Intelligent financial planning and investing for expats in the Netherlands
In the sphere of the psychology of investing, it is sometimes stated that financial success is more about behaviour than intelligence. This is a provocative statement and raises a number of questions.
Black Swan Capital encourages you to think about what is most important for you in your life: the "why" you invest. And then to look at the "how"
Asking the right 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 certain behaviour is intelligence.
Why do you want to invest?
When you start considering these questions, you may want to delve more deeply into the fundamental question of why you invest. There may be 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 our 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. Understanding the "why" is what drives our investment philosophy.
The clients of Black Swan Capital will have heard them state that 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 is to be generated, or a wealth accrual target - and in what time period - when do you want to get there.
Spend time thinking about your "why". This has a connection with 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.
How do you want to invest?
This is a neat segue into the other important question: how. Not necessarily how you invest in terms of asset classes, different investment strategies such as active, growth, value, passive, etc. - 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 their 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 their approach to financial planning and after which they are named.
When Black Swan Capital is talking about resilience or anti-fragility, it is really about contingencies for the unexpected, or managing risk. How to manage your financial life, including your investments, requires an understanding of risk. They 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.
The way Black Swan Capital applies this for their clients - the Black Swan Capital "how"- is to recognise that in the future there will likely be unexpected events; they don’t know what, when or the magnitude, that is their nature, but they will likely occur, and probably at a time they least want them to. Therefore, they need to build resilience, or anti-fragility, 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 wish to 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 Black Swan’s definition, is good behaviour, being intelligent.
Contact Black Swan Capital
Black Swan Capital encourages you to 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, and managed over time and how effective they are at navigating the unexpected.