top of page

Paying the Price of Being Human

Read on to find out what being human might be costing you, and how Lucent can help - in the words of our founder, Steve Rowe.

A person with a calculator and piggy bank, and investment chart

In the lottery of life, being born a human as opposed to say, a maggot, is perhaps like winning the jackpot.

Some people look and sound human, but they are actually more like maggots aren’t they? We’ve all met some of them.

In the lottery of life, being born a human in the developed world is like winning a multi-rollover jackpot and being blessed with good looks, intelligence and massive charisma and charm all at once!

We are super lucky, aren’t we? Just to be born a human and in Blighty (despite its problems. I know people hark on about immigration, but surely that is a sign that we are lucky because so many people want to come to live here? I am grateful to live in a place like that).

Yet, in investing terms, we pay the price of being human. In Vanguard’s study ‘Putting a value on your value’ which was written for financial advisers, it determined the value of an adviser to be in the order of 3-4.8% a year. Some of this was due to good planning, e.g. tax savings, cost savings etc., but a large chunk of it, 2-3% a year was due to nudging people in the right direction to get the most from their money.

3% a year – the cost of being human. Vanguard Adviser Alpha

Let’s take a look at some examples:

Failing to invest

When we urge you to invest more of your money, we are doing so because that is more likely to earn you more money. A quick stat: 3 years out of 4 the stock market goes up. So, if you are invested, this could be interpreted that you are 75% more likely to make more money that year.

However, we see people holding back from investing and holding more in cash “just in case” or “I don’t feel comfortable otherwise”.

Aside from emergency funds and money for near-term expenditure (perhaps the next 3 years) then ideally all money should be invested. Here’s why:

Table comparing investment returns

I have chosen to show 2 ten-year periods, as they were very different. 2013 onwards was a long bull run of high returns but 2003-2013 included the Credit Crunch. The point is, these differences pretty much always emerge. Cash loses money after inflation is taken into account. Bonds, a lower risk investment, will just about keep up with inflation and shares most often beat inflation.


When we are advising you to invest more, to not hold money in cash that isn’t needed, or to increase your allocation to equities, this is because we are aware of these statistics. It is for no other reason than it is more likely to make you money than not.

However, as humans, we don’t see that! In the sitcom ‘Plebs’, Groomio bought a lottery ticket (papyrus?) and in disbelief his friend asked why you would do that, what are the chances of winning? It’s millions to one surely. Groomio retorted: “No, it’s fifty fifty… I either will or I won’t”

And so, you leave the money there in your account and don’t invest it, thinking something like:

  • I can’t be bothered to do the administration

    • there is none, we do it!

  • The market isn’t doing well now, I will wait until it does better

    • Eh? That’s ridiculous, right? You want to wait until it’s more expensive to buy and miss out on the growth?

  • I am expecting there might be a crash. So I’ll wait until that happens

    • We have just come out of a ‘bear market’ and already people are expecting a crash!

    • Besides, you don’t know if that will happen, no psychic has ever won the lottery, right!

All of the above are the cost of being a human. They are losing you money as it is not a 50/50 choice. The odds of being poorer by not investing are far higher.

There is only one reason not to invest (excepting emergency fund etc.) and that is the brilliant part of being a human. That is our emotions. They make us feel great, and sometimes they make us feel awful! What is the point of being alive if you do not feel? If you are so anxious about investing that the cost of worry, sleepless nights and tension outweigh the monetary benefits then do not invest! Be happy. But be poorer. That is ok.


Once invested – being naughty!

Once invested, most people have an urge to tinker. When things are going well, we think they are going to be like that forever! Similarly, when they are going badly. Common mistakes whilst being invested are: to take more risk when things have been shooting up in value. For example, increasing allocation to equities. Or, the reverse, reducing when they are going down.

“If you can meet with triumph and disaster, and treat those two imposters the same”. Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘IF’

This is called buying high and selling low! It’s supposed to be the other way around 😉

In the long term, more allocation to equities means higher returns (no guarantees!) but you have to start somewhere and most risk is at the beginning because the long-term averages aren’t coming out in your numbers yet. That doesn’t mean you have to wait for a long term for it to be better! It could be instantly, and you never look back. The point about ‘long term’ is that the percentage chance of you being better off against cash or bonds is in the high 90%s.

The cost of mistakes such as this kind of tinkering could be 1.5% to 2% a year according to Oxford Risk’s ‘Behavioural Engagement Technology’ report 2024.

Standard Deviations

Nope, not in the statistical sense! I mean the deviations from an ‘ideal’ portfolio that investors find emotionally uncomfortable to put in place. This might amount to another 0.5%. For example:

Investing in their home country – for example the UK stock market represents about 3% of the work economy. Ideally, 3% of your money should be invested in it. But it’s common to find well in excess of this. The UK doesn’t perform better just because you live in it!

Trading too often – it’s tempting to do something. But when you do, money is out of the market, other biases are at play, and it most often leads to lower returns.

Looking for familiar assets – Property is not safe or higher performing just because you can see it! Shares you know about are companies that advertise more! That’s it. It doesn’t mean they are better in company earnings. It means their market relies on lots of people knowing about them. You don’t see Nvidia on the tv during Corrie much, do you?

Investing for income – why is an income important? You want total return which is income plus capital growth.

