Investment 101

As we approach a pivotal point of uncertainty in the UK economy, the gap of knowledge around economic forecasts is increasing, with many commentators now choosing to present scenarios rather than median forecasts. Many markets including real estate are correlated with economic performance, but over time correlations can change, which increases error in predicting the future. For instance, until this century, bonds had a positive correlation with equities, but more recently that relationship has been negative. A refreshing dose of reality is provided by Warren Buffet in his recent annual letter to shareholders. In this, one of the world’s most successful investors admits: ‘I have no idea as to how stocks will behave this year or next year’. Instead, he states: ‘Our thinking rather is focussed on calculating whether a portion of an attractive business is worth more than its market price.’ On top of this, he cites diversification within a single corporate structure, low overhead costs and a prudent approach to debt (as opposed to a ‘usually win, occasionally die’ approach, which ‘makes sense when you share the upside, but don’t suffer the downside’).