Dampier, Effective Investing

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Some books don’t translate well. In the case of Mark Dampier’s Effective Investing (Harriman House, 2015) the problem is not language. Since 1998 the author has been head of research at Hargreaves Lansdown, the UK’s largest independent brokerage firm. He writes in perfectly clear English. Rather, the problem is that he is writing for the British investor, especially those who are interested in buying British funds and successfully navigating the British tax system. And his references are sometimes a tad alien, at least to this American investor. For instance, in explaining his choice of Darwin Leisure, a kind of family unit trust that invests in a portfolio of caravan parks, he says that they attract “a more upmarket kind of visitor—more Center Parcs than Carry On Camping, if you like.” (p. 97)

The author himself invests primarily in funds rather than in individual stocks. And “when it comes to buying accumulation or income units,” he “generally prefer[s] to opt for the income units.” That way, he always has “some new money coming in” which he can invest where he sees the best value. (p. 94)

Although Dampier warns the reader not to get trapped in his own “personal history and experience” because nothing stays the same in finance, I thought it might be useful to share a table that shows the real returns on investment in various British instruments over four time intervals.

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