Ethical Funds

Hedge Funds

Balanced funds

Fixed Income Funds

Equity Funds

More funds

Index Funds – Part 2

Index Funds

The Compound Effect

Is There Really No Place Like Home?

ETHICAL FUNDS

Ethical Funds

 

An ethical fund is a fund that invests in accordance with different ethical values. These types of funds are usually a type of equity fund, and their common name is SRI (Socially Responsible Investments).

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Aug 21 2019

ETHICAL FUNDS

 

An ethical fund is a fund that invests in accordance with different ethical values. These types of funds are usually a type of equity fund, and their common name is SRI (Socially Responsible Investments).

 

The companies in which the funds invest thus comply with international norms and guidelines in human rights, working conditions, environment, and corruption. An ethical fund is suitable for those who want to take a stand and help influence companies to become more sustainable and ethical.

 

Normal equity funds also have ethical rules they must follow, but ethical funds have stricter rules. It is therefore important that ethical funds have a clear investment policy and information about the criteria that apply when investing.

 

Positive and Negative Screening

 

To choose its investments ethical funds have different screening methods. These are either a positive or negative screening.

 

Positive Screening: e.g. Companies should have environmental considerations and work for increased equality (the companies work consciously to improve society).

 

Negative Screening: e.g. Avoid companies in the arms, tobacco or alcohol industries (companies have a negative impact on the individual and society). 

 

Should you only have ethical funds in your portfolio?

 

Yes, you can if you want.

 

However, be aware that ethical funds are usually equity funds, which involves high risk. If you do not want to take a high risk, you can combine ethical funds with fixed income funds (which lower your risk, but also your potential return).

 

Also, it can differentiate a lot between different ethical funds, while some are basically the same - so read on carefully before buying an ethical fund so you know exactly what it is you're saving for.

 

Important things to think about with an ethical foundation

 

As mentioned, ethical funds can differ greatly, which means that fees, risk levels, and potential returns vary widely and depend entirely on how the fund invests capital.

 

Therefore, you should always read very carefully before choosing to start saving in an ethical fund (or any other type of fund). It may also be a good idea to keep an eye on how the fund allocates the capital on an ongoing basis so that they adhere to the guidelines and regulations that have been set up.

 

The most common type of ethical funds are equity funds, but they can also be fixed-income funds, hedge funds, and mixed funds. This also means that their investment strategy can vary widely. Therefore, be sure to find an ethical fund that fits your investment philosophy.

 

In addition, we all have different opinions of what is ethical and what’s not, which is why it’s important to read about the funds so that you are sure that they are in line with your own values ​​and have the same view of ethics as you have.

 

Viktor

 

HEDGE FUNDS

Hedge Funds

 

A hedge fund is a fund with freer investment rules whose goal is to create a positive return regardless of how the market develops (so-called absolute return).

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Aug 12 2019

HEDGE FUNDS

A hedge fund is a fund with freer investment rules whose goal is to create a positive return regardless of how the market develops (so-called absolute return). They are also called market-neutral funds and were created to reduce the risk and protect the capital.

 

This type of fund is often advertised as a way to increase the portfolio's return while reducing risk. This is a difficult task, as a certain level of risk is required to generate returns. And the fact is that hedge funds as a group have not performed particularly well in recent years, and therefore received a lot of criticism.

 

Hedge funds are quite special, and the fact is that much can be different between different hedge funds. The fund's strategy controls the level of risk in the fund, and there are hedge funds with high risk but also those with low risk.

 

The management fee for a hedge fund is generally high, and additional fees may also be added depending on how well the fund performs. It is common for a large part of the total fees to be charged in the form of a so-called performance-based fee.

 

What types of hedge funds are there?

 

As I mentioned, there are a variety of different types of hedge funds, and the fact that they have very free placement rules makes it very difficult to mention all different types.

 

We would like to avoid generalizing because there is such a large variation in how a hedge fund can be structured.

 

However, if you would like to know more about what types hedge funds exist, then you can go into your bank or online broker and check which hedge funds are available there. Skim through them and read the concise version of what their overall strategy is. That way you should get a pretty good picture of which options are available to choose from.

 

Important things to consider with a hedge fund

 

They are generally expensive when it comes to the annual management fee. The majority of all hedge funds also have a performance-based fee, for example. whether they hit a benchmark or perform better than the fund's history.

 

Therefore, be sure to pay extra attention to the size of the fee, as well as any additional charges that may apply depending on whether different conditions are met. It is important to keep down the costs in the long-term, as the compounding effect applies to fees as well as gains.

 

You have to be careful when reading about hedge funds because they differ so much. They can have very different strategies and risk levels, and therefore your research becomes much more important than when, for example, you look at a stock or a fixed income fund.

 

Viktor

 

Balanced Funds

Balanced Funds

 

A balanced fund is a fund that invests in both equities and interest-bearing securities. The percentage distribution between the fund's share portion and interest rate varies between different balanced funds. Therefore, balanced funds generally have a lower risk than equity funds, but a higher risk than fixed income funds. 

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Apr 09 2019

Balanced Funds

 

A balanced fund is a fund that invests in both equities and interest-bearing securities.

 

The percentage distribution between the fund's share portion and interest rate varies between different balanced funds, and it may also vary over time within the same fund. Therefore, read what applies to the particular fund (s) that you find interesting.

