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Life’s revolutions

The fading of the light, the coming of the light and life’s revolutions

Welcome to our December blog, where our founder, Steve Rowe, remembers Charlie Munger, and his strategies to achieve a life that matters.

As we continue to sink into the darkness of the long winter’s nights, so we also look forward to the coming of the light and the Spring ahead. The seasons remind us that life comes and goes, and as the short spring and summer months pass by in the blink of an eye, so the darkness of the winter nights shall also pass by quicker than expected and you’ll be dancing around the Maypole before you know it.

Such are the seasons and such is life. The same as it ever was and the same as it ever will be.

This brings me to the passing of Charlie Munger. This week, Charlie died aged 99 years and 11 months. In last month's newsletter, I quoted Warren Buffet (Risk Comes from not knowing what you are doing – Warren Buffet) when trying to explain how making sudden decisions on short-term information can cause you to be worse off in the long run.

Charlie Munger was Warren Buffet’s long-term business partner. Together they ran Berkshire Hathaway, which essentially became a holding company for numerous other companies and made both of them multi-billionaires.

Munger was an exceptionally gifted human being and he has left behind a multitude of quotes that we can all learn from. I thought we would build this month’s newsletter around them.

Our aim at Lucent is to help you be happy. That’s it. We do this through the lens of finance as so much of what can define happiness comes from good financial health. These are Charlie’s thoughts on happiness:

“… life will have terrible blows, horrible blows, unfair blows. Doesn’t matter. And some people recover and others don’t. And there I think the attitude of Epictetus is the best. He thought that every mischance in life was an opportunity to behave well. Every mischance in life was an opportunity to learn something and your duty was not to be submerged in self-pity, but to utilize the terrible blow in a constructive fashion. That is a very good idea."

Lights in our life will fade and some will be extinguished, until eventually our own light is snuffed out just as Charlie’s was this week. We know this is the case and we will suffer terrible traumas. Those that we love that have departed will not have wanted us to have our lives submerged in self-pity, as Munger puts it. Instead, they would want us to remember the good times that were enjoyed together. In the short summer of our existence, we must do everything to have a great time, but also to be remembered, to have a life of meaning and importance to someone or something. Leaving a memory, a legacy, a statue or a bench in the park, some great quotes, or a feeling of love in those that survive. In short, something to show…

that your life mattered.

Charlie propounded some simple rules to help with happiness during life:

“You don’t have a lot of envy, you don’t have a lot of resentment, you don’t overspend your income, you stay cheerful in spite of your troubles, you deal with reliable people and you do what you’re supposed to do. All these simple rules work so well to make your life better.”

If your life is to matter, there are some key ways you can achieve this:

Spending time with people you love – children, parents, siblings, great mates, whoever you wish. They will thank you for it… you will thank yourself for it. That love will endure long beyond the fading of your light. That will mean you mattered.

Spending time doing the things you love – you will not be commemorated with a statue or a bench, or be read and quoted by people in the future unless you spend the time doing the work you love. Whether that be painting, writing, sport, charity work etc. Doing the work that matters, that changes something for someone, will mean you mattered.

Spending time spending your money – a financial legacy doesn’t have to be after you have died. You can give it to them whilst you’re alive. Both parties then feel the benefit of that money, in financial assistance for the donee and enhanced feelings of wellbeing in the donor.

But spending time still takes money, giving money takes money! You need to be able to afford to not work those extra hours in order to spend the time with people. Obviously, this is Charlie Munger’s main area of expertise, so now we know what we are trying to achieve – happiness and a life that mattered – let’s look at how to finance it.

“We’ve had enough good sense when something is working very well to keep doing it. I’d say we’re demonstrating what might be called the fundamental algorithm of life — repeat what works”

If we use our money to invest in things that have worked well for years, decades, nay centuries, then we are repeating what works consistently. If we are repeating what has worked in the past few years, we are more likely to end up disappointed.

