Study findings: Women are better investors than men

January 30, 2012

Women are better wired than men to avoid emotionally driven investing mistakes. This is according to recent studies,  which indicated that women are better investors than men.

These findings are attributed to certain behavioural traits of both sexes and it seems women are doing it better.

Studies have been conducted which examine the behavioural traits of men and women, specifically regarding investments, and whilst some of the results have been predictable, others have been most enlightening.

It has been shown that women have higher emotional intelligence than men. This is unlikely to surprise most readers. However, it is the application of this superiority to investing that might be novel. The realisation has struck that investing is as much about human behaviour as it is about analysis – it is as much art as it is science. In fact, a whole field of study called “behavioural finance” has been born of this realisation. Any person having the ability to interpret or, indeed, anticipate human behaviour in the investment markets has an advantage.

Women trade less than men (on average, 45% less according to an American study). This sounds innocuous enough until one considers that trading incurs costs, and costs erode returns. As a result, men earn almost 1% less per annum on their portfolios than women. Whilst apparently paltry, this translates into a 22% wealth advantage over a 20 year investment term. Single women have an even more profound advantage over single men: bachelors trade 67% more than their fairer counterparts, and earn returns almost 1.5% per annum less for it!

Men are overconfident in their own abilities. They have a tendency to take too much credit for their own successes. They have a belief that returns are more predictable and so they expect higher returns. Women are more conservative, more intuitive and have a greater sense of urgency. Consequently women are less afflicted by inappropriate risks, “analysis paralysis” and bad timing.

Further to this, women are less encumbered by ego and as such they have no need to feign knowledge where they don’t have it. As a result, women free themselves to ask more questions and more questions facilitate better detection of charlatanism. Satisfactory answers to more questions create well-founded expectations and more comprehensive understanding of the role and consequences of a selected course of action.

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LDP- Wine of the Week: Neethlingshof Gewürztraminer 2011

January 20, 2012

Our Wine of the week is the Neethlingshof Gewürztraminer 2011.

This wine has a bright straw colour with aromas of Turkish delight, jasmine and honeysuckle. Spicy, off-dry with an abundance of litchi flavours.

Click here  for the full tasting notes

Small business: Keeping track of your finances

January 19, 2012

Managing finances are sometimes overseen by business owners as core business (operational) issues are regarded as more important and urget.

But, if you don’t keep track of how much money you’re making, you have no idea whether your business is successful or not. You can’t tell how well your marketing is working. You need to know what your net profit is. If you don’t, there’s no way you can know how to increase it.

To be successful in business, you need to make a financial plan and check it against the facts on a monthly basis, then take immediate action to correct any problems. Here are a few steps you should take:

Create a Financial Plan: Estimate how much revenue you expect to bring in each month, and project what your expenses will be. If you need it, get help from business planning books, software, or an accountant.

Review the Plan Monthly: Even if time is taken to prepare a financial plan with profit and loss projections, it often sits in a desk drawer. It’s not enough to have a plan — you have to review it regularly.

Lost Profits Can’t be Recovered: When comparing your projections to reality and finding earnings too low or expenses too high, the conclusion often is, “I’ll make it up later.” The problem is that you really can’t make it up later; every month profits are too low is a month that is gone forever.

Make Adjustments Right Away: If revenues are lower than expected, increase efforts in sales and marketing or look for ways to increase your rates. If overhead costs are too high, find ways to cut back. There are other businesses like yours around. What is their secret for operating profitably?

Think Before you Spend: When considering any new business expense, including marketing and sales activities, evaluate the increased earnings you expect to bring in against its cost before you proceed to make a purchase. You can often increase your profitability simply by delaying expenses to a later month, quarter, or year.

Don’t be Afraid to Hire: Retailers and restaurateurs wouldn’t consider operating without employees, but many service businesses limit themselves by being understaffed. Almost any business can benefit from hired or contracted help. You can better use your talents for generating revenue than for running errands and filing.


