a similar amount. Continue reading “Financial planning update – November 2018”

October market jitters

October has seen a sharp fall across global stock markets; US markets are down around 7% and European markets have lost 5.5%. Meanwhile, in the UK, the FTSE100 has dropped 5.25%.

On the plus side, bond markets have been stable, strengthening slightly over the month. However, in general, this has not been enough to offset the fall in stocks. Continue reading “October market jitters”