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Where is EZ ISA?
We’re based in Ramsbottom, UK

Mark Sekree Posted:
1 year, 319 days ago (November 12th 2015)

Financial Advice

What’s your attitude to money?

It turns out money is freedom to me (exemplified by that holiday snap), what’s it to you?

Psychology, and particularly the psychology of money, fascinates me. EZ ISA isn’t designed just to make you richer, but to make you better off- more comfortable with your financial situation and more confident that your money is well handled and going to be there when you need it.

Our investment managers, SEI, are totally on board with this and at a recent conference had a Professor of Psychology speak. I would like to share with you one of the exercises I thought was brilliant.

It’s based around a two minute quiz which you can see as and image here or download as a spreadsheet here. It’s well worth taking a quick look at.

Not to ruin the surprise I’m going to put the results, and what they might mean, on a separate page. Just click through when you’ve got your score under each column!

Mark Sekree Posted:
1 year, 356 days ago (October 6th 2015)

Financial Advice

Time, the magic ingredient

I just caught the Futurama episode where Fry (a pizza delivery boy from the year 1999 who falls in a freezer and wakes up a thousand years later, for those who don’t watch) checks out his bank account.

93 cents, collecting 2.5% interest per year is now worth…?

$49,243,435,070!! That is $49 billion. I checked the maths, as it’s almost unbelievable, and sure enough it’s correct.

This really highlights the importance of time and ‘compound growth’ in becoming wealthy- the whole ‘get rich slowly but surely’ philosophy.

Get in touch to find out how.

 

 

 

 

 

Mark Sekree Posted:
2 years, 44 days ago (August 14th 2015)

Financial Advice

The difference between the haves and the have-nots

This video puts very nicely quite how badly distributed wealth is in the US.

It is tragic, and very bad for a society and an economy. It’s partly the result of the US’s much lower/less fair (in my book) Capital Gains and Inheritance Tax rates which allows wealth to be accumulated and passed on largely free of tax.

But the major point comes at 5:14 in- that the wealthiest 1% own half of all US shares, bonds and investment funds- and I’d suggest that that’s exactly why they have quite so much.

Let’s say for very round figures that you get 7% growth on your investments, year in, year out. This is a neat figure because mathematically it means that your money doubles every 10 years (remember the compound growth formula? 1.07^10= about 2).

This ‘exponential growth’ has some crazy implications (Einstein himself called it the 8th wonder of the world)- if your great-great granddad put £1,000 aside for you 100 years ago and it was invested really well and grew at 7%pa (over inflation and charges, with no tax on it for simplicity) how much would it be worth?

£50,000?

£100,000?

£500,000?

Nope, over £860,000. And if you kept that for another 10 years, getting that 7%, because you didn’t spend it all, you’d have twice that- £1.7 million. 10 years later? £3.4 mil. Another 10 years? £6.8 mil, and so on and on.

I believe this is what’s going on in the US (just my hunch, not based on evidence)- many of these top 1%ers’ families probably had some wealth in the past, and given an interest in investment, a long enough time horizon and lenient taxes it has just accumulated and accumulated to the position we see today.

That’s the ‘secret’ to wealth- some money to start with that you don’t spend, some decent growth on it, a long enough time horizon and not paying too much tax. Simple as that.

A major difference between the haves and the have-nots, I believe, is access to excellent quality investments and the motivation to use them.

EZ ISA is here for exactly that reason, to help redress the balance.

Mark Sekree Posted:
4 years, 140 days ago (May 10th 2013)

Adventure ISA, Financial Advice

Risk, Reward and Expectations- Lessons from the Fast Lane

Motorbike speed   Damaged bike

Yesterday I realised a life-long ambition to ride a motorbike on a track, and went straight to the top on the wonderful Brands Hatch Grand Prix circuit near London. In a blatant attempt to get some pretty motorbike pictures on the EZ ISA page I thought I’d write a post about it- but what angle? Of course being biking it has to be risk, but also reward and how expectations are crucial to both.

I had an amazing day, I have never experienced speed, power and control anything like it- that feeling of accelerating hard out of a corner, rising to Ferrari speeds with the engine screaming and nothing but some leather and a visor between me and the world was nothing short of magical. Definite reward then.

But the truth is I stacked it just before lunch. I shot a look at my speedo on the straight (stupid error), missed my braking point and couldn’t quite make it round the corner before running onto the gravel trap. Although my bike got patched up enough to go out in the afternoon and get home I’m sat here now with a sprained ankle, bruised rib and a several hundred pound repair bill to look forward to. It was a risk.

The point here though is about expectations. Am I pissed off? No, not really. I was fully aware of the risks when I signed up and I can’t really complain when they’ve come to pass. Did I think I was likely to be better off from taking that risk- absolutely. Am I better off now? Just about! Am I going to be better off in the future? I hope so, but I’m not sure- that’s the risk.

It’s very much like investing. If I choose a high risk investment I do it because I think I’m going to be better off overall. I expect there to be some short term pain and losses sometimes but won’t complain when there are because I’m expecting them, and hoping that taking that risk will bring me much greater wealth overall, even if I’m not certain about it.

I would be upset though if I had been taking a stroll in the country and picked up those injuries- the reward wouldn’t have been there, and neither would the expectation. That’s why it’s much worse when a low risk investment loses money, and we look to avoid that.

