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I feel as though we have been investing with blindfolds on. We follow rules and methods and do what our financial advisors or our friends and family tell us, but we are not entirely happy with the outcomes. The industry and the investment products available to us are opaque and complicated. We have become more and more disconnected with the businesses, the products and services, and the people underlying the investments in which we have entrusted our money.

Integrated is to investing as healthy is to eating. Imagine yourself gorging on food – fatty foods with high salt and high sugar content, genetically modified food, produced in obscenely inhuman, unhealthy, chemically-enhanced conditions. Imagine yourself stuffed until your waistline expands, your whole body aches, and you’ve gained 50 pounds. Unhappy with the hugely unhealthy, food vacuum you have become, you decide to turn things around, go on a diet, and shed the excess weight you’ve put on. You might start exercising again. If you are really good you might actually keep it up. Or you might keep it up for a few weeks until a juicy burger calls out to you from the fast-food restaurant or a super-sized bag of popcorn, laden with artificial butter, rears its fatty head at the movie theatre. You find your percent body fat and blood pressure rising and embark on another health kick and diet. Your body weight see-saws in a dangerously unhealthy fashion until one day you decide to choose a more sustainable alternative and not fall victim to the gluttony-diet yo-yo. You choose healthy foods, to eat in moderation, and opt for local and organic food when possible. You drink two litres of water a day and perform regular exercise each week. Your weight is sustained at a more moderate level, you feel healthier, happier, and feel more grounded having left the food-diet roller-coaster.

We have been presented with investment options that offer fat, juicy financial returns. The marketing is sweet and saccharin. The taste of high financial reward seems satisfying. However, they are just empty calories.  These financial rewards, like the high-flavour, high-fat foods, may also have been produced in obscenely inhuman, unhealthy, artificially-enhanced conditions.

Integrated Investing is an approach and a philosophy that endeavours to cut through the jargon and opacity by informing you why we invest, what you need to know and be aware of in order to invest, and how to make an integrated investment decision.

We have been gorging on unhealthy ways of investing. It is time we invest in a healthier, more integrated way.