Opinion

Wise words from the Plain English Finance team and their friends

Are you Riding the Tiger’s Tail?

Regular readers of these articles will be aware of an ongoing and oft-repeated theme of mine: Namely that, to a certain degree at least, you can run your financial affairs so that you shouldn’t need to worry overly about stock market crashes (or crashes in financial markets more generally). As I’ve said on more than […]

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ZIRP, inflation, QE and other animals…

In my last article, I referred to two reasons for the concerted equity market strength of recent years: First, the impact of certain very real structural changes on companies – primarily technological development and related globalisation. Secondly, the impact of what has been going on in the bond market – that is to say – […]

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S&P 3000?

Are stock markets over valued or is there more upside from here? In my last email I highlighted the fact that lots of market commentators are suggesting that stock markets are heavily over valued at the moment and it might be time to get out and move your investments into something more defensive. As I […]

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Sell in may and go away – continued…

In my most recent article, I looked at the classic stock market idea of “Sell in May”.  By the end of the article, I suggested that regular monthly investment was likely a better overall approach than trying to time the market by doing things like selling in May to buy back in September each year. […]

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Sell in May and go away?

Today I wanted to write about a quote that is well known in the investment community: Sell in May and go away, don’t come back till St. Leger’s Day Investopedia tells me that “This phrase refers to the custom of aristocrats, merchants and bankers who liked to leave the city of London and go to […]

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How to buy Gold – Part II

In my last article, we kicked off the subject of how you might go about investing in precious metals by looking at: 1. Buying physical bullion and taking delivery – i.e. hiding gold and / or silver coins or bars in your own home (ideally doing this should involve a safe or, at the very […]

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How to buy gold – Part I

In my last post I highlighted how gold has returned no less than 12.3% per annum since 2002 (in sterling terms). Today I thought I might spend a little time discussing various different ways you can invest in gold (and silver) since many people have been in touch to ask about this very topic recently. […]

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Which investment has averaged 12.3% a year for sixteen years?

The answer may surprise you. A. Gold I have had a reasonable number of questions of late about precious metals and, in particular, how to go about buying them if so inclined, so thought it might be instructive to write an update on the issue. There seem to be few subjects in money and investment […]

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Keeping It Simple, Part 6 – Funds to “Own The World”

PLEASE NOTE: The first half of this post, below, has been updated in January 2017 as a response to a large number of people who have got in touch to ask questions on the below and, more generally, about our products and services. Many people have asked if I “still believe in the funds” below – seeing […]

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Financial Literacy Trumps Trump

Last month I wrote a series of three related articles that I hope you had a chance to check out. The first looked at whether we are heading for a massive crash. The second looked at two reasons we may not be headed for a crash after all and the third, and most important piece, […]

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Why crashes don’t matter

Over my last two articles I have looked at whether or not I think a massive correction is coming in stock markets (and, by extension, other financial and property markets more generally). I signed off the most recent one by saying that I basically don’t care what happens to stock markets. To repeat: I believe […]

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Reasons we might not be heading for a crash…

Last week I wrote about the many reasons we may well be headed for a big stock market crash. At the end I wrote: “Next time I will … talk about how you might consider investing given what is going on.” So here are some follow up thoughts: The first thing I will say is… […]

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Are we heading for a massive crash?

There has been an increasing amount written in the press of late about a seemingly inevitable ‘massive crash’ in markets. During the course of any given week, I read a good number of articles explaining why “the end is nigh”, usually with a compelling sounding catalyst as to why this is going to happen any […]

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Is Cash King?

The week before last I highlighted four beliefs many people hold when it comes to finance which I suggested simply weren’t true. These were: “You can’t go wrong with bricks and mortar.” “Rent is throwing money away.” “Cash is king.” “The stock market is risky.” I explained my stance on the first two of these […]

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You can’t go wrong with bricks and mortar?

The extent to which we human beings have great big blind spots never ceases to amaze me. Some of these are fundamentally amusing (80% of men rate themselves as ‘above average’ drivers for example) but many such blind spots are actually properly harmful to our health and happiness. As Mark Twain allegedly said: “It ain’t […]

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35.75% regardless of Brexit

Three weeks ago I wrote about why we should probably all calm down about the whole Brexit situation (I would have written again sooner but there has been the small matter of getting married and snatching a one-week ‘mini-moon’ since my last email). Aside from including various evidence in that piece that the UK is […]

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Nothing to fear but fear itself?

