In our long experience, people lose money or end up making financial errors when they act on impulse, act without appropriate research and analysis, or act quickly without thinking through the potential outcomes of their actions.
People may also suffer permanent losses of capital where they do not sufficiently diversify their investments across asset sectors and across a sensible number of investments.
Add excessive amounts of “borrowed money" (debt) and this situation can quickly become a financial disaster. The Global Financial Crisis occurred largely because of excessive amounts of debt, used to buy concentrated portfolios of low-quality assets (see discussion below re quality assets)
Diversification in itself does not necessarily remove investment risk. If you diversify across a bad group of investments, the chances are you will lose money regardless.
Our view is that appropriate investigation and analysis of any individual investment needs to be undertaken in order for that investment to be included in any portfolio of assets.
The old maxim of high risk and high return is often trotted out, but usually, “high risk” often means no returns, or permanent loss of capital.
Our approach is to generate reasonable returns over and above cash in the bank after all costs and fees. The type of portfolio you should have will depend on your needs, your risk profile, your preferences and experience in investment and investment markets.
We complete a Personal Risk Profile on every client, to understand in advance their attitude and appetite for risk in investment; this better helps us make a more informed decision for the client in investing their capital.
Finally the approach that works best is to invest only in quality investments in the very first instance; a quality investment is one that will preserve capital, and provide reliable and regular income and capital growth over meaningful time frames.
If you can avoid investments that are of “low-quality”, or are “highly unpredictable”, that will help ensure you get positive results in investing over the long term.