This type of fund generally has a lower risk than equity funds, but a higher risk than fixed income funds. In a balanced fund, you combine a high expected return and higher risk (the share portion) with a lower expected return and lower risk (the interest portion).

What types of balanced funds are there?

What can usually set apart different balanced funds is the percentage distribution among the share portion and the interest portion of the fund.

But of course, it can also be what specific types of shares the fund owns in the share portion, and what interest-bearing securities the fund owns in the interest portion.

You should, therefore, as always, carefully read about what applies to the specific fund (s) that you find interesting and choose to look closer at.

Should one only have balanced funds in his portfolio?

When we as investors choose to create a portfolio, we should think about spreading our risks so that we are not particularly vulnerable if something occurs in an individual holding.

What is good about balanced funds is that they have a form of embedded risk diversification in the fund itself, since they own both shares and interest-bearing securities. This means that the risk decreases somewhat compared to an equity fund, while at the same time provide a potential opportunity for a higher return compared with an interest fund.

You can therefore only have balanced funds in your portfolio if you feel like it, but you can just as easily buy yourself into common equity funds and fixed income funds and choose percentage distribution yourself, and thus create your own balanced fund.

Important things to consider with a balanced fund!

It is not uncommon for the management fee of a balanced fund to be unreasonably high in relation to the total return and the risk taken (although the fees have been squeezed down some over the past few years).

The fund offering is large and there are balanced funds that offer good opportunities for good returns, but there are also those who are not worth the administration fee that you pay each year.

 

When the stock market is strong, balanced funds will most likely not go up as much and not as quickly, because they contain an interest-bearing part that does not yield such high returns. But on the other hand, it will not lose as much in value when the stock market goes down.

 

Viktor

 

Fixed Income Funds

Fixed Income Funds

 

A fixed income fund is a fund that invests in interest-bearing securities, e.g. bonds and treasury bills. They are associated with low risk, but this, in turn, means that fixed income funds usually give a very low return.

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Mar 20 2019

Fixed Income Funds

 

A fixed income fund is a fund that invests in interest-bearing securities, e.g., bonds and treasury bills.

They are associated with low risk (and are therefore often used when you want to preserve the capital you have), but this, in turn, means that fixed income funds usually give a very low return.

Thus, fixed income funds are safer than, for example. equity funds, which generally have a significantly higher risk (and which therefore give a higher expected return).

However, it is worth noting that fixed income funds can have an increased risk depending on the type of fixed income fund you choose and how the interest rate climate in the economy looks like. But in general, fixed income funds are considered an investment alternative with (very) low risk.

What types of fixed income funds are there?

Different fixed income funds invest in interest-bearing securities with varying maturities, and thus they are suitable for different investors, depending on how long the investor has intended to own the fund.

A short-term fixed income fund places the money in securities with a maturity that is less than five years. This type of fixed income fund is most suitable for short-term investments because the interest rate changes on the market affect the fund's value relatively little. It is reminiscent of a regular savings account and thus has very low risk.

An intermediate-term fixed income fund invests in securities with a maturity that is between 5 – 10 years. The risk level is between the long- and short-term because it is more sensitive than a short-term fund but less than a long-term fund.

A long-term fixed income fund invests in securities with a maturity that is longer than ten years. This type of fixed income fund is most suitable for longer-term savings as the interest rate changes affect the fund's value to a greater extent. The risk level is relatively low, but it is somewhat higher than for short-term fixed income funds, as the value of the fund may fluctuate slightly more.

Should one only have fixed income funds in his portfolio?

If you are a cautious investor who does not want to take such a high risk in your investments, you should have a large proportion of fixed income funds in your portfolio, as these funds are associated with very low risk. But then you should also be aware that it will most likely give you a very low return as well.

However, if you are prepared to take a slightly higher risk and have a long-term savings horizon (preferably at least five years), it may be a good idea to also have equity funds in the portfolio - to increase the expected return.

A good combination is to have both equity funds and fixed income funds in the portfolio.

Important things to consider with fixed income funds

You will not get a particularly high return if you own fixed income funds, but on the other hand you will not lose so much because there is very low risk in this type of fund.

However, a long-term investor should keep down the share of fixed income funds in their portfolio, as they, as mentioned, give a low return. When investing in the long-term, it is a wise idea to have equity funds because they have a higher expected return over time, which means that the compound effect will do wonders for your performance.

Viktor

 

Equity Funds

Equity Funds

 

An equity fund is as the name suggests, a fund that primarily invests in shares/stocks. You can never know in advance what returns you will get when you invest in an equity fund, but historically, stocks have been the best performing asset class when investing in the long term. 

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Mar 04 2019

Equity Funds

Because of this high performance, equity funds are associated with high risk (since stocks are risky), but since shares show a good historical return, there is still a good reason to have equity funds as part of long-term of a long-term portfolio.

What types of equity funds are there?

There are lots of different types of equity funds, and both investment focus and risk level can differ a lot. Equity funds usually have some form of explicit focus or strategy when they invest. The different focus and approach used, are often reflected in fund’s fees, also called management fee. A more actively managed fund with a more complex strategy will in general result in higher fees, but this is not always the case.

Two common directions of the focus and strategy are geographical areas (e.g. UK, Europe, North America) and industries (e.g. real estate, technology, pharmaceuticals). But there are several other types of orientations and strategies, so it is important to read what applies to the specific fund that you are interested in.

