No matter our age, most of us would probably look back on some aspects of our lives and say to ourselves: “If only I could do that again; if only I had a second chance”.

This, of course, tends to occur quite frequently in regards to our investing and saving.

Often, we regret not giving enough attention in the past to our personal financial planning, not beginning to invest regularly from early in our working lives and not adequately diversifying our portfolios.

And most of us probably have made investments that we wouldn’t have touched in hindsight.

Just think about what you may have done differently with your investing and your financial planning if you had a second chance. This may help guide what you do in future.

A Vanguard study published earlier this year included a survey of more than 700 Australians aged 55-75 who had retired within the past 10 years, asking what they would have done differently with preparing for their retirement.

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many of these recent retirees strongly believe that they should have saved more (45 per cent of survey respondents), begun planning earlier for retirement (36 per cent) and spent more time on retirement planning (28 per cent).

In line with this what-would-I-do differently theme, online investment newsletter Cuffelinks published an excellent looking-back article a few months ago for its 200th issue.

Cuffelinks asked 37 well-known investment and economic specialists: “What investment insights would you give your 20-year-old self if you could go back in time?”

Their responses included: keep a budget, make the most of compounding returns, start saving and investing early, understand the relationship between risk and return (the higher the potential return, the higher the potential risk), hold a diversified portfolio, set an appropriate strategic asset allocation and understand that investment markets move in cycles.

And other responses included: avoid emotional-investment decisions, avoid chasing the investment herd, block out dist

racting market “noise” and don’t pay excessive fund management fees. Another twist on looking back for investors comes from US personal finance author Paul Brown. It’s been 30 years since Brown, who is over 60, wrote his first book on saving for retirement.

As he enters the popular age group for retirement, Brown asked himself in a New York Times article if his advice may have changed over the past three decades given his real-world experience.

“No, I wouldn’t change any of the advice,” Brown writes. “I told people to start saving aggressively while they’re still young and to diversify their holdings. It was good counsel then and it is good counsel today.

“I also remain a steadfast believer in index funds and in keeping investment costs as low as possible,” he adds. “That’s how I have invested just about all of my retirement savings.”

Yet based on his experiences, Brown says he would have added “not only more empathy but more real-world advice”.

Two of his additional suggestions are to extend your working life, if possible, past conventional retirement ages and save more than you think you need because life doesn’t always go according to plan.

It can be a valuable exercise to think about what we would have done differently as investors if given a second chance.

When looking back, however, watch out for the trap of becoming overly focussed on a past investment loss; it could impede your willingness to take appropriate risks in the future, as behavioural economists warn us.

Please contact us on 9836 8399 if you seek further assitance .

 Source : Vanguard 10 November 2017 

Written by Robin Bowerman, Head of Market Strategy and Communications at Vanguard.

Reproduced with permission of Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd

Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd (ABN 72 072 881 086 / AFS Licence 227263) is the product issuer. We have not taken yours and your clients’ circumstances into account when preparing this material so it may not be applicable to the particular situation you are considering. You should consider your circumstances and our Product Disclosure Statement (PDS) or Prospectus before making any investment decision. You can access our PDS or Prospectus online or by calling us. This material was prepared in good faith and we accept no liability for any errors or omissions. Past performance is not an indication of future performance.

© 2017 Vanguard Investments Australia Ltd. All rights reserved.

Any information provided by the author detailed above is separate and external to our business and our Licensee. Neither our business, nor our Licensee take any responsibility for any action or any service provided by the author.

Any links have been provided with permission for information purposes only and will take you to external websites, which are not connected to our company in any way. Note: Our company does not endorse and is not responsible for the accuracy of the contents/information contained within the linked site(s) accessible from this page.