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‘Take my hand, we’re crossing the road and it’s dangerous.’

In this month's blog, our founder, Steve Rowe, talks about the importance of trust.


‘Take my hand, we’re crossing the road and it’s dangerous.’ Parents tell their children. Dutifully, the child reaches up and holds the hand of their parent / responsible adult with them, steps off the kerb and into the road. They’re not looking, are they? They know it’s a perilous crossing but still suck on their lollipop and wander over aimlessly with their eyes following the butterfly being billowed in the breeze. Not a care in the world as they know they are safe. Their number one person, that they trust implicitly, is guiding them through the traffic to the other side.



I often wondered whether my niece and nephew were making the right choice of holding my brother’s hand and not mine as they cross the road. I know he’s their Dad, but surely I am the safer choice, I have never been run over! He has, I remember the screech and thud when it happened (I didn’t see it, only heard the sound). Or perhaps they are making the wise choice? Perhaps going with the experience of someone that has felt the crumple of aluminium against their side and seen the top of the driver’s head through the sunroof as they were catapulted 15ft into the air, is more valuable. I know I don’t want to be run over, but perhaps he is more careful as he knows what it’s like!


Trust verb To believe that someone is good and honest and will not harm you, or that something is safe and reliable:

Life is all about ‘trust’ isn’t it? From our earliest years, we trust in others and are taught to trust what responsible people tell us. Over time, we get more experienced. People let us down or take advantage of us. We learn that not all are to be trusted.

Why is this so important? Not trusting someone is not going to be the quickest way to make friends, is it? We tell ourselves that we are protecting ourselves by not letting other people in. But are we really just closing the door to a more fulfilling life? But hey, that’s ok, you can reject others and still be happy. It’s just a bit harder.

Why else is it important? It’s important because money, the global economy and by implication your wealth and lifestyle are all based on trust.

The running cash note below (early Bank Notes, Bank OF England Museum) from 1699 shows the phrase, “I promise to pay to (there’s a name here, I can’t read it!) or the bearer on demand the sum of £150 8S 8d.


It’s still on our bank notes…



“I promise to pay the bearer on demand the sum of ten pounds”



Even the American Dollar mentions trust!


Promises, promises, promises! We trust in promises, don’t we? But how would you feel about setting up a global economy based on a promise? On trust?


Well, that’s what we did! Yes, it’s more complicated than that, there are contracts with penalties for not sticking to them. These are essentially promises, they are all based on trust. Having a contract doesn’t mean you have to stick to it! There is legal recourse to enforce compliance should it not be voluntarily stuck to. But that won’t always be taken up. We trust people to do what they said they would.


I write about this due to what has been going on in March in the World Economy and in the UK political scene.


In Question Time on 23rd March, Fiona Bruce asked the audience to raise their hands if they believed Boris Johnson was telling the truth the day before. No one raised their hand. No one. He ran the country 2 Prime Ministers ago (8 months!). And yet no one believed him.


There has been a lot of fear about banks and whether they are still financially viable. Silicon Valley Bank had a run of depositors withdrawing money, and they were not liquid enough to meet the demands. They had invested in long term bonds whose value was hit by the increase in interest rates causing their capital value to fall. People stopped trusting they had enough money to meet redemption requests from depositors. As more people pulled money out, so the trust diminished further. It was necessary for the US Federal Reserve (the Central Bank of America) to step in and promise all depositors’ money would be safe to stop its insolvency. Similarly, the UK arm was in the same trouble until HSBC, a much larger bank, bought it in frantic overnight negotiations with the UK Treasury and Bank of England. All this did was restore trust. People stopped wanting their money back, confidence was restored and so there was no banking collapse. A similar story occurred in Switzerland with Credit Suisse being taken over by UBS, all to restore confidence.


It seems people around the world, in your communities, are losing trust in one another. Is this the effect of social media, where algorithms funnel content to you that you already believe in? Preying on our innate ‘confirmation bias’. That being the propensity to seek out evidence to confirm your view and ignore anything that doesn’t. If we can’t trust in our Prime Ministers, what can we trust in?


But, every bank would be in trouble and fail if all their depositors withdrew money on the same day. Everything would collapse if we all stopped believing.


But I have confidence, I have belief. Why am I ‘confident’? It’s from the Latin word ‘Confidere’ which means ‘to have full trust’. I knew my Latin A Level would come in handy one day.


