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By Rita Cool, certified financial planner at Alexander Forbes


Throughout life you will come across financial ideas that you assume must be correct because everyone is doing it. You might believe that unless you follow suit, you are not successful.

By doing this, your brain is taking a shortcut in deciding by assuming that everyone else who is doing these things has done the research, checking the benefits and negatives. However, it might not be the best solution for you. For example, people may buy or sell shares because everyone else is doing it, not necessarily because it is a good or a bad share.


Here are financial beliefs that might not be right for you:

Myth 1: Property is always a great investment

Why property is seen as a good investment …

Property gives you an asset that can increase in value and could also give rental income in certain cases. It can be financed at a reasonable interest rate over a long term, which is classified as “good debt” as you will have a large asset when the debt is paid off.

… but you could also lose money when owning property

You always hope that the value of your property will increase over time and that you can sell the property for a profit. Unfortunately, this does not always happen if the area becomes less desirable over time, or if you have put too much money in the investment.

Have you considered the risks of renting out a property?

There is a difference between buying a house for yourself to live in and buying additional properties to rent out for investment purposes.

Possible risks:

  • You are not guaranteed to get a good tenant or any tenants at all during periods.
  • If your tenants don’t pay the rent, there will be costly legal fees to evict them.
  • Tenants might also damage the property, which will cost money to fix.

Investing in property shares instead of physical property

Rita Cool

Once you have bought your primary house it might be easier to invest in property shares instead of physical property. This can reduce some of the risk and effort involved in managing an additional property. Do your homework before you choose to invest in property and don’t just do it because everyone is doing it.


Myth 2: You have to own a house

Does it help to downsize property at retirement?

Buying a house gives you security and you can calculate whether a bond repayment is cheaper than a rental.



  • A house locks in a large amount of your money, which could be used to provide an income and pay for the rent if you need it.
  • Your new property probably costs you the same or more than your older, bigger property and there are additional transfer costs and legal fees.
  • If you own the property, you also still have maintenance and you might want to delegate that as you get older.
  • Will this property be your last property or is it an interim destination before you move into a retirement complex with frail care?
  • If you are not going straight to a retirement complex, you will not necessarily benefit from the property appreciation and potentially only your beneficiaries will realise the benefit.


Why not consider renting after retirement?

Not only does it transfer the burden of maintenance to the owner of the property but you can also move into a furnished property and move where and whenever you want to. Perhaps while you are a younger retiree you would like to see the world for a while and then move into a retirement complex or in with family when you are older. As a retiree, you can structure your retirement, such as where you want to stay, however you want to.  If you are considering moving to a different province or country after retirement, it would be wise to rent for a while until you have looked at the areas that you would like to live in.


Myth 3: You have to own a car

Contrary to popular belief a car is not an asset but an expense. Not only do you have the cost of buying or paying off the premium monthly, including interest, but you need to pay for fuel, insurance, annual registration fees and maintenance. While a car is convenient to have, is it really necessary to own one?

When you think about buying a car take into account all the costs to see if you can afford it. If you can only afford the premium and petrol, what happens if you have an accident and you can’t fix the car? Compare the costs per kilometre for the different types of ownership and price points compared to alternatives like ride sharing or ride hailing solutions. Can you consider renting a vehicle for longer trips?


Myth 4: You must buy a new car for retirement

As you get closer to retirement you might feel that you need to buy a new car for retirement that you can pay off before you retire, or buy a new car at retirement. Do your calculations carefully for these options:

  • Can you continue to drive your existing car for a few more years and save the premiums until you really need it?
  • Can you afford to lock in a large portion of your money at retirement in a car or is it more important to pay monthly expenses like food and electricity?
  • Can you redirect the money you wanted to spend on financing a car to saving for retirement?

If you do need a car after retirement, you have put away the money and can afford to buy the car for cash instead of financing it or giving up some of your retirement savings.


Myth 5: You have to save or invest

Saving in itself is not a myth, but when and where you save is important. Before you invest you need to save and before you invest you need to look at your debt. Don’t invest if you have a lot of expensive debt that is costing you much more in interest than the return you can get on an investment. Once your debts are under control you can consider investing in your retirement funds, unit trusts or a tax-free savings account. You still need a safety net for an emergency but once you have that, see if you can clear your debt with every available rand you have. By clearing your credit card you also create a further safety net for emergencies.