Listening to others

It’s very easy to listen to those you trust. For example, a parent or a close friend. A famous person or a perceived expert on the TV / Radio that is talking in generalisations and not about your specific circumstances. Your mate might be great at giving you life advice (my mates aren’t!) but just because you respect them in other areas, or love them, doesn’t mean they know anything about money. They may very well be holding you back. Just because someone has done well doing one thing, doesn’t mean it will work for you. They may have been lucky or uniquely talented.

“Don’t take advice from people who have gotten very lucky. We are very biased. Like Taylor Swift telling you to follow your dreams is like a lottery winner telling you to liquidise your assets; buy Powerball tickets – it works!” Bo Burnham, Comedian

How we deal with this at Lucent

As we have seen above, investing is pretty easy really! You invest as much as you can stomach in a globally diversified portfolio of shares at a low cost. If you are a worrier, you may dampen the fluctuations in value by investing more in bonds.

Then, you leave it alone.

  • Heard a whisper about a new opportunity – leave it alone!

  • Getting worried about potential tax rises’ effects on your portfolio – leave it alone!

  • Think markets are going to soar and want to increase allocation to equities – leave it alone… unless you can stay invested when it falls.

  • Your mate is making a lot of money in vending machines… ‘passive income people!’ – buy a chocolate bar from it, do not buy a vending machine.

Simple, but not easy!

Here’s how we can help. You can either engage in the process, or let us get on with it. This sounds simple, but it isn’t!

If you want to fully understand everything, we can take you through an education process, get you to watch videos on our online community, Ubuntu, discuss and answer questions. We can provide you with statistics and tools. If I am honest, we love doing this! Most people don’t want to know!

Most people follow our advice and say ‘well, if you say so Steve’, and don’t want to know much more. They want to know what they can spend and do to have a great life! Then, that is their only worry… what to do next.

If you want to avoid the costs of being human, let go to us or learn with us. Both work, both will make you happier.

New People at Lucent!

In the world of financial planning, there is a massive shortage of people. Because of the high barrier to entry in terms of qualifications and the lack of firms willing to invest in their skills, there are more positions available than there are people to cover them.

To give a glimpse into the potential problems financial planning firms will face in future, let’s look at some statistics! Over 50% of financial advisers are over 50 – not much use if you are looking for a long-term financial partner. And the average age of financial adviers is 49. I’m still under that average and haven’t started using ‘Colour for Men’ (YET!).

Only 20% of financial advisers are women (data from Next Wealth Financial Advice Business Benchmarks Report 2023). Not much use if you are looking for a caring and empathetic adviser! Not that blokes can’t be like that, it’s just not as likely, is it? At Lucent FP, 50% of our advisers are female and we have an average age of 35. If you want long-term counsel then you need a younger adviser.

A word to the wise – there is age, there is experience and there is intellectual capability. Being older does not necessarily mean you have ‘good’ experience. You could have 30 years of experience that an intellectually more capable person would garner in a year!

It’s a bit of a risk writing that when I have a writing age of a 5-year old isn’t it! But that’s my story and I am sticking with it.

All of this leads me to these points: we are contacted, pretty much every week, by bright young talented people looking to work with us. Why? Because they can see that we give advice in the way that will become the prevalent way of doing so in the future. But now? We are one of the few that do it.

The Lucent team enjoying a cushion fight at the office!

They can see we invest in our people, promote on intellectual capability and not ability to wear a sharp suit and spill out the same staid old ideas they have been for 30 years that have been proven not to work!

How can we help you?

We hope you have enjoyed this month’s newsletter, and we would welcome the chance to become your adviser, your counsel. You may want to be able to come to the great events we do like one of our walks, or famous people events. We can help you make the change in your life:

  • Transition to retirement

  • Transition from married to single or vice-versa

  • Change in working practices

  • Switch to an understanding and empathetic adviser

If you have seen us in the past, and you didn’t think we were right for you then perhaps give us another try, we are taking on lots of people from other advisers, that haven’t been getting the service they deserve.

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. In 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 your adviser is from a large national firm, or a small local one that never replies to you, I fully expect we will be more cost effective, and also have a more rounded and enhanced service.


  • If you have no idea what your financial plan is


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

- then get in touch on: 0121 705 1000 or

Or check out our adviser videos here for a flavour of who we are.

Interested in finding out more about investments? – email us on: saying: Give me Ubuntu!


If you would like to meet some of us first, but don’t want a full meeting yet then you can join one of our events:

Investment /Retirement Seminar at Crowne Plaza, Solihull.


Or, one of our Walks - 5-7 miles of fun and laughs in the Midlands countryside! Keep an eye out here for the next date.


Don’t just take our word for it

Here’s some of the great feedback we have received from some of our clients.  

Professional, friendly people with sound advice that is explained in clear and concise terminology giving you peace of mind in retirement, I would always highly recommend Lucent Financial Planning. - D Homer
Great personal service that focuses on how you want to enjoy retirement, not the money - managing your finances is the means to achieve your life objectives, it’s not the objective of life. – D & S Money

We hope you have enjoyed this month's blog - see you next month for more of Steve's words of wisdom!

This article does not constitute financial advice. We recommend that you speak to a qualified financial adviser for advice tailored to your individual circumstances and goals. Financial markets may go up or down, and you are not guaranteed a return on your investment. Past performance is not necessarily a guide to future performance.



bottom of page