We ask Apelles Poh, Certified financial planner, author and motivational speaker some questions that new investors may ask.

What is the best investment advice you have received?

One of the best advice I have received is that stock markets will always rise over the long term as consumption (quantity and quality) and productivity increases.

In addition, the very essence of the human spirit and our ability to innovate and desire to “make things better” also help economies and companies grow. This is why I believe that equities will outperform bonds and bonds will outperform cash, over the long term. This core belief helps me to remain calm when markets are down.


What do you think are the first steps for new investors?

I cannot stress enough the importance of investor education – it makes the investor less likely to be influenced by their emotions when investing. I believe that there are seven key principles which can guide investors:

  • Diversify

    Don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

  • Cash is not king

    It gets eroded by inflation, the greatest risk of all.

  • Practise dollar cost averaging

    Take advantage of market corrections (and markets will correct!)

  • Exercise prudence

    Invest after short term and emergency needs are met.

  • Understand risk and reward

    There can be no reward without taking some risks.

  • Have patience

    It’s time in the market, not timing the market.

  • Be realistic

    Markets will be volatile and fall, but history also shows that markets can recover.


How does one pick the “right” financial adviser?

It is important that your financial adviser provides you with a holistic view and shows how all your individual investments, including insurance policies, fit together to help meet your financial goals, whether it is buying a new house, setting aside money for your children’s education or preparing for retirement.

In a way, it is like seeing how the different pieces fit in a jigsaw puzzle and identifying the gaps. This also means that you will need to provide enough and relevant information for your adviser to come up with the proper “diagnosis”. This may be challenging for some investors. However, without proper diagnosis, the prescription would not be accurate. Product solutions should come last!