Irish Financial Review

10 money tips for a modern St. Patrick

While tomorrow is the big day where we celebrate the life of St. Patrick, we thought we might take a slightly different approach and consider the modern needs of St. Patrick from a financial perspective.

Financial consideration for St. Patrick in a modern context

  1. Kidnap insurance – YES! Having been snatched from his home in Wales, this is something his parents would be strongly advised to take out.
  2. Foreign exchange – Yes! Travel to and from Wales would have meant that St. Patrick would have been at risk of hidden commission and other fees including poor exchange rates. He would be well advised to shop around and consider the net value of the exchange.
  3. Travel insurance – Yes! This would have been a must as he travelled the length and breadth of Ireland. With poor road conditions, St. Patrick would have been subject to a lot of chopping and changing of his very busy schedule.
  4. Health insurance – Yes! Being so busy corralling and banishing snakes from these shores, St. Patrick would be well advised to take out adequate health insurance to treat those many snake bites he would have undoubtedly suffered.
  5. Trademark protection – Yes! Major money opportunity lost here. St. Patrick would have been well advised to protect his famous brand identity; the shamrock. It has since become synonymous all things Irish, this is a lost opportunity for a very generous royalty income in retirement.
  6. Life protection – No! As a single man with few possessions and constantly on the road, Life protection would have probably been an unnecessary expense.
  7. Will – Yes! He would be advised to have one. Even if all he owned were a few worldly possessions, the fact he was so well-known across Ireland, he might have been keen to avoid family feuds over who inherited his staff and other property.
  8. Income protection – No! He probably would not have qualified for it as he probably had sporadic income at best.
  9. Serious Illness protection – No! St. Patrick probably would not have qualified for it either.
  10. Savings – Yes! Highly recommended at all times and St. Patrick would have been advised to do the same, especially as a fall-back option for when he was not on the road.

So, for all out there, have a very happy St. Patrick’s Day.

Without Brexit, experts are neither right or wrong

By Frank Conway

Since the UK vote last summer to leave the EU, a lot of experts have been busy bashing other experts about the impact Brexit would have on the UK economy.

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Experts will make all the difference in upcoming Brexit negotiations

But all this expert talk of expert opinion being wrong has one major flaw; Brexit hasn’t happened yet.

Just yesterday, I listened to a UK-based fund manager reference the ‘experts getting it so wrong’. His point wasn’t so much the experts but he was clearly influenced by a lot of the narrative in recent months that has taken to bashing the experts.

Certainly in some cases, the experts have gotten things wrong. The US election was one. But that was as much a failure of self-referencing criteria by those who sought a much different outcome and chose to ignore some fairly obvious warning signs.

The actual Brexit decision was another. The so-called experts got it wrong in a major way.

But when it comes to the actual economic impact of the UK exiting the common market entirely, since it has not actually taken place yet, there is nothing to analyse. To say that Brexit has had little impact on the UK economy, the question is how could it have one.

For a start, the UK is still a fully fledged member of the European Union. UK companies trade across the EU every single day without the cost of trade barriers or tariffs. And this will continue until such point as the UK leaves.

And while the UK has yet to trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, all eyes will be on the negotiations and conditions of exit of the UK from the EU. Then, markets should get a fairly good idea of what might be in store for trade barriers and tariffs in the future.

In the meantime, the only experts that will really matter are those on either side of the negotiation table…where experts will probably make all the difference.

Steps for a secure financial future

By Frank Conway

For most people today, how they manage their personal finances and have a reasonable amount of money to live on throughout their lives will depend on their personal relationship with money.

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Planning for a secure financial future

If that relationship is good, if they plan well, in most cases they should do well.

But, if they fail to take the necessary steps to accumulate savings and build (and protect) wealth, it is likely that they will encounter major financial difficulties.

There are four main pillars to building personal financial security, those are:

  1. Establish and maintain a rainy day fund for life’s little emergencies. The purpose of which is to minimise the need to borrow money, especially from high cost options that can cost a lot more in interest / charges in the near-term and long-term.
  2. Buy a home. Yes, this is a really important step to building personal wealth but the trick is to not ‘over purchase’. It is essential that when buying a home, the buyer(s) also ensure they leave sufficient wiggle-room to allow for budget flexibility.
  3. Protection – Life and illness protection is essential cover for any family, especially where there are dependants.
  4. Invest for retirement – it may seem to be a long way off but it’s not! The sooner start putting money away for your future needs, the sooner the compounding impact of growth can start. Oh, and look at investing passively and minimising fees at this will increase your compound growth opportunities (ask about the Total Expense Ratio – TER or Ongoing Charges Figure – OCF).

For those eager to lay the foundations of a secure financial future, the time to start is now. So, here are some steps to get you on your way:

  1. Set your personal goals and make a plan
  2. Live within your means
  3. Increase your financial knowledge
  4. Start early
  5. Save & invest on auto-pilot
  6. Learn and adjust
  7. Avoid minimalism
  8. Stick to the plan

Stay committed and good luck!

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