18th May 2023

We all make mistakes, some bigger than others. Mine was being beguiled by oil shares many years ago, having taken a tip from an old friend. As investors waited impatiently for companies to strike oil in the Outer Hebrides and Falkland Isles, we bought more shares, so prices shot up further in anticipation of making a fortune, and investors got totally carried away in the mele. It’s what they call the fear of missing out or ‘FOMO’ if you like acronyms. Then the dreaded day came when they all hit ‘dusters’ and no-one spoke of it again.

Then there was the African gold mine ‘100 bagger’ they said, well now it’s just a hole in the ground along with the one in my pocket. Those experiences are the best but most painful of lessons, as you learn ‘buy on fact and sell on rumour’.

Bitcoin and cryptocurrency have taken over from all of that, but we won’t go there will we! Some poor chap in Newport is still trying to find his computer hard drive that he accidentally threw on the tip, to find his crypto coding went with it, along with a couple of million, allegedly.

Human nature can be quite perverse. We actually like to hear disastrous stories as it makes us feel better as we were not the ones to lose out or feel foolish. That’s the reason why you only hear about bets on winning horses and seldom on losers.

Buy value art in an auction they said. I bought an original Luis Wain at a tasty price and hung it in pride of place for years. At a recent valuation they said it was a fake! God you cannot trust anyone!

I always chuckle when I think of the man who built a boat in his garage which proved too big to get out through the doors. Then nearer to home my ex-gardener who put a new chain on the chainsaw back to front, and then took it to Newton Mowers claiming it was blunt.

So what’s the moral coming out of this? If you are going to do or buy anything important, seek expert advice. Don’t be a gambler and don’t take tips from strangers and especially not from friends. If you ever go onto blogging sites for investment tips, they like to warn you to do your own research ‘DYOR’.

Me, I’d find a financial advisor these days, as it happens it’s my daughter Pippa, she’s more qualified than me!

Philip Vaughan is a Director at Abacus Assurance Financial Services Ltd Porthcawl 01656 772222