Business Golf Etiquette

January 11, 2012

The business of business golf etiquette is a delicate one. Whether you’re playing with a coworker who is a good friend or an intimidating boss, you want to enjoy the experience while still maintaining a relaxed and professional relationship.

Whether you extend the invitation or are the invited, make sure you arrive at least 30 minutes before your tee time so you can get settled by checking in with the pro shop and maybe purchasing some practice balls  for yourself and your partner.

Getting to the Course
If you are doing the inviting, make sure your partner knows how to get to the course and understands any fee structures if you are requiring him to pay. If you have not been to the course before, call the pro shop and ask what clothing options are acceptable and get a rundown of amenities such as locker rooms.

Courtesy First
Be sure to extend every courtesy to your partner. Insist on buying the first round of drinks and snacks from the beverage cart. Always compliment your partner on a good shot and offer a brief consolation or none at all after a poor shot from your partner.

Benefit of the Doubt
Never question your partner’s integrity on the course. If he is blatantly cheating, let him have his way. If he is particularly slow, do not hurry him. If he offers unsolicited advice, accept it graciously.

The Bet
If your partner wants to place a wager on your round, accept it and do not get into an intense discussion about the rules of the contest. To put yourself at ease, consider it money that is being spent as an investment in strengthening a business relationship.

19th hole
If you and your partner decide to enjoy a beverage after the round, be sure to buy the first round, and be careful to not drink too much or to discuss your workplace or coworkers too much.


Business Trip Tips

January 5, 2012

So you’re going on another business trip… but don’t let bad past experiences jade you. Work travel can be a career and personal growth booster. Here’s how.

While the chance to escape from the office environment may be a welcome reprieve, a domestic business trip often brings new challenges and limited relaxation. Yet, proper preparation and time management can maximise business travel benefits. We get advice from Brent Combrink, who owns Cape Town-based company ProMentor, coaching and mentoring executives and entrepreneurs throughout South Africa.

Before you leave
Start your trip on a good note by ensuring that you have attended to all details before you leave. Combrink suggests the following preparation tasks:
• Change office voice mail intros.
• Activate out of office auto-response on email.
• Take your ID book (or passport for international travel) and all travel reference vouchers, including flight, car hire and hotel documents.
• Enjoy special time with family before you leave.
• ensure that all relevant clients have been informed that you will be away.
• Complete all urgent work tasks so that you are not inundated when you return.

Maximise time
Always ensure that you have your laptop with you so that you can work during flight delays and after take-off on flights. Otherwise use this time to unwind as you mentally prepare for the trip ahead.

When it comes to time management, Combrink stresses the importance of scheduling appointments. “When I go on business trips, I ensure my schedule is booked at least a week in advance with back-to-back appointments,” says Combrink. “After hours I visit relatives and associates, or I often work in the evenings.”

Work trips can also be a way of expanding your client base. “Schedule as many sales appointments as you can around existing client appointments, even if that means doing coffee at 7pm,” suggests Combrink. “You can also reconnect with past colleagues to keep the network healthy.”

Claiming back expenses
If you’re not a business trip veteran, investigate what expenses you can claim back from your company. According to Combrink, you should generally claim for any expenses you may not have incurred had you not been on a business trip. These include dinners, parking expenses, airport transfers, and so on. While it is a good idea to keep slips, SARS allows a tax-free R240* “subsistence allowance” per night out of town for domestic travel without needing proof of payment vouchers.

Ensuring success
Combrink provides the following tips to make your business trip a successful one:
• Have a checklist for items you need to pack.
• Have everything (travel, accommodation, appointments) booked well in advance.
• Cover your risks: get travel insurance for big trips. When clients finance your trip, have written agreements that they either pay for the travel directly (avoids impact on cashflow for contractors and small businesses) or ensure that the client is liable for trips that they need to move or cancel.
• Have a good support structure for whatever needs to happen back home, whether it’s a reliable, self-managing PA at the office or someone to take care of things at your house.
• Mix business and pleasure; make time for sightseeing or enjoying something unique in the town that you can’t do at home.

This article was written by Gillian Bloch