It’s also crucial to understand and control your risks when you take them. I protected myself with good quality gear and have only ridden anything like that on a track where there were only other riders around, run-off areas, medics and support crew and I was riding a bike that I could afford to damage. SEI, our investment guys, are experts at controlling risk while trying to get the greatest rewards on your behalf.

My last thought from all this is the risk of not taking any risk at all. This is the equivalent of staying in and watching TV, or ‘investing’ solely in cash, rather than going and doing something, anything. You’re never going to have anything particularly bad happen to you watching TV, and it will probably be passably pleasant, but doing that and nothing else is, to me, a certain fate much worse than most balanced risks you can take.

 

Mark Sekree Posted:
4 years, 150 days ago (April 30th 2013)

EZ ISA Evolution, Financial Advice

Pension or ISA? Check ‘Money to the Masses’

I’m delighted to have been asked to guest post on Damien’s excellent ‘Money to the Masses’ site about the interaction between Stocks and Shares ISAs and Pensions. Check out the article (it’s more interesting than it sounds!) and the site here.

Mark Sekree Posted:
4 years, 199 days ago (March 12th 2013)

Financial Advice

New Investment Section

There’s a new investment section to the website here. It gives a simple summary of each of the three SEI funds and shows how each has performed since it was launched.

If you’ve got any questions remember you can always contact Mark.

Mark Sekree Posted:
4 years, 213 days ago (February 26th 2013)

Financial Advice

My favourite economic theory?

Despite the name ‘The Life-Cycle Permanent Income Hypothesis’ was my favourite economic theory as a student.

It basically says that you’re best off trying to smooth out what you spend, based on what you expect to earn over your life. This means spending more than you earn when you’re young, or old, and not earning much.

This is 100% foolproof academic evidence that you need to take out student loans, overdrafts, car loans, travel loans and the rest when you’re young and broke- it’s easy to see why it was my favourite theory! There’s no need to beat yourself up about it, done right it’s the sensible thing to do.

However it also shows that you need to spend less than you earn when you start earning more- paying back those loans and saving up for retirement and other times your income might dip from the norm.

Until recently accessing easy loans has been far easier than accessing easy investments. EZ ISA helps reverse that trend by making it just as easy for you to save and invest when you need to as borrow when you have to.

Mark Sekree Posted:
4 years, 260 days ago (January 10th 2013)

Financial Advice

What I do with my money

I shouldn’t preach unless I practise- so what do I practise?

No Debt
(other than student loan and mortgage)
If I can’t afford to buy it outright I don’t buy it. This means I drive/ride older (but brilliant) cars/motorbikes, save up for anything expensive and don’t look at what I can’t afford. If I can’t afford to pay for it now I probably can’t afford it at all.

Careful Spending
I’m happy spending money if I get value- for example I’d much rather actively buy slightly second-hand top-quality equipment than be sold average brand-new stuff, even if the average stuff is cheaper.

Auto-budgeting
As soon as I’m paid money is direct debited for all my essentials- including short term and long term savings. Short term savings are automatically transferred to a separate current account and deliberately used for frivolous travels and toys. Long term savings are there to give me freedom and security. Both short and long term are important to me. The rest tends to get spent each month.

Investment
Short term savings I keep in a current account for easy access. Long term savings I use EZ ISA to invest- as a high risk and experienced investor I use the SEI Growth Portfolio for some of my investment and pick and choose the rest myself.

End of Tax Year
If I have spare money I’ll reduce my tax bill with pension contributions and possibly EIS/VCT investments.

The regular savings and managed investment features of EZ ISA makes this ‘plan’ incredibly easy for anybody to set up and stick to- just one hour should do it. After that it’s all automatic and will make your life easier, less stressful and more organised as well as hopefully getting you some good investment growth over the years.

Give me a call on 07983 769606 any time if you’d like to talk more about how to manage your money and how to set up an EZ ISA.

Mark Sekree Posted:
4 years, 286 days ago (December 15th 2012)

Financial Advice

How to save for your retirement without a pension…

Pensions are cripplingly expensive- if you figure your pension should be worth the same as your house by the time you retire you won’t be far off.

The State pensions are slipping back and most employers are slimming theirs down, if you’re offered one at all. You know you should be saving but the idea of choosing a pension then locking all your money away until you’re old doesn’t appeal- there’s so much you might need it for before then.

EZ ISA offers an ideal solution. You can save up without locking your money away, and it can be invested in exactly the same way a pension can.

By paying into ISAs first you leave your options open- you can always get your money out, or shift some money from your ISA into a pension and claim the ‘tax relief’/government top up then.

And of course by using EZ ISA you can start saving in minutes with no set up charges or tricky investment decisions to worry about. Now isn’t that an improvement?

 

Mark Sekree Posted:
5 years, 164 days ago (April 16th 2012)

Financial Advice

How have the SEI portfolios been doing?

Each of the recommended portfolios has been running for about two years now. Even with everything going on in the investment world you would have made money from each of them had you invested at the beginning: 4.8%pa from the lower risk investment, 6.9%pa from the medium and 7.28%pa from the higher risk one.

However it is important to realise that this growth didn’t come in a straight line. At times the higher risk portfolio had dipped about 15% before recovering, whereas the lower risk one barely dipped at all. This is typical- normally higher risk funds do better over many years but it’s a much bumpier ride!

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