Black Swan Capital: Intelligent financial planning for expats in Germany
In the sphere of the psychology of investing, it is sometimes said that financial success is more about behaviour than intelligence. This is a provocative statement and raises a number of questions.
When it comes to investing, is success the attainment of an objective, or is it about maximising your financial worth? We need to define what behaviours lead to success, and if they are followed, we can offer the retort that perhaps it is not that behaviour beats intelligence, but that a certain kind of behaviour is intelligence.
Black Swan Capital excels in intelligent financial planning.
Why are you investing?
When you start considering these questions, you may want to delve more deeply into the fundamental question of why you invest. There are many reasons why people want to invest. It may be to attain a quantified goal, or more vaguely to achieve a concept of financial freedom, or it may be a desire to redress an earlier life experience that has shaped your perspective on, and relationship with, money.
Whenever you are thinking about investing, pensions, or your goals for the year ahead, it is good to consider the why. This can help you to distil the essence of what is most important to you. This becomes your objective, your target.
Black Swan Capital: Investing with an objective
Understanding the why is what drives the investment philosophy at Black Swan Capital. They are not interested in chasing the next hot thing, or the loudest supposed guru. In fact, they often advocate moving against the crowd.
More to the point, they follow the principle of being objectives-based. This means being able to articulate the purpose of why you are investing. A good financial plan interrogates why you want to invest, what you want to achieve and when:
- What the end goal looks like - for example how much income you want to generate, or a wealth accrual target; and
- In what time period - when do you want to get there?
Spend time thinking about your why. This is connected to the opening comments about intelligence and behaviours, because, by understanding your goal, you can remain focused on that target, be less impacted by short-term market noise, and instead concentrate on what is most important: Good behaviours that are intelligent.
Resilient investments to recognise and manage risk
This is a neat segue into the other important question: how. This is not necessarily how you invest in terms of asset classes, or different investment strategies such as active, growth, value, passive, and so on. These are just a means to an end to get you to your why. The how is more profound.
How you invest, and how Black Swan Capital advises its clients to manage their money, goes beyond the investment portfolio. It incorporates all aspects of your financial life and should aim to embed what author Nassim Nicholas Taleb calls “anti-fragility”. Another word for this is “resilience”.
Taleb was the author of The Black Swan, an economic analysis that shapes Black Swan Capital’s approach to financial planning - the clue is in the name!
When we talk about resilience or anti-fragility, we are really thinking about contingencies for the unexpected, or managing risk.
How to manage your financial life, including your investments, requires an understanding of risk. We cannot remove risk entirely, and it should not be the objective. After all, when it comes to investment markets, it is often true that a higher potential risk can lead to higher returns over time. It is how you manage risk that matters.
Black Swan Capital’s “how”
The Black Swan Capital’s “how” - how they apply this to their clients - is to recognise that in the future there will likely be unexpected events; we don’t know what, when or the magnitude - that is their nature - but they will likely occur, and probably at a time we least want them to.
Therefore, we need to build resilience into financial plans. This may be ensuring you have cash reserves should you not be able to generate income for a period of time. It can include prudent and well-thought-out cash flow management, or diversification in how you manage your money.
It can also include building resilience into targets. You may plan to retire at 65, but what if you are forced to retire at 60? Having contingencies built in for risks can give you the security that is core to a good plan. That, by the definition above, is good, intelligent behaviour.
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Think about what is most important for you in your life - the why you invest. And then to look at the how, to consider how plans are constructed, implemented, managed over time and how effective they are at navigating the unexpected.