The majority of all index funds are equity funds, which then follow a specific index to create an equivalent total return. Read the blog post about Index funds for more information!

Should one only have equity funds in the portfolio?

A long-term investor who does not need the money for at least five years (preferably longer) can advantageously have equity funds in their portfolio, this because the stock market tends to always move upwards in the long run.

However, it can be shaky from time to time, and therefore it is not a good idea to only have equity funds if you do not like to take too much risk. You can choose yourself the level of equity funds that you are comfortable to have in your portfolio. Some investors, for example, split their portfolio in equity funds and fixed income funds to lower the overall risk.

Important things to consider with a stock fund

When you choose to save money in an equity fund, it is important that it is money that you can "live without." You should of course not expect your investment to lose a large part of its value, but the idea is that the money you invest should be money you can live without in your everyday life. This way you will be able to spend time in the market increasing your chances of a higher return.

You should also take a look at the fund's fee (management fee) to see how high it is and compare it with other similar funds to get an idea of whether it is a reasonable level. The fee should, of course, be as low as possible, but sometimes it can be justified with a higher fee. The best way to find out if you’re paying to much or not is merely to compare the fund to similar funds.

 

Viktor

More FUNds (2)

More FUNds

 

For the past weeks we’ve focused on Index funds, however, there are many other different types of funds that an investor should look at. This week I will, therefore, go through Equity, fixed income, balanced, hedge, and ethical funds. 

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Feb 20 2019

More FUNds (2)

Equity funds

An equity fund is a fund that primarily invests the fund's total assets in shares. The funds usually contain at least shares from 16 different companies. Equity funds may have different focuses, for example, British funds that only invest the money in shares from British companies and industry funds that only invest in shares in a single industry.

 

Fixed income funds

A fixed income fund is a fund that invests the fund's wealth in interest-bearing notes, i.e., in bonds and treasury bills. There are both short and long-term fixed income funds. The difference is that the short-term interest rate funds, called money market funds or liquidity funds, invest the money in securities with a shorter maturity than one year. The long-term fixed income funds, the so-called bond funds, invest the money in securities that last longer than one year.

 

Balanced funds

Mixed funds are, as can be heard from the name, are funds that mix both shares and interest-bearing paper. There are various variations on blends, such as 50/50 that have half of each, or blends with two-thirds of shares and one-third of interest-bearing paper, or vice versa. An example of mixed funds is the generation funds that are becoming increasingly common. They have a high proportion of shares at the beginning and the more the pension approaches, the more interest-bearing paper and the smaller the shares it will be in the fund.

 

Index funds

An index fund is a fund that follows the development of a particular index. For example, there are funds that follow the FTSE 100 index. These funds follow the development of the 100 most valued shares on the London Stock Exchange.

 

Hedge funds

A hedge fund aims to profit even when there are tough times. Hedge means protection and hedging means protecting against unexpected changes in the market. The risk varies depending on which hedge fund you choose.

 

Ethical Funds

An ethical fund invests based on special ethical requirements. They can, for example, invest in shares from companies that work actively with sustainability, or refuse to invest in shares from companies operational in military, tobacco, and alcohol.

 

Viktor

Index Funds Pros & Cons (1)

Index funds - Part 2

 

Last week we look at what an index fund is. This week we’ll take a look at how you can diversify your investments in index funds and some of the pros and cons.

 

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Feb 11 2019

Index Funds Pros & Cons (1)

Different index funds

By choosing which index funds you want to invest in, you can easily choose which markets you want exposure to. Perhaps you have a feeling that the United States is on the rise and you want to expose yourself to their stock market without putting any time into getting acquainted with different industries or companies. For example, an index fund that follows Nasdaq can be good to look at. Nasdaq has a lot of different indexes where you can look at specific industries. Then there is also an index in the US called S&P 500, which contains the 500 most traded companies in the country. This provides a very comprehensive picture of the entire economy's development in the United States.

 

 Good and bad with index funds

If we look at the advantages and disadvantages of index funds, it is about time to highlight the cost-effectiveness as one of the advantages. Some are even free. They are not actively managed like an equity fund and thus have lower costs for the bank. Many banks offer these index funds for free to bring in new customers with the hope that they will eventually lose patience and want to grow their capital faster than possible with index funds and start investing in some of the bank's actively managed funds.

Another advantage of index funds is transparency. An index fund is very simple, not to say crystal clear when it comes to you as an investor to see if you got the right price development for your money.

However, an index fund can look rather boring from an investment perspective. Take for example the FTSE 100. Here are the 100 most valued companies are included. These companies have been on the stock exchange for many years. It is unlikely that some of these companies will do anything revolutionary that will make the course soar. Instead, they will probably be quite stable. They will make reasonable dividends and invest gently. Companies that are young, innovative and who can present ideas that for stock markets to go up 60% in a week do not exist here. In the long term, they can be there, but then the market has already taken part of that upswing and when the company ends up on the FTSE 100, it is a mature company that just like its index siblings will have a fairly predictable time on the stock exchange.

Finally, it may be good to be cautious about the weight of the various companies in an index. OMXS30, for example, which is the main index in Sweden, had 40% of its weight in Ericsson in the early 2000s. This means that the index becomes very dependent on how it goes for that particular company. This undermines the purpose of the index, which was to reflect the entire stock market or to provide a cross-section of the stock exchange, market, or industry. This directly affects index funds whose idea is to follow the index.

