Shiva Sachaphimukh from Farnam Tree gives his insight.
Personal finance and investing works differently for everyone. Many find it daunting, especially if they have limited interest or background in this area. Unfortunately, it is an important part of our lives that cannot be avoided altogether. The good news is that you can get the odds to work in your favour if you approach things thoughtfully and diligently.
Whilst there are many methods that work, some practices will certainly make things more difficult. Steering away from these practices can save you from unwanted headaches in the future.
THINKING IT IS NOT FOR YOU
Personal finance cannot be outsourced. You know yourself best and are in the best position to make decisions related to financial and investing goals. Getting help can benefit you. Absolving responsibility will not.
There are tons of resources available to get you educated and on the right path. Most of the concepts related to budgeting, saving, and investing are simple. All that the maths requires is the calculator that already exists on your cell phone – no need to bring out the scientific calculator from high school!
Even if you have a partner or family member that is more ‘hands on’, it is still important to be in the loop. This makes achieving common goals easier, and reduces the chance for surprises later.
Making things too difficult is a common mistake. There are no style points in finance and investing.
Finding out what is most appropriate for you will determine how complicated your approach needs to be. For example, purchasing individual stocks is hugely popular. This can work well if you invest in the next Amazon; not so well if you invest in the next Kodak.
Instead of buying individual stocks, you can consider purchasing an index – a basket of companies – as a way of getting exposure to equities and diversifying risk.
BUYING WHAT YOU DO NOT UNDERSTAND
One of the biggest investing sins is to buy what you do not understand. It can be tempting to follow what a friend has done or purchase something based off a tip. The danger is that you will almost never be told when to sell.
If these securities are traded on auction-based markets, you may experience a great deal of price volatility. Without knowing what you are holding in your hands, the chances of you making mistakes shoots up. FOMO is not an investing strategy.
TRYING TO AVOID MISTAKES
Mistakes are unavoidable, so make them and learn from them. There is no need to beat yourself up over something that does not go your way if you can improve your decision-making process.
One thing to consider is keeping a journal for this area of life. Recording your thoughts in a journal detailing your decisions and observations can be very rewarding when you revisit them later.
Many mistakes related to finance and investing are borne out of emotion. Objectively examining yourself can improve decision making and identify your blind spots. Your knowledge will compound by doing this, and pay you many dividends in the future.
SHIVA SACHAPHIMUKH is a Director and part of the investment team at Farnam Tree. He is a licensed Investment Consultant with the Thai Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC).
Farnam Tree is a boutique investment and wealth management firm based in Bangkok. The company is a licensed Investment Advisor under the Thai SEC and Ministry of Finance.