Myth 6: Be loyal to a service provider that you have been with for a long time

Although it is not a good idea to chop and change products and providers, you don’t have to stay in a product or use a service provider who no longer benefits you. It could be that your service provider is not the cheapest or most efficient or up to date with benefits. Or you feel an obligation towards a person who has given you service for a long time but can’t offer you the best solution for your current needs. Unless your products work for you and give you the best value (note, which is not necessarily the cheapest product), consider another option that benefits your situation. You might be losing out by not reassessing your financial structures, be it investments, banking products or insurance.



Why financial services is stepping into a new era




by James Mingard, Head of Retail & Finance at Maintel


When comparing industries, financial services has arguably fallen behind when it comes to digital transformation. The sector has found it especially challenging to move from more traditional, legacy ways of working. But, with challenger banks and changing customer expectations, the tables have turned. According to a  recent research report from Maintel, in partnership with RingCentral, the financial services sector is leading the way when it comes to implementing digitalisation plans. In fact, 35% of those surveyed within the sector claim to have fully implemented their digitisation plans, compared to just 26% in other industries.


Evolving Technology

As such, banking technology is innovating at a significant rate, with everything from start-ups offering online-only credit cards to TSB opening a 100-seat tech centre in Scotland. There is little doubt that the sector understands the need to be digital-first, but there is room for improvement. Over half of respondents said they have seen an increased demand for digital communication from customers because of the pandemic, but the channels on offer fall behind other industries.

Over half (55%) of other industries communicate with customers through Twitter, compared to just 30% in the financial services sector. We might not want to discuss our mortgage over Instagram or to tweet about how much money is in an ISA. However, there is a real opportunity for the financial sector to add to its offering and grow its digital communication channels. By giving customers more options, it will help improve customer experience and let the end-user reap the benefits of digital transformation strategies. Balancing the expectation for digital-first interactions while ensuring a high-quality customer experience is central to creating an efficient, yet personal service.


Collaboration is the future

The contact centre of the future should represent an integrated approach to unified communications. It should bring business experts and agents together, across every channel to deliver real-time customer experiences in a cloud-based, collaborative engagement model. For financial services, this once seemed a pipe dream but advancements in digital transformation mean that the sector can in fact set the standard for other industries.

From a productivity point of view, team collaboration can also be enhanced using innovative communication technology. This helps to improve an employee’s workplace experience by providing instant access to essential information and allows them to work effectively from any location. Flexibility has not always been associated with the financial sector, but by giving employees better technology and more autonomy, naturally, this has a knock-on impact on the experience that customers receive and helps to foster long term loyalty.


Customer comes first

Banks used to be built on life-long custom. Many people would be with the same bank from their first current account through to the day they passed away but the volume of competition, variety of offers and new customer deals mean that today’s consumers are fickler than ever.  To really stand out, financial services providers need to make sure that everything from communication strategies through to software has the customer at its heart. And technology is key.

Indeed, customer experience, customer  and technology insights were the top three benefits of digitisation within the sector, according to Maintel and RingCentral’s 2021 report, It’s therefore clear that a customer and user experienced focused approach is key to success in the financial sector.


Click here to read the research report in full – How to translate unified communications and digitalisation into better customer experience.  For further information find out more :-


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Bob Jenkins, Head of Research, Refinitiv Lipper


Anyone hoping for a reprieve from the chaos and uncertainty of the last couple of years is likely to be disappointed. The pandemic will continue to have an impact on global economies, both directly (such as ongoing lockdowns and restrictions to combat the disease) and the exhaust effects we’ve seen in areas such as the production of goods, supply chain challenges, labour shortages and rising energy prices.

At the same time, the digital disruption of the financial world continues apace, with assets once overhyped becoming increasingly mainstream.

To make specific predictions in such an environment might seem like a fool’s errand, yet it is possible to discern some themes that will shape the course of financial markets in the coming year.


