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2023, the year that was, and the year that will be 2024

Join our founder, Steve Rowe, as he takes a customary look back at 2023, with a look ahead to what 2024 may bring.


Hello and Happy New Year!


Well, 2023, what was it like for you? I’d say mine has been ‘hectic’.


Welcome to 2024, we hope that you had a great time over Christmas and spent that valuable time with friends and family.



I thought this would be a good time to review 2023, starting with a look back at my predictions from January 2023 and what became of them…



It appears that all of my predictions have come true! Which, makes me sad, considering the ‘depressing’ predictions of:

  • Some of you will get ill.

  • Some of you will die.

  • Some of your friends and family will die.


But I am super happy that the uplifting predictions have happened too!

 

Uplifting predictions:

  • Some of you will have new family members

  • Some of you will retire

  • Some of you will start a business


In truth, all of my predictions were going to come true except that ‘stock markets will rise’.


Even though we cross our fingers that the depressing ones won’t happen, we look after so many people that it is statistically inevitable (turn of phrase that, I’ve not done the stats!!).


The uplifting ones are also inevitable, as we attract the fun-loving (retirement), the optimistic (business entrepreneurs) and, erm, the randy (new family members!). Again, not done any real-life statistics on this, who wants to answer a survey on how sexy they are?!

"Most successful pundits are selected for being opinionated, because it's interesting, and the penalties for incorrect predictions are negligible. You can make predictions, and a year later people won't remember them" - Daniel Kahneman

Ha! I remember them, Daniel. As I noted them down…


JP Morgan predicted the S&P would finish 9% higher (Bloomberg. “Here's (Almost) Everything Wall Street Expects in 2023.”)


The S&P 500 finished around 25% higher in 2023.


The S&P 500 has average annual returns of 10% a year, so JP Morgan were sticking pretty much to average. Instead, they proved to be around 16% off! 


70% of economists predicted a recession in 2023 (Bloomberg survey of economists).


That never happened in the UK, let alone the global economy that is performing much better than the UK one.

"Never make predictions, especially about the future" - Casey Stengel

Plenty of our clients mentioned the ‘impending recession’ to us, especially in the first 3-6 months of 2023. They held their position though, with our guidance. And they are better off for it.


This is one of the ‘hidden’ benefits, and probably one of the most important, of having a great financial planner by your side. We stick earplugs in one ear’ole, and whisper sweet nothings of being sensible and following the evidence in the other. We, stop you making MASSIVE mistakes. Mistakes you can never recover from.


Just as Kahneman states about pundits, when they give a prediction, they just care about being interesting to get on the telly/podcast or in an article. They care little about the consequences of anyone following that prediction and taking action because of it.


I care.


I am responsible for your money and therefore your life’s happiness. I’ll stand by my decisions and they will be based on evidence. They will most likely bring better outcomes and make you wealthier. The fortunes of everyone at Lucent Financial Planning are also linked to it. We also invest our money in the same strategies as we advise you to.


This is a massive responsibility which means our decisions are well thought through and not throw-away lines to seem interesting.


If you follow the pundits' predictions, you’ll most likely end up poorer. But, you’ll forgive yourself. Or overly justify why it was the right decision even though you are considerably poorer, when it goes wrong.


You will be worse off.


I will be worse off.


We all will.


All due to following predictions from people with no skin in your game. Our good fortunes lie in yours, there is no conflict of interest. You do better, we do better. We have skin in the game.  But more than that, we don’t want you to be in a position where our advice caused you to end up on the game! Imagine the guilt…


Successful Prediction:

Stock Markets will rise (they do 75% of the time roughly, the dice were loaded in my favour)


Here are some of our most recommended portfolio performances for 1st January 2023 to 27th December, less all costs (us, platform, fund):




Tracker portfolios – have done better due to higher allocation to globally massive companies, e.g. Apple, Google etc which have seen boosts in valuation due to the potential effects of AI technology.


Power Factor portfolios – these have a higher allocation to small companies and emerging markets which has meant they have not performed as well as tracker portfolios. These ‘factors’ both give better returns in the long term, hence why these portfolios are our preferred ones.


Green Portfolios – Due to the Ukraine invasion, 2022 saw a massive rise in oil and gas prices, which meant portfolios excluding those companies that did very well that year, declined more. But, some of this is regained in 2023 when valuations of such companies declined.


What is most important?


The returns are irrelevant! However, I have shown them as I am always asked. 


"But why are they irrelevant, Steve, that’s my money?!"


Because you are invested in a globally diversified portfolio that reflects the world economy, at a super-low cost. All the evidence shows this has been a persistent and consistent winning formula if you stay in it. In such a portfolio, permanent loss is impossible if you stay in it and don’t sell out on a whim. People go to work to improve their lives, no matter what is going on. They go to work for companies. If you own the companies, which as a shareholder you will, you will benefit from their productivity.


