My First Year: 5 Things I’ve Learnt

    Welcome folks, it’s Tracey here. Although most of you probably know me, I will start with a bit about myself. At this point I have over 6 years’ experience in different forms of financial services, namely within Fund services and the alternative investments space. I completed the Professional Diploma in Financial Advice designation (QFA) in July 2021, you could call it a lockdown project. January 2023 marks the start of my second full year in a brokerage. With that top of mind, I decided what better time to record my practical learnings in my first year with an independent financial advisory. Here’s 5 things I’ve learnt that might benefit you.

    A Little Today for a Better Tomorrow

    Save for your pension. As an early thirty something with (hopefully) decades of work still ahead it can be hard to prioritise saving for retirement. I’ve seen it on so many occasions this year. But when it comes to the other side, it is a huge sense of relief to have a decent pension pot in place. Yes you can argue you don’t know what life will look like in 2060, but nobody will convince me that early thirty somethings in 1990 knew how the world would look in 2022.


    Back to that inconspicuous hopefully I included in the first point. Protecting your salary should be one of the first things a graduate invests in. One of Ireland’s largest providers, Zurich have a line ‘we don’t protect against, we protect for’, and it’s true. You are protecting your financial future by investing in this. On the face of it, paying these premiums doesn’t appear as exciting as a crypto vault on an app on your smart phone, but when it comes to being physically out of work for a sustained period I know which one I would prefer to have.

    Review, Review, Review

    A term used with investing, ‘invest and forget’, meaning don’t unduly concern yourself with the market fluctuations until such time as you need the funds. However, in Quintas Wealth Management the review process is as important as the initial set up. Personal circumstances change, and what is even more common is changes to regulatory guidelines, from time-to-time life companies have offers, better terms, more suitable products. Ensure you review your plan, products and premiums at least annually.

    Time in the Markets

    It was a hectic year in markets, validating the phrase – ‘time in the markets rather than timing the markets’. My recommendation is invest long term, invest at a volatility (risk) level you are comfortable with and at an affordable level for your circumstances. The best time to invest is always when you can afford it. There is a perception that investing is for people with hundreds of thousands in deposit accounts, regular investments can start from €100 a month.

    A New Normal

    By and large the days of one job/employer/career for life are a generation or two behind us. More typical nowadays is a mix-um gather-um of employment and employer types (employed, public, private sector, self employed, contract work, multi nationals, Irish SMEs etc.). All the more reason to consolidate your benefits. Do a stock take on what you know you have and think you may have. The very first part of the first step in Quintas Wealth Management’s financial advice process is finding out this information for you.

    All in all, an enjoyable first 16 months with Anne and the team. An awful lot learned in my first year about the financial advice business and I’ve no doubt an awful lot still to learn! But as the saying goes “every day is a schoolday”!

    Should you wish to review your existing protection, savings and pension policies give us a call today.

    Creating Opportunities in a Negative Space

    Like many of our peers we’ve highlighted the impact of negative interest rates on client returns. We recently looked at some solutions to the problems faced by investors. It’s interesting to see that there have been opportunities that have been created in this negative space. But how can we best engage with you in an understanding and taking advantage of these? This question prompted us to look at the factors driving an individual’s decision-making process. specially at the current time as well as how financial decisions are made.

    The decision-making process

    Decision-making process, customer journey, sales funnels, these are all variations on the same theme. The decision-making process is a psychological one. We assume from a behaviour or action taken that a decision has been made. It shows a commitment to an action. What is often referred to as the customer buying process, is itself a decision-making process. This is where we see the journey a customer goes through before purchasing a product. The easiest way to look at it is using the AIDA structure.

    • Awareness: Recognition of a need or problem
    • Interest: Seeking information on the various options available to solve the problem
    • Desire: Evaluation of options and a preference develops
    • Action: Reaching of a decision and the purchase is completed

    We are all consumers and are more informed than ever before. That is why our job as financial advisers is not to sell a product to you. It is to understand the process you go through to reach a decision. It is also to recognise the need you are trying to fulfil, whether this is protecting your family or planning for your retirement. We must work with you through this process to assist you in defining the need and to provide the best advice on the solutions available.

    The role of behavioural finance

    So, what does behavioural finance have to do with anything? We should recognise that not everyone is approaching a financial purchase from the same starting point. Traditional theories were very functional. They assume financial decisions were made against a rational background – both for internal and external factors.

    Behavioural finance goes against this by asserting that financial decisions are often based on emotional responses. For example, you purchase protection on your own life to protect your loved ones. This holds true also for investments where investors may hold losing positions rather than feel the pain of taking a loss or the emotional instinct to move with the herd may explain why investors buy in bull markets and sell in bear markets.

    Understanding how this impacts financial decisions around things like investments, risk, protection, and personal debt is critical to being able to provide a better service to our clients. Human emotion plays an incredibly influential role in these decisions. We have come through a time of crisis and while there is still much uncertainty there are opportunities.

    What is the opportunity?

    It is a time of negative interest rates. The Covid-19 pandemic shocked the world and is continuing to do so. We will be dealing with the fall-out for many years to come. Following our lives being put on hold, there is a huge amount of money on deposit earning no return but there are opportunities for those to make their money work harder. This is true too for those who wish to continue the savings habit they have now started. By combining an understanding of buying processes with the concept that financial decisions are emotionally based allows us to work with our clients in helping them make more rational decision in their financial matters. This is particularly relevant at the current time.

    With negative interest rates, investors are faced with a choice. This choice is between a sure loss or exposure to a possible greater loss by choosing stocks. What is the best course of action? By following a well- thought-out strategy for gradually drip feeding into the markets to benefit from potentially greater returns can be an excellent route to follow. This type of unit cost averaging may dampen volatility and is applicable regardless of overall risk attitude.

    If you’re not sure what direction to follow with your financial decisions, we’re here to help. Just get in touch for an initial chat.  

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