The Times Ahead

FGSAs a financial advisor, I spend a large part of my working day reading many types of investment publications. I owe it to my friends and clients who look to me for sensible advice. I also owe it to myself and the legacy I’d like to leave.

By legacy, I don’t mean monetary assets. I mean the entire essence of my being; all that defines me, a man uprooted from familiar surroundings before adolescence and planted to grow up in freedom in a foreign land, a wonderful and welcoming land, but distant, new and foreign nonetheless. I studied hard, worked long hours, fully enjoyed every aspect of the many facets of my life, raising a family and forming part of my Boomer generation. A legacy isn’t always about wealth. It’s more often about personal values, ethics, and strength of character than the mere accumulation of property, often more linked to good fortune than tenacity and hard work.

So here today we discuss a priceless consideration for the barrage of alarming opinions published daily on the Internet in blogs and tweets on how the world as we know it will soon come to an end. The alarmists speak of widespread financial ruin ahead. They speak of bankruptcies, of worthless currencies, of stock market implosion and of a sudden and now well-discussed drop of valuation in everything we know of value, of spiraling inflation, of stagnant incomes; in summary, for some writers there is an imminent ensuing of chaos on the streets of America.

Related to this outlook, a few days ago I discussed something similar with one of my daughters. She’s worried and forwarded a piece written and published on the webpage of her metals dealer; a piece more alarming than the rest, for it quotes well-known individuals of high profile warning about impending economic doom and gloom. After I slept on her concerns, I saw her message more in focus.

She’s concerned that my lifelong dedication to the financial industry prevents me from seeing the full scope of this alarming outlook, feeling that I’m too vested in the markets to clearly detect the dangers these individuals portray. She’s concerned with everything the promoters of precious metals pronounce will take place in the future when the bubble bursts. Like anyone of kindness and care, she wouldn’t want anyone to suffer financial setbacks in their golden years, so she raises this issue to alert me, hoping to avert my own financial disaster.

My thoughts flow better when the issues affect those I love, especially when the experience of the years adds a positive perspective to a situation. In essence, my reply to her email evoked how along the course of my life I survived the myriad trials I faced and overcame. I fell back on my years as a single parent raising our family; explaining how while the academic world was my formal training in college, the majority of my life I spent assisting individuals to achieve financial security, allaying their concerns methodically with products earmarked to address their specific goals, all unrelated to literature and language, my college majors. In summary, I depicted how despite all the obstacles I faced, I always managed to fulfill my parental obligations irrespective of the economic conditions that surrounded us along the years.

My grandparents faced the Great Depression. After losing it all, their hard work brought them back to comfort. My parents went into exile penniless, with the clothes on their back. Their hard work later managed to restore them to relative security.

They all shared common traits: They were adaptable, flexible, nimble, ingenious and dedicated to their tasks. It’s the old saying about making lemonade when life gives you lemons. Our family tradition makes us prime examples of survival over hostility. The next time will not be any different.

Times seldom are as dire as some would predict. Life’s more about the good times and the difficult ones averaged out. Everything generally falls somewhere in the middle.

Somehow when we really have to, we sum up all our energy and set our mind to work,  creating opportunity to overcome obstacles with hard work and dedication.  We conquer difficulties with a strong will to prevail, a strong faith, and an absolute determination to forge ahead. In a free society, troubles are not about anything or anyone else. We find answers by looking in the mirror. When we’re free, we only have ourselves to blame for our choices and ultimately for the results they bring.

For the possible scenario currently in the mind of some investors, my advice is simple: Raise some cash by realizing profits and lose the greed; no one is able to pick up the last dollar that crosses the table before a crisis because the crystal ball to predict the future doesn’t exist. Continue saving to raise more cash–even if the returns are next to zero. At least for the time being, emphasize in your portfolio income producing investments; they always come in handy, for cash flow during hard times is priceless.

Sit back and wait until everyone else is running for the exits, at which time savvy investors pick and choose the securities to supplement their existing portfolios. A market correction of significance may take a while.

It’s always harder to replace capital lost during financial crises than to earn positive returns during good times.  Never invest funds you’re unable to replace. