1.       Clear Goals – an understanding of how much money you need to live the life you want to live in the future.

2.       Asset Allocation – the proportion of shares that you hold to bonds is the most important driver of returns.

3.       Regular Rebalancing – making sure that your portfolio does not become riskier than you had intended.

4.       Lowering Costs – a £1 reduction in cost is the same as a £1 extra return.

5.       Behavioural Finance – learning to control your investing emotions

6.       Spending Strategy – generally withdrawing from taxable investments first.

7.       Total Return Investing – focusing on both income and capital return.

Keeping an eye on all of these factors is a bit like spinning plates. Most of us can’t manage it, but some experts, with skill, knowledge and training can.

Unfortunately for the investing public, there are few investment advisers that follow this approach. In general, the financial services industry focuses on what sells rather than focusing on what actually works.

Not only does FFP follow the Seven Principles for Investment Success but it also has (in the best traditions of Monty Python’s Spanish Inquisition) an 8th principle. Regular reviews, at least annually, are the key to continuing success.

Regular reviews enable people to focus on what they can control. We can’t control inflation, tax, stock market movements, politicians and so on but we can control how we react. If taxes go up we may need to spend less. Rather like sailing a yacht, sometimes we will be blown off course. It is generally more sensible to make small adjustments frequently than having to make a significant detour. Unfortunately, many people get too wrapped up in just living without giving thought to their futures. Most of us wouldn’t set off on a long journey without a map (or at least a satnav!). Having clear goals and reviewing them regularly makes success much more likely.