 

If you believe in the stock market as an investment platform over time, but you want to sit back and relax - then it may be time to take a closer look at index funds. 

 

 

Viktor

Index Funds (1)

Index funds - a self-propelled investment

 

In this post, we will take a closer look index funds. What is an index fund? How does an index fund work? And how do they differ from an equity fund?

 

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Feb 7 2019

Index Funds (1)

What is an index?

Before we dig ourselves deep into different types of index funds, we must understand the concept. What is an index? An index is a list of several financial instruments, such as shares, fixed income securities, currencies, etc. The index aims to show the aggregated price movement of the instruments included in the index. One of the more common indices in the UK is The Financial Times Stock Exchange, FTSE 100, which includes the 100 most valued companies on the London Stock Exchange.

How does an index fund work?

An index fund aims to develop in line with the index it follows. An index fund for the FTSE100, for example, will yield the same return as the index's movements. However, minus the low management fees. There are a lot of stories about how an investment on the stock exchange in general beats any other forms of saving. And that the stock market tends to rise in the long term. One can see investment in an index fund as just that - an investment in the stock exchange. There are, after all, a quite large number of stories about fund managers who in the long run never performs better than the Stock market. So, a long-term investment in an index fund may be a good idea!

How does an index fund differ from an equity fund?

If you compare an index fund with an equity fund, there is a concrete difference. An equity fund is actively managed by buying and selling assets. The purpose is to beat the index and to give as high a return as possible to the risk the fund owner wants to take. An index fund is not actively managed but simply sits on the index shares in wet and dry. The purpose here is, as stated, to give the fund owner the same return as the index it mirrors.

Index Fund as part of the portfolio

An index fund is suitable for anyone who wants to invest in the stock market without actively managing a portfolio. However, there are more fun funds to invest in for those who do not want to work actively with the portfolio. But the index fund can also reduce individual companies' unexpected price declines by diluting these among the other companies.

 

Next week we’ll take a closer look at different index funds and some of the pros and cons.

 

 

Viktor

The Compound effect

The Compound Effect

 

Albert Einstein is said to have said that the compound effect is the eighth wonder of the world. I am prepared to agree, but what is the compound effect and why is it classified as a miracle?

 

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Jan 28 2019

The Compound effect

I shall illustrate this with a calculation example.

Imagine you have £1000 in a savings account, you get 10% interest on your money annually (impossible in practice at present as the highest interest rate the banks offer on savings accounts is about a few percents, but it will be easy and clear in the example). You will keep the money in the savings account for 10 years and the interest rate during these years will be a constant 10%.

How much money do you have after 10 years? Anyone who is not familiar the compound effect would probably have answered £2000. Because 10% of £1000 is £100, and that times 10 years gives us £1000 + £1000 = £2000.

But this is not how it works in real life. The actual result would have been:

 

Year 1 £1000 * 1.10 = £1100     Yield: £100

Year 2 £1100 * 1.10 = £1210     Yield: £110

Year 3 £1210 * 1.10 = £1331     Yield: £121

 

Thus, the interest rate we get increases for each year, and it also increases faster and faster because the amount that is being repaid each year becomes larger. And after 10 years the sum would have grown to £2594. (£1000 * 1.1 ^ 10)

This is a considerably higher sum than you probably imagined, and if we had saved the money for another 10 years, the sum would instead have been: £6727 (£1000 * 1.1 ^ 20). This is why you can call the compound effect for the world's eighth wonder. Every year, it increases faster and faster. The 21st year gives them 10% us £673, which is almost 7 times as much as year 1. Now try to figure out for yourself what the money would have grown to if we kept them for another 10 years (1000 * 1.1 ^ 30).

 

So, with this knowledge, don't let your money be unemployed. Put them to work and let the compound effect help you reach your goals and fulfill your dreams. Though, putting money to work and using the compound effect can be done in more ways than through a savings account. You can, among other things, buy shares or funds if you are prepared to take a risk with your money, this can also generate a higher return because we know that risk and return always go hand in hand. As explained in the previous blog post about Investment and Risk.

pexels-photo-414916

Is There Really No Place Like Home?

 

Emotions is something which should stay out of investment decisions as it often leads to human biases, which in turn can be harmful for the investments. The bias investors experience the most is home bias; a tendency to favor investments that are familiar.

 

By Martina, co-founder of Bifrost - Jan 24 2019

pexels-photo-414916

What is Home Bias?

Home bias is a type of bias an investor has when investments, such as bonds and shares, are favored and invested in a large number of domestic equities. With the multitude of variations, people are drawn towards the familiar as it seems inherently less risky. However, by putting all eggs in one basket, the risk actually increases. This is because of the correlation between a company’s performance in shares and the domestic market it operates in. Thus, less risk and larger return can be achieved through diversifying investments.

 

Diversification

Diversification aims at maximizing returns by investing in different countries, asset types, and industries. There are multiple benefits of choosing a mix of investments, and the key to long-term investment success lays in maintaining that mix. The main benefits of a diversified portfolio is not necessarily to boost performance, but to target a risk level based on time horizon, tolerance of volatility, and goals which could result in higher returns. When an investor does not diversify their investments, they will not only have higher risks, but they may also miss opportunities in faster-growing markets. Despite the many benefits of diversification, a large number of investors in all levels of experience still invest heavily in their domestic market.