My fiancée might disagree but I think I’m generally a fairly even tempered kind of individual. These days it takes a fair bit to get me worked up or make me depressed. That said, negative emotions like fear, depression and rampant pessimism are horribly infectious (just ask Darth Vader), and I confess that I have […]

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You get what you focus on – Nonsense or Neuroscience?

Have you ever had that experience where you finally decide on the make and model of car you intend to buy and suddenly, as if by magic you see those particular cars absolutely everywhere?  You’ve never really noticed them before but now they are everywhere you look. Obviously, there is still the same statistical incidence […]

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Pensions vs Brexit

To date, I have been reluctant to wade into the Brexit debate for one primary reason: I believe it is simply too hard to predict with any degree of certainty what the real ramifications of either staying or leaving are for this country. I have a few ‘gut feels’ about it and some ‘soft’ thoughts […]

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8 Best Finance Books of All Time

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Free money in the 2016 budget

I will be brief as I have something for you to  listen to – an interview I did on ShareRadio last week with the excellent Simon Rose. In about 25 minutes we covered a variety of topics, kicking off with my reaction to some of the changes announced in the budget (including free money for […]

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18.51% from “owning the world”

I was prompted to write something today following a lovely email I had recently from a longstanding PEF client and friend. Said email hit my inbox with the title: “18.51%!!! 😉 ”. Attached to the email was a screenshot of their Hargreaves Lansdown account showing that their pension fund (SIPP) is up 18.51% since they […]

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Are you wearing your “glass half full” glasses today?

I’ve written in the past about how we humans are hard-wired to be negative. Historically, this kept us alive. In a world of scarce resources and where other human beings were more likely to inflict physical harm on you than not, it paid to expect the worse. It is for this reason that the vast […]

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What to do with £33m

As you have no doubt seen or read by now, last week David and Carol Martin from the Scottish borders were lucky enough to win £33m on the national lottery… There has never been a better time in history to win £33m. Financial products and services are the best they’ve ever been, particularly in the […]

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Are you set yet?

Today I would like to wish you a belated Happy New Year and talk about one resolution that you can easily keep this year – getting “set” financially. By this time in January, you have no doubt been bombarded with the usual blizzard of marketing and advertorial about everything from the sales in your local […]

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Stock markets crash – Why you shouldn’t care…

I’m just back in the office this week after taking my first two-week holiday since October 2011. Perhaps slightly foolishly, Rachel and I drove just over 2,300 miles around Utah, Arizona and California in the hilariously over-sized Ford Mustang convertible (it would not work well in London, that’s for sure).

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The importance of being geographically diversified

This article 1st appeared in Wealthwatch I finished last month’s article by quoting expert US investor Harry Browne who said about owning a wide cross section of investments: ‘Over broad periods of time, the winning investments add more value to the portfolio than the losing investments take away…’ Award-winning British investor, Tim Price, who has […]

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Some investing home truths

First – I wanted to look at something that I know seems illogical to many people – what is sometimes called “the break-even fallacy”. If you ask someone: “…if you lose 50% on an investment, how much would it then have to rise by to get back to where it started?”.

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It is still more important than ever to take control of your finances

This article 1st appeared in Wealthwatch In my piece last month I highlighted the risk of politicians raiding our pension pots. I used the example of Ed Miliband’s plan to use UK pension assets to fund student fees and a jobs program before stressing that I had “no particular party-political axe to grind,” saying for […]

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Never worry about ISA deadlines again

For lots of people this is something of an annual headache. For some – it is a yearly reminder that you don’t have an ISA and you are clearly missing out financially as a result.

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Automation is key to financial success

This article 1st appeared in Wealthwatch Last month we looked at the accounts you might want to open in order to maximise your chance of making real forward progress with your finances. As a quick recap: We pointed out that you will want to have good quality ISA accounts and ensure your pension is working […]

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Think big into the New Year

This article 1st appeared in Wealthwatch Happy New Year and welcome to the inaugural “Craig’s Column”. I’m delighted that I will be a regular contributor to Wealthwatch going forwards as Graham Rowan and I continue to work more closely together. Each month I will aim to cover a sufficiently interesting or topical aspect of personal […]

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Why it has never been more important to learn about investment

Without wanting to sound excessively dramatic, I am deadly serious when I say that if you do not have a solid grasp of what is happening in the world at the moment, you are very likely to be in the process of becoming poorer and this process is set to accelerate.

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10 Questions to ask anyone who wants to give you financial advice

I have already written in my book and on this site about why you have an advantage running your own money. Nevertheless, if you are busy you may still want to use the services of a financial adviser.  If you are considering getting financial advice from someone then by all means arrange a meeting.  

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