Articles | Business Finance & Advisory Services | Merchant West


Volatility, actually, is always expected
15 April 2020

When people act like the financial world is falling apart, it’s helpful to remember that volatility is normal, and there are simple things you can do to pursue a better investment experience.

Recently, the market has shown a lot of volatility (mostly downside volatility). This is often very unnerving and distressing, even when you have a solid plan backed up by an investment philosophy you believe in. For much of the time, it feels good to know that if you are a long-term investor, you can go about your life with the confidence true conviction brings. But of course, when everyone else is acting like the world is collapsing, it can be very helpful and soothing to remember a few things.

The Need for a Will
07 April 2020

We are certainly living though unprecedented times in South Africa as we are confined to our homes in order to stop the COVID-19 virus that is rapidly spreading across the world. Not only is it affecting our movements, our ability to socialize and work, but it is also having a significant impact on our economy and the strength of our currency. What will happen next? Who knows? No one can predict how far this virus will span or the exact impact it will have on all of our lives. Although, what we do know is that now more than ever, it is imperative to plan for any outcome or possibility. Even in the best of times, the basics of estate planning should be done by every single person, and that includes signing a Will and planning for the cash needs of your family immediately after your death.

Rules of thumb for planning your retirement. Are you quite sure?
01 April 2020

Recently, I came across an article relating to how much income retirees require for retirement, relative to their previous earnings. According to the article, the correct amount is 70-80% of pre-retirement income. It certainly is not the first time this number has been used – but is it correct, and where does it come from?

In our experience and from the reading we’ve done, the estimated range is enormous. In one research report, respondents were asked to outline the lifestyle they expected in retirement irrespective of what they were earning. It revealed that on average they needed 130% of pre-retirement income. I suspect that the rule of thumb regarding how much you need for retirement has come from how much most people have accumulated, not what kind of lives they really want.

How robust is your financial plan? Dealing with COVID-19
26 March 2020

It is 26 March 2020. At midnight tonight we enter an unprecedented lock down in our country’s history. The coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak which started in Wuhan, China has brought back unpleasant memories of the SARS outbreak in 2002 and the MERS outbreak in 2012, both of which had resulted in investor stress, anxiety and fear. Most of the concerns centred around whether their investments can withstand the short-term market fluctuations and volatility as well as not knowing how long this uncertainty would last. Global and local equity and credit markets have sold off significantly; the S&P experienced the fastest 30% fall in its history. Think about that! 

In South Africa and elsewhere globally, the authorities have implemented measures to minimise the spread of COVID-19 in their respective countries and help stem the global spread of the virus. These include putting in place controls on the entry of visitors into many developed and affected nations.