 

Reasons why people are biased?

One major reason why investors make biased decisions is the difficulties in making foreign investments, including transaction costs and legal restrictions. Another reason which fosters bias is the sense of familiarity, where investors tend to favour the known over the unknown. One reason for this is that a lot of investors believe that their own country will deliver large returns. Another reason is the global uncertainty regarding the political-, economical-, and societal landscapes.

 

The home bias is a phenomenon common all over the world. An academic study from the 1980s showed how Swedes would put almost all their money into the Swedish market, despite the capitalization representing only about 1% of the world.

 

Expand Opportunities

In order to overcome this home bias, one must begin looking into foreign investment opportunities. This goes beyond looking into multinational corporations as their performance is still quite tied to the domestic market. There are industries, such as health and transportation, which are doing well all over the world and knowing in which country these will foster over the next years is impossible. Thus, owning investments in these industries all over the world will improve the chances of investment success. The best investment success can be achieved by increasing our opportunities, rather than limiting them.

pexels-photo-414916

Is There Really No Place Like Home?

Is There Really No Place Like Home?

 

Emotions is something which should stay out of investment decisions as it often leads to human biases, which in turn can be harmful for the investments. The bias investors experience the most is home bias; a tendency to favor investments that are familiar.

 

By Martina, co-founder of Bifrost - Jan 24 2019

pexels-photo-414916

What is Home Bias?

Home bias is a type of bias an investor has when investments, such as bonds and shares, are favored and invested in a large number of domestic equities. With the multitude of variations, people are drawn towards the familiar as it seems inherently less risky. However, by putting all eggs in one basket, the risk actually increases. This is because of the correlation between a company’s performance in shares and the domestic market it operates in. Thus, less risk and larger return can be achieved through diversifying investments.

 

Diversification

Diversification aims at maximizing returns by investing in different countries, asset types, and industries. There are multiple benefits of choosing a mix of investments, and the key to long-term investment success lays in maintaining that mix. The main benefits of a diversified portfolio is not necessarily to boost performance, but to target a risk level based on time horizon, tolerance of volatility, and goals which could result in higher returns. When an investor does not diversify their investments, they will not only have higher risks, but they may also miss opportunities in faster-growing markets. Despite the many benefits of diversification, a large number of investors in all levels of experience still invest heavily in their domestic market.

 

Reasons why people are biased?

One major reason why investors make biased decisions is the difficulties in making foreign investments, including transaction costs and legal restrictions. Another reason which fosters bias is the sense of familiarity, where investors tend to favour the known over the unknown. One reason for this is that a lot of investors believe that their own country will deliver large returns. Another reason is the global uncertainty regarding the political-, economical-, and societal landscapes.

 

The home bias is a phenomenon common all over the world. An academic study from the 1980s showed how Swedes would put almost all their money into the Swedish market, despite the capitalization representing only about 1% of the world.

 

Expand Opportunities

In order to overcome this home bias, one must begin looking into foreign investment opportunities. This goes beyond looking into multinational corporations as their performance is still quite tied to the domestic market. There are industries, such as health and transportation, which are doing well all over the world and knowing in which country these will foster over the next years is impossible. Thus, owning investments in these industries all over the world will improve the chances of investment success. The best investment success can be achieved by increasing our opportunities, rather than limiting them.

How To Protect Yourself From Financial Abstraction!

How To Protect Yourself From Financial Abstraction And What It Is?

In a not so recent Ted Talk, Adam Carroll explains what a $10,000 monopoly experiment taught him about finance management in a cashless society. Today I will talk about Financial Abstraction and give you some tips on how you can protect yourself.

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Dec 10 2018

When we digitalise money we lose touch with it. Our financial behavior changes and money becomes more of an idea and less of a physical object. The fact that our relationship with money changes depending on how real money is is known as financial abstraction.

The psychological distance is greater with electronic payments than with cash, which is why we tend to spend more. I believe we can agree that electronic payments such as debit card, credit card, PayPal etc. are great. It is both efficient and convenient. However, we must understand how electronic payments and for example, contactless payment affects our behavior.

All of us have probably been in a situation, in which we are carrying $10 and we refuse to spend it because it’s all we have in the wallet. Well, if you instead have the $10 on your phone and all you have to do is swipe, then it’s more inviting.

Now, how do you protect yourself from this? It might be hard to change a habit, but it is doable and I want you to succeed!

 

1.       Carry more cash

The first tip is probably self-explanatory. Using hard earned cash in its physical form, instead of paying by card of mobile will make you more aware. Even though the amount of the payment is equal regardless of the payment method you choose, you will feel a physical loss when you pay with cash. This will hopefully make you spend less

It hurts more to lose than to win. It is called Loss aversion and it refers to people’s tendency to prefer avoiding losses to acquiring equivalent gains: it is better to not lose $10 than to find $10.

 

2.       Utilize electronic payments for large purchases

Let’s say you are making a larger purchase. Maybe your buying a new tv, a rug or something that’s a bit more expensive. Anyway, when a larger purchase is made you probably feel the physical loss even though it was payed electronically.

However, if you spend anything under $10 you probably won’t. That’s why you decide to always use cash for smaller transactions. This way you will be able to skip the Starbucks coffee, because you are running low on cash.