We need to have trust that bank deposits will be there when we need them, otherwise we would not place money in a bank. Similarly, no loans would be possible without trust. Governments raise funding by borrowing money from investors. Investors will only lend to a government or company if they have trust that the money will be returned. The lower the level of trust, the higher the interest rate an investor will expect to receive for lending their money.


And so, the global economy goes around, with more and more trust being placed in people.

  • Companies employ people and expect their best efforts (Our people at Lucent try so hard and we love them for it)

  • Employees work most of the month only to be paid right near the end. They trust their employer will do the right thing and pay them the money they earned.

  • Companies offer a service, generally with little money up front. They trust their customer to pay upon delivery.

  • We order things online, coming from halfway across the world and we trust that the thousands of people involved in getting it to our door step will do just that.

Loss of trust leading to trusting yourself over anyone else

Over time, we experience negative things and it’s easy to place greater importance on one or two negative experiences against thousands of positive ones that you don’t notice.


Fear of trusting others due to the possible negative consequences leads you to ‘trust yourself’, that your opinion and decisions are better than others. And so, over time, you stop listening to people that have far more knowledge and experience than you. People that you should trust! Anything that goes well due to your decisions is further proof that you are brilliant and way better than anyone else! This is simply ‘Self Serving Bias’. Where you give yourself credit for great outcomes of decisions you have made. But, if there is a poor outcome, you are super forgiving of yourself. It’s easy to blame others, isn’t it? But we all know deep down, it’s actually our fault.


As you grew up, you started skipping over the road without holding anyone’s hand. You ran across. You didn’t look both ways (or any way at all, as you looked down at your phone!). Those experiences would have taught you not to bother with stop, look and listen. But you may have had a near miss or two from floating less than gracefully in the air, like my brother. These near misses reminded you to trust in the things you learned from those you trust, when you were little - their advice on crossing the road.


It’s hard to trust in someone, or something. But when you do, if you have researched thoroughly the person you are giving trust to, then you will be rewarded. The development of humanity and the global economy has all been based on trust. Your financial development is too. Be wise with who you entrust your money to, and you will be rewarded.

Everything starts with trust - friendships, love, money… Everything.

What do we trust in:

Human nature does not change (HNDNC) – We all go to work, or have done, because we want to earn money to improve our lives and the lives of those we love. And we want to get home to spend more time with them too.


These two factors are what we believe drive upward earnings of companies and why you should buy shares. Working to improve your lot, and working more efficiently so you can produce more in less time so that you can get home and spend time with those you love.

If you can work to improve the lives of others at the same time too, then that is a noble cause. One we believe we fulfil at Lucent FP.


Capitalism works as a money-generating machine – the smartest people on the planet work for businesses, and businesses are run by clever people too (Not always! But on average…). Their goal is to make money for their employees, themselves and their shareholders… see ‘HNDNC’.


Evidence – we believe in evidence. 100 years plus of it. (it’s thousands of years really, see – HNDNC). No fads, no trends, no ‘it's different this time’ (different reason, same result. Because… HNDNC).


Life is not a rehearsal – You’ve only got one life. Squeeze every last drop. You cannot do this by trying to know everything and run your own investments. To do so, you must place trust in others.


Trust is hard to give, and we need to earn it.


This is just a newsletter banging on about ‘trust’ which may be giving you doubts as to whether we deserve it.


That’s why we offer a meeting at no cost to you.


Preferably face to face, in our office. Come and meet us all and see how easy-going we are. See where we work (we own it so aren’t going to disappear overnight), maybe interact with our other clients that have been with us a while.


It’s coming up to our 14th birthday. We are a mature and successful business. Start by reading our Google Reviews. Find them yourselves using, erm, Google. There’s 60-odd. But here are a couple:


Clive Wainwright:

As boring a topic as financial services are to most people, but a serious one if they are playing with your money! - Lucent achieve the human element approach to your requirements. All staff seem team spirited and genuinely passionate in working to a collective result for your outcome. It’s as if you are in a family environment with any of their engagements. Advice is knowledgeable and services professionally explained & executed to suit your needs. Remember life is about trust in people. I would whole heartily recommend them for their services.


