My doctor retired a few years ago. He used to have a clinic in one of the old Victorian buildings in the village. It was up a couple of flights of stairs.

‘If you can make it up those stairs, you don’t need to see me!’ he’d say.

I thought about this recently. I heard about an older couple planning to head south to pick cherries in their retirement. They would live the dream. And cycle around the countryside with baskets of cherries.

Boy, the reality was quite different. They didn’t last a week before complaining of back pain. And ‘slave labour’. Returning to the city in short order to recover in cafés.

As we age, the choices we make and the purpose we find have a huge impact on our happiness and prosperity. So, too, does our decisions on investment. What we invest in. And how we invest.



Wendy and Jim’s story


I met this couple a few months ago (not their real names).

Approaching retirement, they were considering expanding their share investing. Beyond a few small holdings.

They’d enjoyed great incomes throughout their working lives. Yet, short of a mortgage-free home and several hundred thousand in the bank, didn’t have a fortune to show for that.

Well, not compared to others I know. Who’ve earned less but have the same. Plus a multimillion-dollar share portfolio.

Wendy and Jim have no children. They enjoy nice cars. And business-class travel.

Over the years, they still enjoyed plenty of surplus to save. But they were afraid of risk. And saved everything in the bank.

Compare that to Nick and Deb of a similar age. Decade-old solid vehicles. Local holidays at B&Bs. Cycling and reading. But the freedom for much more now, with a share portfolio over $2 million.

They didn’t always have loads of spare money. But they contributed to risk-managed investments.

Sure, frugal people tend to keep more. But the $1.5 million+ difference at retirement between Wendy and Deb comes down to good investing.

This becomes very relevant as the grip of inflation starts strangling spending power.


Optimising your choices


If you want to succeed in a chosen field, it pays to go find those who are doing that. And recognise those who are not.

Action has as much consequence as inaction.

Want to live a long and healthy life? Don’t follow fat people watching too much TV and eating fried chicken four times a week.

Take a leaf out of the food and life menu of Sardinia. The large Italian island with the highest percentage of people who live to 100 or beyond.


Sardinia, where people reach 100 at twice the normal rate. Source: Tour Counsel


It starts with a Mediterranean diet.

Plenty of fruit, vegetables, nuts, wholegrains, extra-virgin olive oil, fish, and a glass or two of red wine per day. Dairy with less fat. (Mozzarella has much less fat than cheddar). Red meat as a special day food — once or twice a week.

But it’s also about family values and purpose.

Go into a restaurant in rural Italy. You’ll see children eating with their parents and grandparents. I was once given ‘dessert on the house’ after declining to order it for my children.

This gets harder where families often live in different cities or countries.

The biggest risk I see for retirement is a step away from active purpose. Then people lose their social support networks. Just because formal work ends, that doesn’t mean daily purpose needs to die with it. A retired accountant, for example, could add huge value by volunteering at their local budgeting-help service.

If you retire at 65, you might still have 30 years. That’s a long time. Like the period 25 to 55. You want to figure out how to optimise that time.

Set a purpose.



Optimising your investing


When it comes to investing, my teachers have been Warren Buffett and Charlie Munger.

They don’t always get it right. Most of their success has come from being in the market a very long time. But if there’s one route to doubling your money two or three times a decade, it’s probably this:

A market downturn doesn’t bother us. It is an opportunity to increase our ownership of great companies with great management at good prices.’

—Warren Buffett

Plain and simple. You make money when you buy. Especially when there’s quality and opportunity on the table.

You just need to keep plugging away. Trying things. Deliberately stumbling on what works.

Actually, when it comes to investing in stocks, most don’t work. Most are pretty middling. They survive. Throw off some dividends. But seldom deliver 45% next year.

But, as Buffett’s experience shows, you only need a few really strong picks to lift a whole portfolio.

Our purpose is to help identify those companies and trends that give a prosperity boost.

And to help our clients enjoy all the benefits from smart investing while protecting the downside.

For more news into the opportunities we’re looking at right now — opportunities beyond the radar — I encourage you to take out a Premium Subscription today.



Simon Angelo

Editor, Wealth Morning

 (This article is general in nature and should not be construed as any financial or investment advice. To obtain guidance for your specific situation, please seek independent financial advice.)