 

3.       Have a budget for purchases with Debit/Credit Card.

If you usually pay with card, then you can try to set up a budget for purchases by card. Let’s say that you only let yourself spend a certain amount with your card and when you reach that you’ll have to use cash for the rest of the month. This has at least two benefits.

1.       If you don’t want to use cash, then you’ll stay within your budget.

2.       You’ll learn to carry cash.

Also, budgets are good, and we should all learn to co-exist with them. :)

 

 

I urge you to take a look at Adam Carrolls Ted Talk called, “When money isn’t real: the $10,000 experiment 

Marshmallow

The Marshmallow Test

THE MARSHMALLOW TEST

The psychologist Walter Mishel investigated impulse control in children and adults in a featured series of experiments, called the Marshmallow test. Is impulse control inherited or taught? Does the control of impulses lead to success? And which methods can strengthen one's impulse control?

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Nov 21 2018

Marshmallow

The test itself is simple.

·       A marshmallow is placed in front of a preschool child.

·       The researcher explains that the child is allowed to eat candy now, if he wants to, but then he will not get anymore since.

·       If the child refuses to eat candy now, he will get two pieces later.

·       Then the scientist leaves the room - "Coming soon!".

·       The child is filmed when dealing with the battle between a small short-term and a longer long-term reward.

·       The researcher measures the time the child can wait.

Hundreds of children have been tested since the 1960s and were followed up to the age of 40.

 

Predicting success

The Marshmallow test first drew attention when the preschool children were followed up as teenagers. Then it turned out that the children's Delay Ability (the ability to wait for a reward, or self-discipline) gave a good prediction of how well it went for them later.

Children who could withstand the impulse to eat their marshmallow for a while had, as teenagers, better self-esteem, better grades, better stress, used fewer drugs and alcohol, and had more friends.

Some test subjects were followed up to the age of 40, and the pattern remained. The children who had the Delay Ability became healthier and slimmer adults with higher income and better relationships.

Mischel became unhappy when this was discovered. Is it possible that a child's future is outlined at 5 years of age? Is there nothing you can do? So, he devoted the rest of his research life (He died on the 12th of September 2018) to find ways to strengthen children's and adults' Delay Ability.

 

Strategies

Hot and cold systems

Mischel's research team was dedicated not only to plaguing young children with temptations, they also tested methods to help the children resist the temptations.

Our brains have two systems that Mischel defines as “Hot System” and ”Cool System”. Hot is emotionally driven, impulsive, unconscious and Cool is logical, resonant, conscious.

The feelings in our Hot System are linked directly to action - hungry-eat, angry-fight, restless-check the email. We can’t turn off our Hot System because then we will not do anything! But most of us need to strengthen our ability to sometimes let our long-term interests control more than the short-term.

What we need are techniques to "cool down" the short-term interest so the impulse to fall for a temptation becomes weaker. In addition, we should learn to "warm up" the long-term interest so that it becomes more appealing.

 

The strategy is Cool the Now, Heat the Later.

 

Cool the Now

Mischel and his colleagues collected countless films on children who - more or less successful - struggle against the temptation to immediately eat their marshmallow. Children who managed to wait did not just sit there, they used strategies:

 

·       Invisible: They hid the marshmallow, turned their backs or shut their eyes.

·       Distraction: they played, sang and thought of something else

·       Abstraction: they pretended that the marshmallow was a picture, or something else inedible - "a fluffy cloud".

·     They disarmed their Hot System by creating psychological distance.

 

Heat the Later

In the United States, you can tell your employer how much money you want to be put into retirement each month, and many people do not put aside enough.

A marshmallow test for adults - a little money immediately or more money later.

A large company let their employees enter pension amounts in a form illustrated by a picture of themselves. Half the group saw a normal picture of themselves, while the other half saw a picture of themselves that had been manipulated to make them look as if they were 70 years old.

Those who saw the older picture put off 30% more each month than those who saw the normal picture.

The psychologist’s explanation is that it is hard to imagine yourself as an older individual and therefore won’t feel empathy for that person. Once again, creating psychological distance.

 

What we can learn from this

·       The ability to resist temptations - our Delay Ability - is already evident in pre-school age and is strongly connected with how we manage socially, economically and health-wise.

·       We can strengthen our self-discipline by properly manage our Hot System and Cool System. We can also help others to strengthen their self-discipline.

·       Two marshmallows in the future are judged by our Cool System while one marshmallow now, is judged by our Hot System. Therefore, one seems better than two, even though we know it's wrong.

·       Our Hot System can be cooled down through psychological distance. Get rid of the emotions!

·       Our Cool System can be heated with stories, pictures that create feelings.  

 

If you would like to read more about The Marshmallow test, then I suggest you buy a copy of Walter Mischel's book, "The Marshmallow Test: Understanding Self-control and How To Master It".

 

 

Financial-Geniuses

How to Create Young Financial Geniuses – pt 2

HOW TO CREATE YOUNG FINANCIAL GENIUSES - PT 2

In the first part of “How To Create Young Financial Geniuses”, we talked about the importance of financial literacy, the responsibility of parents and guardians, and how providing children with an allowance can have many benefits. This week we’ll continue on this topic with more illustrations on what to do to prepare the young and bright.