What has worked consistently is:

  • The higher percentage of equities you hold, the greater your longer-term returns will be.=

  • Global spread of investments- if investing were a piece of toast, we butter to the edges, not just certain parts in the middle

  • Investing more in small, value and more consistently highly profitable companies has, in the past, led to superior returns

  • We rebalance at a tolerance of 10% from original allocations to investments

  • We understand that such portfolios will only lose money if the human owner sells them when they decline in value temporarily

And so, we manage our behaviour, not our investments:

“It is remarkable how much long-term advantage people like us have gotten by trying to be consistently not stupid, instead of trying to be very intelligent.”

Our sole aim is to stop us from making stupid mistakes that permanently affect our long-term returns. We must do this by following the long-term evidence so that we can secure the compound interest effect.

“Understanding both the power of compound interest and the difficulty of getting it is the heart and soul of understanding a lot of things. ”
“The world is full of foolish gamblers and they will not do as well as the patient investors.”

Our November blog focussed on the temptation to sell out of the perceived poorly performing investment portfolios to secure 5-6% interest over a year. Lack of patience at that point would have meant missing out on this performance in November:

The following are examples of our most popular portfolios with their performance over NOVEMBER 2023 only.

“Patience can be learned. Having a long attention span and the ability to concentrate on one thing for a long time is a huge advantage. ”

Here at Lucent Financial Planning, our advisers have the skill, the evidence and the empathetic understanding to teach you patience and thus be rewarded accordingly. It is most likely, that you will not be able to do this on your own. You need a partner, someone you trust to lead you the right way.

“If you don’t care whether you are rational or not, you won’t work on it. Then you will stay irrational and get lousy results. ”

I repeat: Here at Lucent Financial Planning, our advisers have the skill, the evidence and the empathetic understanding to teach you to be more rational and thus be rewarded accordingly. It is most likely, that you will not be able to do this on your own. You need a partner, someone you trust to lead you the right way.

“Take a simple idea and take it seriously.”

The brainy 🧠 people we help understand that we are using ideas that have worked consistently for long periods of time. They have not been flashes in the pan. They are fairly consistent. Investing in great companies was what made Charlie Munger a billionaire. He would buy them and hold them… forever. You should do so too.

The ideas we promote are simple. But they are not easy! As mentioned, you most likely cannot do this on your own, we are here to help you avoid making the stupid mistakes, to embrace compound interest effect and NEVER interrupt it unnecessarily. To be patient and more rational.

If you want the evidence, we can provide it to you.

We can provide quotes from the wise and wealthy.

But, when push comes to shove, you should implement the tailored advice we provide to you on your situation because…

we are your adviser, we are your good counsel.

The coming of the light

As it is December, we will not speak again (in our blog) until the New Year is upon us.

Have a great time, you deserve it. Enjoy the time with your loved ones. They deserve that time with you. Reflect on the past year, whether you have gained or lost people in your circle. Whether you have had good times or bad.

Let’s make 2024 a better one, there’s one less now! Everyone at Lucent Financial Planning wishes you an enjoyable month of celebrating the coming of the spring light, in whatever way you celebrate it.

What's next?

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

Whether you already have an adviser or just want to experience true lifestyle financial planning from the ‘Lifestyle Financial Planner of the Year 2023’ then why not come and see for yourself how we can work together.

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.

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Don't just take our word for it - here are comments left on Google by some of our lovely clients:

Quite honestly these lovely people are fantastic! The service they offer is centred on what you as the client want to do with your retirement, and how they can help you achieve that goal. They are not pushy, and don't blind you with science or jargon either. The service doesn't stop at financial advice either; we love the monthly 'Walk & Talk' events, the social events with other clients, and the very human approach of all the wonderful Lucent Team. - S Harris

I cannot recommend Steve & Lucent enough. They have transformed our financial futures through sound advice and a total understanding of our priorities. I can't imagine planning for our retirement without them! Plus they are an all-round, super lovely team. I am a huge advocate. - J Hughes

Exciting things on the horizon

Steve Rowe is appearing on a couple of Podcasts in December, that we will make available on the website once they are recorded.

Analog Adviser – hosted by Dr Sonya Lutter – Financial Therapist

Executives in Wealth Management – hosted by Thomas Spencer (Signia Wealth Management Executive Search)

Watch this space!


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