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Failure is inevitable

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By Michael O’Connor

Successful investing is about learning from your mistakes... or mine!

Last week I shared a story about one of my friends who had lost a sizeable amount following an ill-informed yet entirely commonplace investing blunder. This week, to even up the playing field, I thought it would be only fair to go through some of my own hideous investments.

One of my first meaningful investments was into a cryptocurrency called Ripple (XRP) in late 2017. Armed with little-to-no understanding of the crypto space and about an hour of research, I decided that a $2,000 position was the only logical next step. My investment thesis at the time went something like this.

"It was trading at 20c a coin three weeks ago, and now it's at $2.20. If it continues like this, I'll be a millionaire by Easter."

It started off well, jumping from $2.20 to $3.30 a coin. A 30% jump in just a matter of days. My genius clearly knew no bounds.

The subsequent three months were somewhat less successful; it was a cataclysmic disaster, to put it mildly. The price did a vertical nosedive from $3.40 to $0.5c in a matter of weeks. My guaranteed millions had turned into a significant loss during a time when I definitely couldn't afford a 'significant loss'.. I was paying rent in Dublin at the time… enough said.

Another of my most memorable investing blunders is one I have discussed previously. This ended much more successfully but honestly haunts me far more than any loss ever will.

I purchased the much-beloved Canadian E-Commerce company 'Shopify' in late 2018 and sold after doubling my money just a few months later. I then watched on from the sidelines with tears in my eyes as Shopify went on one of the most relentless runs I have ever seen from a Large Cap company, a 20X jump from the day I purchased.

It may seem strange that I spend so much time regaling investing horror stories, given that my overall goal is to encourage and help people to start investing. Still, there is a couple of important universal take-aways from these personal anecdotes.

Nobody gets it right all the time

You simply need to be right more often than you are wrong. Casinos are heralded as money-making machines but only win 54% of the time. Not every investing position will be a winner. You will be wrong plenty of times during the course of your investing journey, and that's perfectly fine.

It's always important to highlight failures. We are all human. Modern technology has ensured that we are berated by personal highlight reels on a daily basis. Skills are advertised, flaws are hidden. We have a societal tendency to describe successful investors as having guru-like powers. This 'pedestal culture' means everyone else looks at them and says, "I could never do that", which is unfortunate because more people would be willing to try if they knew that those they admire are probably ordinary people who played the odds right. I know this held me back for longer than I care to admit.

"When you are keenly aware of your own struggles but blind to others", it's easy to assume you're missing some skill or secret that others have" – Morgan Housel.

Don't let fear of failure stop you from getting started. Learn by doing. I have learned a lot from all my investing mistakes, and they have ultimately made me more successful over time. While I am acutely aware that this sounds like something you would pull out of a fortune cookie at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet, it still stands true.

Start small but start now.

To learn how to start your own investing journey, visit www.theislandinvestor.com.

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What kind of insurance cover do offices need?

By John Healy of Healy Insurances As the COVID restrictions are eased and workers return to offices what kind of insurance cover do offices need? A broad outline of covers would include: Material damage cover for buildings: fixtures and fittings, stock, computers and equipment, and other assets that your business owns. Covers will include fire, […]

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By John Healy of Healy Insurances

As the COVID restrictions are eased and workers return to offices what kind of insurance cover do offices need?

A broad outline of covers would include:

Material damage cover for buildings: fixtures and fittings, stock, computers and equipment, and other assets that your business owns. Covers will include fire, flood, escape of water, theft, and storm amongst other perils. Cover extensions are available such as fire brigade charges, signage and equipment in transit.

Money cover: Loss of money cover is usually standard up to €5,000 for cash and cheques. The amount of cash covered can be increased depending on safe and security details. Personal assault cover can be included when carrying cash to the bank.

Employers, Public and Products Liability: All office and surgery policies include liability cover. Employer’s Liability is covered up to €13 million and can be rated on employee numbers and/or wages. Worldwide cover can be arranged for employees working temporarily overseas.