Frances Morgan:

Having never had any financial advice before we were recommended to Lucent by a mortgage advisor. From our first meeting with Steve about 4 years ago he completely put us at ease and explained everything in layman’s terms so we could easily understand it. We quickly decided to sign up with him because he gave us the confidence to believe that by investing our money we could achieve our goals in retirement - something we had always been uncertain about. Steve and the rest of the Lucent team we have met since then are so friendly and can never do enough for you. They have indeed become more like friends, and we never hesitate to call them if we have a concern or query about anything. We have recommended Lucent to several people since joining them and would have no hesitation in recommending them to anyone in the future.


Calbert Douglas: (I’ve put this one in purely for ego purposes 😉)

Steve Rowe! Best investment advisor on the planet. The only one I've come across that constantly reminds us to enjoy life.... and so we have been doing.

If you come to a first meeting, you need to come to the 2nd! This is the good bit.

After we have learned about you and what you want from life, we will do some work that I believe will change your life. This is chargeable, but you don’t have to pay if you think it’s a load of rubbish!


You cannot know what we do, or the value of it until you have experienced it. We will take you on our full experience which will be masses of fun and also enlightening and only then ask you to commit.


This involves trust on your part. But the worst-case scenario is you lose a total of around 3-4 hours of your time in meetings.


We trust ourselves to deliver a full body experience from head to toe: it will blow your mind and knock your socks off too!


All we ask, and trust you to do, is to be open and honest with us and let us say our piece. It’s not a trick. If, after seeing what we told you in the 2nd meeting, you don’t like it, then that’s cool. We absolutely would not want to serve you, if you felt like that. We would not be a good fit for each other and that’s OK.


We are only able to take on a few more clients unless we employ another adviser, which we are currently not planning to do. Finding good ones is hard and training good ones takes a couple of years at least. If you need a good planner, we have some spaces left for those with £500k plus or a desire to get there fast. We are expecting most of the spaces to be filled by the Autumn, and of the hundreds of families we help, we rarely have leavers. If your friends or family, indeed anyone you care about, is likely to need some help please let them know about us so we can help them whilst we are able.


For a couple of meetings, just for a chat:

Call – 0121 705 1000


Not ready for a meeting? Ubuntu!

This means ‘I am, because we are’. Our online client community launched in January and we can give you access if you want to find out more about us. You might even want to do a shout-out to our existing clients! Something like ‘what are they really like?’. It will only be temporary access, for perhaps a few months, as it's for our clients really.


There are videos of our clients talking nicely about us (if you want videos about them talking nastily, you’d probably need to go on the ‘Dark web’) and loads of other great content.


To get access to Ubuntu, email Paige at info@lucentfinancialplanning.co.uk


If you are interested in learning more about investing, then go to these spaces once you’re logged in:

· Value of Advice

· The Investor’s behaviour

· Investing Zone


Join us on a walk

Our clients join us on a rambling ramble through the countryside, sometimes with a history guide through the town. There will be 20-30 people on it normally, mainly our clients and you will be able to ask them about us, or speak informally to an adviser whilst splashing through puddles in your wellies. A great, informal, no-obligation way to get to know more about us and how we work… and have some fun along the way!


Obviously it's not all about fun and walks... here are some important financial matters to focus on too.


The Spring Budget plus amendments in the Autumn statement:


Pensions


Lifetime Allowance is being abolished, and Labour are saying they will bring it back. There are lots of ‘ifs, buts, and maybes’ about that though. We feel it’s best to make decisions on how the law stands, not one of the million ways it COULD be changed.


Annual Allowance – this is being increased to £60,000. All those that are still working and earning £100k plus should review their pension contributions.


Money Purchase Annual Allowance – Increased to £10,000. This is the maximum amount a person can pay into a pension if they have already drawn taxable income. This is only possible if you have a salary of £10,000 or more or can receive ‘employer’ pension payments.


Corporation Tax


This is rising to 25% from 19% (a 31.5% increase).

All business owners should review:

· How they take remuneration. The benefit of taking dividends may no longer exist, but it depends on the amount you are withdrawing.

· If affordable, increase employer pension payments as much as possible. This is a great way of extracting excess money from the business tax efficiently.


If you want to discuss any of the points above, or just have a general chat about your situation and how we could help, we’d love to hear from you:

Call – 0121 705 1000

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