  1. Global inflation gets stubborn: Inflation is not transitory, and we are seeing a foundation for higher prices being put in place thanks to the supply chain and labour issues previously mentioned. In major developed markets, I think we’ll see stubborn inflation regardless of whether Covid remains a pandemic or begins to enter an endemic phase. The situation is slightly more positive in the US; while inflation will remain at a 3.5-4.5% range, a reduction in supply chain bottlenecks, increasing labour force and improved unemployment rates will serve to reduce the impact of primary inflation forces. We should bear in mind that households are estimated to have around $2 trillion in savings, which will maintain consumption levels and keep up the pressure on labour and supply chains.
  2. Rates will rise: Rates are likely to rise, with discussions in several major economies indicating a tapered end to the period of low rates we’ve seen since the 2008 financial crisis. This will probably be achieved in fits and starts as central banks navigate virus outbreaks and any resulting economic shocks. For instance, both the Fed and the Bank of England have indicated there will be hikes, but it is likely that they will rely on tapering at first to slow stimulus while also trying to navigate sentiment swings and volatility arising from waves of infections and/or new variants.
  3. China to lead economic growth, but not by much: China’s growth is likely to be around the 4-5% mark, with the US just slightly behind at 3.5-4%, off its 6% pace from the first part of 2021. The European Union and United Kingdom will likely trail the US, even if they have been exhibiting similar economic issues, while emerging markets could be hit by a combination of the Fed tightening up and challenges dealing with Omicron and other COVID waves.
  4. Higher energy prices are here to stay: Multiple forces will provide support to higher energy prices: supply chain issues, political posturing, demand for heating/cooling due to climate change, but Covid will occasionally step in to disrupt and counteract these forces. Even carbon neutral efforts could cause overall energy prices to rise in the near term as energy producers shift to renewables, with many of these alternative sources remaining expensive. Oil will stay in the $70-$80 range, with the occasional dip towards $60 as intermittent Covid concerns influence energy consumption in the travel sector.
  5. Underperforming stocks with a positive finish: In general, slower growth and lower rates help Growth and Tech stocks while faster growth and higher rates benefit Value and Cyclicals and I believe the economy will tend to lean towards the latter scenario. That said, growth and value leadership will change hands throughout the course of the year as the economy reacts to Covid waves and switches between lockdown and reopening. I suspect Value and Cyclicals will outperform Growth and Tech at the margin, but the dominate capitalization size of the latter two will pull down overall stock market returns. Of course, as with consumers, there is a lot of money being held back at the moment. Businesses have significant cash reserves and self-directed traders continue to shovel money into markets, which, when combined, can help buoy stocks.
  6. Flattening the bond yield curve: I think we will see some retrenchment as a result of rising rate programs by central banks that will largely result in negative to flat returns across core fixed income. Any selling in longer term bonds in reaction to either economic or central bank activity will be mostly offset by buying due to the global desire for yield, thus keeping a lid on longer term rates. Rising short term rates in this environment will serve to flatten the yield curve. High yield bonds could provide for pockets of opportunity as they are potentially tied to cyclical areas of the economy that could show leadership.
  7. The contrasting futures of ESG and digital assets: In the coming year I think we’ll see digital and tokenized assets become almost as popular as Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG). However, whereas ESG is a permanent shift that will eventually encompass the evaluation of all mutual funds, digital currencies still look a little more niche. We could well see them proliferate over the next few years, potentially even becoming a new quasi-asset class, but they will remain a satellite allocation in risk tolerant portfolio strategies. They are unlikely to achieve the status of being included in mainstream portfolios such as defined contribution retirement plans where assets can flow in large, consistent amounts – unlike ESGs, which could well reach that point in the coming years.
  8. A more defined ESG: It is looking increasingly likely that ESG funds will begin to splinter into more thematic offerings as investors eschew the combined “ESG” mandates in favour of more targeted strategies that enable them to better assess stocks aligned with fund objectives. This will also help avoid those securities jumping on the ESG bandwagon.
  9. The continued rise of the Big Five: Of course, in an era of unpredictability, there are always going to be trends or themes that run counter to accepted wisdom. Despite the aforementioned attempts of central banks to raise rates, the Big Five stocks (Microsoft, Alphabet, Apple, Amazon and Nvidia) will continue to show leaderships. While technically falling into the camp of richly valued Growth, these stocks have begun to also acquire a status as a safe haven, with generally strong earnings demonstrating a consistency and dependability that attracts investors. They also populate immense amounts of passive and retirement plan assets under management, equating to steady flows into them in almost any economic environment.


All this plays out against a backdrop of our changing stance on COVID. While there are some commonalities in how different regions tackle the pandemic, the continued uneven nature of our global responses makes it hard to determine what state we will be in this time next year. If most major economies can move to an endemic setting, then we should have the tools in place to make ‘living with Covid’ a reality. However, the continued emergence of other variants will cause volatility, and with it a predictable jostling of market leadership. Perhaps the only predictions anyone can truly make is that life will continue to be unpredictable for some time to come.

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