Public liability: covers your legal liability in the event that you are negligent and required to pay compensation for bodily injuries or damage to third party property. Projected turnover will determine the rate charged. Products liability provides cover if a third party is injured by a product that you have sold.

Business interruption: covers consequential loss of gross profits following an insured event such as a fire. It is important to review your gross profits sum insured on an annual basis. Some office policies are written on a gross annual fees basis rather than gross profit so it is vital to get the correct advice.

Other covers available can include computer breakdown, cyber insurance, employer’s liability extension for a locum medical practitioner, personal accident, commercial legal protection, Revenue Commissioners investigations and many more. Many businesses will require professional indemnity in addition to an office policy.

A robust risk management structure can achieve more attractive rates and should include annual health and safety statement reviews, fire safety procedures, CCTV usage, and risk assessments.

Your policy should be tailored to your individual needs, so it pays to get expert advice from professionals who take the time to understand your business.

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House prices are 9.1% higher than a year ago

By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY The Daft.ie house price report for Q3 2021 has just been published and it shows that house prices rose by 1% between June and September this year – and are now 9.1% higher than a year ago. Over the last number of years, property search engine Daft.ie has collected a […]

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By Ted Healy of DNG TED HEALY

The Daft.ie house price report for Q3 2021 has just been published and it shows that house prices rose by 1% between June and September this year – and are now 9.1% higher than a year ago.

Over the last number of years, property search engine Daft.ie has collected a vast amount of data on the Irish property market. Each year tens of thousands of properties for sale or rent are advertised on the site.

Some of the key findings of the recent report are:

* House prices are now 9% higher than a year ago – which is an increase of €23,954 in only 12 months
* Inflation outside cities is highest, with prices rising by 13%
* The total number of properties available to buy on September 1 was just below 12,700, up slightly from levels recorded earlier in the year, but one of the lowest figures recorded since the rise of advertising properties for sale online
* The average price nationwide in the third quarter of 2021 was €287,704, 22% below the Celtic Tiger peak but three quarters above its lowest point in 2012.

The national trend hides regional differences. In Dublin, prices rose by 4.9% in the year to September, the slowest rate of inflation in a year. In the other major cities, prices rose by similar magnitudes – from 3.1% year-on-year in Galway to 8.4% in Limerick city. Outside the main cities, inflation remains significantly higher, with prices rising by an average of 12.9% year-on-year. The largest annual increases were in Mayo and Leitrim, where prices are more than 20% above their level a year ago.

Despite an uptick in listings, the total availability of homes for sale nationwide on September 1 was one third lower than the same date a year earlier and a little over half the amount for sale in September 2019.

Across Munster, listed prices increased by an average of 1.2% between July and September, down from 8.5% in the previous quarter

The jump in prices in Q2 means that prices in Munster are now 13.6% higher than a year previously.
There were just over 3,800 properties on the market in Munster on September 1, down from 5,600 on the same date a year ago.

Reflecting the impact of COVID-19 last year, there were 22% more transactions in Munster in the six months to July 2021 than the same period a year earlier: 6,455 compared to 5,286.

“It appears inflation has eased a bit and there has been a modest improvement in the number of homes available to buy,” Ted Healy of DNG Ted Healy said. “However, the underlying issues remain. The stock for sale remains well below pre-COVID-19 levels, while many parts of the country are still seeing prices that are at least 10% higher than a year ago. Additional supply remains key to solving Ireland’s chronic housing shortage. The Government’s ‘Housing for All’ plan contains a welcome boost in social housing activity but rising construction costs, the key determinant of viability, simply must be addressed.”

Average list price and year-on-year change – major cities, 2021 Q3

Dublin City: €399,323 – up 4.9%
Cork City: €307,464 – up 5.8%
Galway City: €316,060 – up 3.1%
Limerick City: €230,585 – up 8.4%
Waterford City: €204,759 – up 6.3%

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