By Viktor, co-founder of Bifrost - Nov 21 2018

Financial-Geniuses

Rich Parents vs Poor Parents

No matter their background, children will need the same amount of education to understand the importance of personal finance. There is often a misunderstanding that rich kids are better at finance, and this is somewhat true, but the notion that it is the poor families that need to be financially educated is wrong. It all depends on how much families include discussion about money in their homes.

Research shows that parents’ influence is 1.5 times greater than that of financial education and more than twice that of friends. Children are primarily formed by their parents, so if there is minimal financial influence from home, they will perform worse when faced with a financial decision.

As with everything, the earlier it is introduced the bigger the impact. Here I will stop and repeat what we said in the last blog post. Financial experts recommend two things; to start early and to talk often. This will lay a behavioral foundation and provide children with an advantage, regardless of their financial status.

Just because your rich does not mean you are good with money. There are many examples of this, but a fine one is the Vanderbilts, whom in just a few generations blew through great amounts of wealth.

Investing

Saving money is important, but investing money is crucial. Saving and investing are often used interchangeably, but there is a difference between them. Saving is setting aside money for future purchases. It is money that you want to be easy and quick to access. Investing, however, is buying stocks, mutual funds, bonds, real estate etc. with the expectation that your money will grow. As your child becomes more aware of personal finance it is important that you teach them about investing, since it will give them an advantage in life.

If you deposit £1,000 in a savings account at 3 percent annual interest, it will grow to £1,806 in 20 years (before taxes). If you instead invest £1,000 in a stock mutual fund earning an average 8 percent a year, it will grow to £4,660. That is almost 2.6 times more than if it was saved in a savings account.


Resources

It can be hard to teach children financial literacy alone, especially if you do not know where to start. Luckily, we have tools within an arm’s reach to help us with this task. There are both great books and applications, which is why we will pick a few that we at Bifrost believe are good resources. There is an overwhelming number of different apps for your kids, but here are some that we like.

Apps

There is an overwhelming number of different apps for your kids, but here are some that we like.

 

Renegade Buggies

·       Available for iOS and Android

·       For kids 6+

 

”Renegade Buggies is a dynamic endless runner game with a financial literacy curriculum at its core. Learn to be financially responsible by using smart consumer strategies. Compare unit sizes, buy in bulk, and use coupons and promos along the way. Become a checkout hero by increasing your Overall Money Saved, all while racing down a high-speed track as groceries, coins, and even moving tires come your way!”

 

 

RoosterMoney: Allowance Manager & Piggy Bank App

·       Available for iOS and Android

·       For kids 3+

·       Family fun

 

“RoosterMoney is a mobile pocket money manager & piggy bank designed to help families teach their kids about money and savings goals. We’re also a chore tracker & reward chart. Available in any currency.”

Books

 

Money Doesn’t Grow on Trees: A Parent’s Guide to Raising Financially Responsible Children

This New York Times Bestseller provides parents with suggestions on how to teach their children money management from a young age. The book offers exercises and concrete examples on everything from responsible budgeting to understanding the difference between “want” and “need” for children of every age.

 

How to Turn $100 into $1,000,000: Earn! Save! Invest!

 

“Written in a humorous but informative voice that engages young readers, it’s the book that every parent who wants to raise financially savvy and unspoiled children should buy for their kids. It is packed with lively illustrations to make difficult concepts easy to understand—all as a way of building financial literacy, good decision-making, and the appreciation of a hard-earned dollar.

kids-girl-pencil-drawing-159823

How to Create Young Financial Geniuses – pt 1

HOW TO CREATE YOUNG FINANCIAL GENIUSES - PT 1

It begins at home! Finance is something which we are surrounded by and interact with on a daily basis. Yet, many people don’t learn about personal financing until they have already entered adulthood, due to its common negligence in school curriculum. Thus, it is the responsibility of parents and guardians to educate and prepare our children for the future.

By Martina, co-founder of Bifrost - Oct 29 2018

kids-girl-pencil-drawing-159823

What is money and how does it work as a medium of exchange in society? Kids begin exploring questions like these from a very young age. The concept of money is largely introduced in the homes and it develops into understanding of earnings, budgeting, and investing. As kids grow up, the basic counting knowledge of 3-5 year-olds turns into understanding of loans around senior year of high school to prepare for university studies. There are many financial terms to learn, and to avoid it being too overwhelming, while preserving the interest in the subject, it is important to consider the timing of when to introduce these topics. Talking about credit reports with a four-year-old might be a bit excessive.



Financial Literacy

The possession of skills and knowledge to make effective and informed financial decisions is known as financial literacy. The focus tend to be on personal financial education, rather than viewing the inabilities of many to manage their own finances as a broader social concern. Taking into account the successive financial scandals, such as the 2008 financial crisis, it would be preposterous to blame the individual. Therefore, it is argued that financial literacy should include bank and governmental behaviours as well.



Parents’ and Guardians’ Responsibility

While literacy is a fundamental part of the education system, financial literacy is often left out. However, there is a movement to include more finance-related courses through elementary- to high school. Yet, parents and guardians remain the primary educators in teaching children the necessary skills and knowledge to develop strong and life-long financial expertise.

