Joe Fairless of Ashcroft Capital Discusses the Power of Leverage in Passive Investing

Joe Fairless of Ashcroft Capital Discusses the Power of Leverage in Passive Investing

Joe Fairless of Ashcroft Capital understands that passive investing has become synonymous with “set it and forget it” investing. You pick a low-cost index fund, contribute regularly, and let the power of compound interest work its magic. But what if there was a way to potentially amplify those returns? That’s where leverage comes in, a tool with immense power that deserves a closer look.

Understanding Leverage

Imagine buying a house. You likely wouldn’t pay for it entirely in cash. Instead, you leverage your own money (down payment) to borrow a larger sum (mortgage) and acquire a more expensive asset. This principle applies to investments as well. Leverage allows you to invest more than you have upfront, magnifying your potential returns.

The Leverage Advantage in Passive Investing

Let’s say you invest $10,000 in an index fund that grows at 10% annually. After a year, your portfolio would be worth $11,000. Now, consider using leverage (say, a loan) to invest $20,000 in the same fund. If history holds and the market grows 10%, your portfolio would balloon to $22,000 – a gain of $2,000 compared to the non-leveraged approach.

The Flip Side of Leverage

Joe Fairless of Ashcroft Capital explains that while leverage can accelerate gains, it’s a double-edged sword. In a downturn, losses are amplified too. If the market dips 10% in our example, your $20,000 portfolio would shrink to $18,000, a $4,000 loss compared to the $1,000 decline in the non-leveraged scenario. Additionally, leverage often comes with interest payments, further eating into your returns.

Leverage and Passive Investing: A Cautious Approach

Leverage can be a tempting proposition for passive investors seeking to grow their wealth faster. However, it’s crucial to understand the risks involved. Here’s why caution is essential:

  • Market Volatility: Passive investing thrives on long-term growth. Leverage can be disastrous during market downturns, especially for those with a low-risk tolerance.
  • Debt Management: Leverage adds a layer of complexity. You’ll need a solid debt management plan to ensure loan payments don’t derail your financial goals.
  • Not for Everyone: Leverage is best suited for investors with a long investment horizon and a stomach for volatility. New or risk-averse investors should likely stick to the tried-and-true, non-leveraged approach.

Alternatives to Leverage

If the idea of leverage makes you uneasy, there are ways to boost your passive investment returns:

  • Increase Contribution Amounts: Contributing more consistently to your investment accounts is a surefire way to grow your wealth faster.
  • Invest Early and Regularly: Time is your greatest ally in passive investing. The earlier you start, the more compound interest can work its magic.
  • Diversify Your Portfolio: Diversification across asset classes helps mitigate risk and smooth out market fluctuations.

Joe Fairless of Ashcroft Capital notes that leverage can be a powerful tool for passive investors, but it’s not without risks. Carefully consider your risk tolerance, investment goals, and market conditions before incorporating leverage into your strategy. Remember, slow and steady wins the race in passive investing. There’s no shame in sticking to the tried-and-true methods and letting your wealth grow organically over time.

DN News Desk

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