Prediction for 2024 stock markets


The eagle-eyed amongst you will notice that 2023 essentially just made up the loss in 2022. But I predict, that stock markets will finish higher than they started on 1st January 2024! Why? Because people want to make their lives better…


But if there is a crash and it doesn’t happen, all the brainy people that read this newsletter will realise it’s a great time to buy more shares and will invest heavily.


About Lucent


We have heavily invested in our team in 2023, and will start 2024 with 9 new team members more than just over a year ago. 2 replacing the sadly departed but 7 being entirely new!


We have done this as we want to ensure you get the best and most timely service possible. Also, as you know, we want to do things with a flourish, so you have a great time!


We have had a massive uptick in the amount of referrals we are receiving from our lovely clients. It’s clear you are worried about friends and family and want them to receive the great advice you do. If we grow, we can help them and also continue to give peace of mind to our clients that are concerned about their loved ones.


Since winning ‘Lifestyle Financial Planner of the Year - 2023’ (no one predicted that either!) our company and what we do - which appears to be unique, judging by comments from various financial advisers, industry leaders etc - we have also seen an upturn in new client enquiries. As we want to help as many people as we are able to, we have needed to draft in more assistance.


Being ‘Lifestyle Financial Planner of the Year - 2023’ has also led to the standard of applicants for the new roles we have created being much higher than in the past. The people we were has enabled this excellence and now more great people want to join in with it! This makes us feel that we are doing the right thing, due to the popular demand.


What is our 'flourish'?

  • It’s the help of our lovely psychologist, Jessica Schlupp-Taylor of My Exceptional, whenever you need your head to be made healthy again.

  • It’s one of the 15+ separate in-person events we have put on. Whether that be walks, drinks, parties or educational events.

  • It’s Ubuntu! Our online community where you can interact, see information on investments etc. talk about your hobbies, watch live streams or more recently discuss stuffing recipes on Christmas Day.


What this means for you:


We are ready to help you more than ever!

  • This is your one life, what do you want to do? Let us help you do it!

  • To help your friends and family that may be:

  • Approaching retirement

  • Worried about money – have they got enough?

  • Going through a separation / impending divorce

  • Have suffered the loss of a loved one they were financial entwined with

  • Have an established business and want to understand how to make that work for them.

  • Want to know if they ‘have enough’, ‘how to get enough’, ‘have more than enough and want to look at helping others’.


End of tax year


It’s the final chance to: 

  • Make the massive income tax savings that pension contributions allow.

  • Make ISA contributions so that your money can grow in a tax-efficient environment.

  • Benefit from 30% income tax refunds in VCTs.

  • Sell assets with capital gains tax, and invest tax efficiently, and use your £6,000 capital gains tax exemption.


Happy New Year


I am sure you are all starting to action your lists of changes you want to make in yourself. Let’s all try to be healthier, leave the ‘wealthier’ bit to us, and try to make this the happiest year you can for you, your family & friends and hey, how about society as a whole!


Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think.



So, what will your 2024 look like?


We hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter and we would welcome the chance to become your adviser, your counsel.

 

If you already have an adviser or want to experience true lifestyle financial planning from the ‘Lifestyle Financial Planner of the Year 2023’ then why not come and see for yourself!

 

We offer two meetings at potentially no cost to you. The first, we will see how we get on and whether we are a good fit to work together. After all, we will be working together for a long time.

 

At the second meeting, we will show you exactly what we would do for you and how we would work together. There is a charge for this as most people think it is absolutely awesome.

 

However, if you don’t and think it’s a load of rubbish, we have a ‘satisfaction guarantee’ so you don’t have to pay. If you think it’s rubbish, I don’t want your money as that would make me feel ashamed of myself.

 

  • If you think your current adviser is ‘vertically integrated’ (large national advice firm) or you know your charges are significantly higher than 1.2%

Or

  • You have no idea what your financial plan is?

Or

  • You want to see what award-winning Lifestyle Financial Planning is like

Or visit our website, and check out our advisers: www.lucentfinancialplanning.co.uk

 

Interested in finding out more about investments? – email us on:

support@lucentfinancialplanning.co.uk saying: Give me Ubuntu!

 

 

 

What our clients have to say...

 

"We’ve been with Lucent Financial Planning Ltd for 6 years now and have been more than happy with the services we have received. Steve and his team are very professional and knowledgeable when it comes to our investment expectations, but they do it in a friendly and easy to understand way." - D Scranage

Such an amazing business with friendly staff. Steve and Keely guide us with clear advice and listen to what matters to us most. And they make the process fun!! The best part? Right now, I’m scheduled to retire 8 YEARS EARLY!! The Lucent team provided us with a clear plan and conduct regular reviews so they know if anything’s changed in our priorities. They’re like a part of our family now and I cannot recommend the Lucent team enough. Please don’t hesitate to contact them if you’re looking for good financial advice. - M Aucott

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