Monday, September 10, 2007

Book Review: The Origin of Wealth

Eric Beinhocker's critical review of traditional economic theory and his explanation of "complexity economics" was a riveting read.

Beinhocker recounts the history of the development of tradtional economic theory and explains in considerable detail why traditional economic theory does a poor job of both describing and predicting real world events. In the process of describing the beginings of a new approach (dubbed complexity economics) which draws heavily on evolutionary theory Beinhocker draws a number of conclusions regarding the process by which economic wealth is created. A number of those conclusions have implications for wealth management and financial planning (as well as a number of other issues).

One of the more thought provoking books on financial matters that I have read for some time. Highly recommended.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Monthly Review - August

My net worth decreased by 1.05% in July.

The year to date increase is 19.3%.

The return on my investments was negative with just about everything moving in the wrong direction. In some case the downward movements were due to, or made larger by, adverse currency movements.

Here are the details:

1. my unit trusts fell in value during the month;

2. my residual share portfolio was almost unchanged in local currency terms but took a beating due to adverse currency movements;

3. my investment in silver was down;

4. my tenants continued to pay the rent on time and rents continue to be higher than the expense component of the outgoings. The exception is the new flat which is being renovated. However, even though I have a small negative cash flow on the portfolio as a whole (a situation which will change once the new flat is leased) income is still higher than the expenses;

6. Expenses were moderate. The only unexpected item was being forced to pay a deposit for our Christmas holiday (!) in order to secure the booking;

7. my income during the month was at the high end of the range.

The combined effect of the combined effect of the above resulted in a 1.33% decrease in net worth at month end.

The only investment activities undertaken during the month were (i) regular monthly payments into two small cap investment funds and (ii) paying the second installment for the fit out cost of the new property.

August brought to an end my lengthy run of consectutive monthly increases in net worth.