Taking charge of your own finances

Retirement will be no fun without enough money to enjoy it. Unfortunately most of us are being kicked out of our company's defined benefit funds, can't rely too much on the government for help, don't understand the defined contribution funds we've been put into and are not saving enough anyway. To make matters worse we are being ripped off by a savings and retirement industry that is skimming of the top of our investment returns while giving us very little good advice or value.
This blog contains some of my thoughts on taking control of retirement and pension savings. It will look at ways of cutting costs by using cheap online stockbrokers and share dealing combined with cheap index funds and Exchange Traded Funds (ETFs) to build diversified portfolios. This is a work in progress so I welcome your thoughts.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Terry Smith's Gets Praise in The Guardian

I'm not a huge fan of active fund managers, mainly because of their high costs and because most of them don't actually deliver much value for money. In general I think most investors are much better off just relying on an index fund rather than trying to find a manger (mainly because retail investors have a terrible tendency to invest in last-year's best performing fund, which will often be a poor performer in future).
That said I do have soft spot for a few contrarian value-focused investors. True value investors are willing to suffer long periods of poor performance in return for outperformance over the very long run.
Two of the British value investors I like most are Terry Smith and Neil Woodford.
Terry Smith just got a great writeup in The Guardian newspaper on the first anniversary of his new fund, Fundsmith. It is a relatively low cost fund (cheaper than most other active funds, but still more expensive than the cheapest index trackers) has a decided value focus.
Some of his favourite picks are consumer goods and other branded companies such as Unilever, Procter & Gamble and Imperial Tobacco.
None of this firms is especially exciting, but they deliver good cash flows, good dividends and trade at attractive yields. Think Warren Buffet when you think of Terry Smith as the fundamentals of his share selection his very much like the Buffet's.
Some of his method is revealed in the Guardian article:

Smith's other mantra is that investors should read, read and read rather than trade, trade and trade.

"Between the three of us who run Fundsmith Equity, we read around 1,000 publications regularly.

"I read PotatoPro magazine, Elevator World, even Tissue World. PotatoPro, for example, helps you keep on top of what's happening in the snack food industry."

Terry Smith's investments have other fund managers on the ropes | Money | The Guardian:

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