If I can help others to avoid making some of the same mistakes, then doing this blog will be worthwhile. I do not pretend to know everything about investing but I feel I now know enough to achieve a reasonable level of return from my investing that is OK for me.
I am now retired from full time employment. I have more time to spend with family and friends, to write articles for the blog, and to write my books.
This is my personal blog about investing. In the earlier years, I was mainly targeting growth however, in more recent times since retiring, the focus has naturally moved more towards capital preservation and total return. I have held a mixture of individual shares and investment trusts but my strategy has evolved and changed and I am embracing more index funds.
Having worked in financial services a while back, I was surprised to see such intense focus on selling and such little regard for actual advising. This experience resulted in me becoming disillusioned with the financial services industry and after a fairly short career - just 5 years, I decided to leave. Lets say, at that point in time, I did not have the highest of regard for my fellow industry professionals and so called experts. Having said that, I’m sure there are many excellent advisers out there and also I imagine standards will no doubt have improved in recent years especially with the introduction of RDR. So starting the DIY Investor blog should in no way be taken as anti- IFA.
I have chosen to call the site DIY Investor because it reflects most closely my own approach to investing. I, like many other people, enjoy the challenge of working things out for myself - it may take a little longer to do, but the sense of achievement can be very rewarding (when I get it right!).
Many ordinary people, for whatever reason, have reached the conclusion that they cannot find a suitable financial adviser, or they could not trust an adviser or, more commonly, they could not afford the upfront fees charged by financial advisers. Maybe a combination of all three.
I think many more people are capable of, and could benefit from taking more control of their everyday finances and investments. I firmly believe the average person with a desire to learn and apply the learning in a sensible way could go a long way in managing their own investments. Even where they may need to make use of the financial professional, they will at least be better informed and able to quickly establish whether the adviser is any good. The informed investor should crucially be in a much stronger position to more accurately assess when an investment decision is suitable for DIY and when it would be better to consult a suitably qualified professional.
One of the main reasons for setting up this blog was to try, in a small way, to help others to get to grips with investment issues - in short, to help them manage their own portfolio. As I point out in my books, these things have not been taught at school (though things are slowly changing) so its not surprising a lot of people struggle with personal finance.
I am encouraged to hear from visitors to my blog such as Gavin who emailed "I’ve learned more about money in these last 2 weeks than my previous 47 years combined. Many thanks for the inspiration…it was your website and materials I read first".
The internet is a brilliant resource for learning about investing - I suppose the real problem is the sheer volume of information - this mass of information coupled with a lack of confidence in the subject matter can lead many to avoid it altogether or take the easy route and hand everything over to an adviser. I suspect many in the financial services industry benefit from such ignorance and confusion and can make easy money.
One of my aims in writing this blog is to keep things fairly simple and hopefully make investing as accessible as reasonably possible to a wide audience - hopefully some items will be of interest to more experienced investors also. Less experienced investors may find it helpful to read some of the articles listed under the 'basics tab' where I have tried to set out some of my personal basics of investing on the stockmarket.
There are several excellent sites about personal finance - I have listed a few of my favourites in the 'useful sites' tab and also in the side bar. I hope to make a small contribution to the ever expanding wealth of investing knowledge made freely available to the general public via these websites.
Playlist...'Chasing Cars' Snow Patrol, 'Viva la Vida' Coldplay, '500 Miles' Proclaimers, 'Losing My Religion' REM, 'You Really Got Me' Kinks, 'Only the Lonely' Big O, 'Running Up That Hill' Kate Bush, 'Hello' Adele, 'Sweet Caroline' Neil Diamond, 'Over the Rainbow' Eva Cassidy, 'Hey Jude' and 'She Loves You' Beatles, 'American Pie' Don McLean and 'Bohemian Rhapsody' by Queen.
Books... 'Catcher in the Rye' Salinger, 'Grapes of Wrath' Steinbeck, 'Lord of the Flies' Golding, Dickens 'Great Expectations', 'Fear Index' Harris, 'Birdsong' Faulks, 'Calum's Road' Hutchinson.
Films... The Great Escape, Schindler's List, Python's Life of Brian, Mutiny on the Bounty, The Revenant, LA Confidential, Rainman, The Godfather, Shane, Shrek, Wizard of Oz, Sound of Music, The Usual Suspects, Silence of the Lambs, Singin in the Rain, Cabaret, Dirty Harry, Gladiator, Unforgiven, Butch Cassidy..., Dances with Wolves, Goodfellas.
Football Team... Everton (since 1966)
Food... Nothing too fancy or pretentious. A nice curry with naan bread, dahl, samosas, chutneys etc., jacket potatoes with butter and grated cheese, simple roasted veg (parsnips, beetroot, garlic, onions etc.), chip butties with brown sauce!
Finally, this blog is very much intended as a personal record of my investing journey and should not be regarded as financial advice. Please do your own research into any area of investing you may find of interest. If you are unsure about any aspect of investing, you should consult a suitably qualified financial adviser. For full disclaimer see here
For the time being, I am unable to accept guest posts.
To follow on Twitter: diy investor (uk) @ diy_investor_uk