 

Many adults avoid this responsibility as they themselves are unsure about their own finances. More than eight in ten parents believe it is of high importance to teach children about money, yet one in six are not comfortable initiating this conversation. The experiences and perspectives held by parents is something which children do not have. Thus, sharing this knowledge, regardless of your confidence and expertise of personal finance, will provide basic financial insights and initiate the money conversation. Money, like many other subjects, will to an extent be discussed outside of the home; commonly with friends and through social media. This may seem harmless, but there is a risk of misinformation. Thus, it is important to carry out this discussion in the home, and there are many ways to educate your children about finance. Financial experts recommend two things; to start early and to talk often.



Allowance

To provide children with an allowance can have many benefits, including the knowledge of budgeting. Budgeting is a fundamental concept in personal financing and by providing kids with an allowance, it will teach them how to handle their own finances and plan for larger purchases. However, deciding the amount to give the children as well as what will be paid for directly by the parents, can be a difficult decision to make. These decisions will be unique to each family depending on their own financial standing as well as their goals.

 

Clothing could be a good starting point; where you asses how much you spend on clothing for your children, then provide that money in allowance so that they can spend it on clothes as they wish. This is a simple starting point and can be integrated to other products or services as well, including cell phones, social activities and travels. It is important to be completely clear about what the allowance covers. In regards to clothes, does that include sports wear and school uniform, or is it strictly leisure clothes? To make certain restrictions on what is not allowed to purchase may be of interest as well.

 

It will take time for the child to learn how to budget. Therefore, it is important to consider the time scope. A year long allowance may result in all money running out by the first few months. Therefore, a good idea is to start off with frequent payouts and then begin spreading them out over time. It is recommended to start giving your kids an allowance when they begin grasping the concept of it, which is around five years of age. This will introduce them to the concept of money and budgeting at an early stage.

lamp-halloween-lantern-pumpkin

October is a Spooky Month for Investors

OCTOBER IS A SPOOKY MONTH FOR INVESTORS

Halloween season is here, and that means we’re in a historical month for stock market crashes. The Great Crash of October 1929 (Black Monday) and the 23-percent one-day crash of October 19th 1989 (Black Tuesday), to mention a few. October is associated with some scary memories of investors.

By Martina, co-founder of Bifrost - Oct 22 2018

lamp-halloween-lantern-pumpkin

Boo! October is here. One of the most feared months in the financial calendar, known as the October effect. A theory regarding stocks declining during this month. It is mainly considered a psychological expectation rather than an actual phenomenon, but there are past examples supporting the theory. These events are, however, few although bearing large consequences.

 

The events which have given October it’s bad reputation over the past century include:

 

The Panic of 1907 (October 1907) - The first global financial crisis of the 20th century which led to the creation of the Federal Reserve System by inspiring the monetary reform movement.

 

Black Tuesday, Thursday and Monday (October 1929) - The Great Depression, affected by a crash in the stock market, lasted for 10 years and left a big mark on the world. Central banks have since learned and gained knowledge of how to utilize monetary policies to manage the economy in order to prevent an event like this to occur again.

 

Black Monday (October 1987) - One of the largest one-day market crash in history, where the Dow lost its value  by 22.6% on October 19th. As a result, a system of circuit breakers was implemented to prevent stocks which plummet too quickly from being traded.

 

These events have cause traders to be particularly nervous in the month of October. This October, the S&P 500 dropped 5% in hours with an average down of 4% at the end of the second week of October. The market did, however, rise 2% last Tuesday. The uncertainty still remains with little over a week left of this month. Especially considering the rising anxiety about the looming trade war with China.

 

Why October? According to market historians, the financial woes could be linked to the crop cycles. October meant harvest season and thus large amounts of money would leave the banks for purchasing of food and grains, resulting in pressures on the financial markets. Consequenting in a higher vulnerability to panics.

 

However, this does not explain the modern October phenomenon. Instead, some argue that the harvesting season has been replaced by the earnings season. In October, a majority of public traded companies release their 3rd quarterly earning report and provide outlooks for the 4th quarter as well as the upcoming fiscal year. These reports provide information on corporate profitability, and thus insights on the state of the economy. In other words, if an economy is growing, that should be reflected in the companies’ revenue streams. For our current market insights, this October is reporting a strong third quarter.

 

In fact, there have been more historical downs occurring in the month of September. For example, The Financial Crisis of 2008, the worst economic disaster since The Great Depression of 1929, began with the bankruptcy of the Lehman Brothers on September 15, 2007.

 

Despite the positive outlooks of the latest quarterly reports, financial headlines keep warning us about the stock market heading towards another crash. Historically, we are currently in one of the longest-running bull market with over nine years and counting. The household wealth is exceeding the household income, which could be signaling another crash. In the UK, the British households grow less confident about their finances as the October earnings from employment rose at its weakest rate since February. This is just one out of many examples which should alarm anyone with substantial amount of personal wealth in stocks. The bull market will eventually reach an end, and the question is when?

 

One of the most effective ways to avoid severe consequences when the market is churning, is to follow one of the main investment rules: to diversify systematically. Meaning that you should not put all of your eggs in one basket and ensure the baskets are of different materials. It is not the quantity of investments options held, rather it has to do with carefully spreading your assets, avoiding duplicates.

About Bifröst

Bifröst connects investors with wealth managers. We offer personalized advice from licensed experts in the industry to provide a simple and tailored investment experience.

Risk Warning: As with all investing, your capital is at risk. The value of your portfolio can go down as well as up and you may get back less than you invest. It’s important you understand the risk before making investment decisions. Historical returns are no guarantee of future returns.

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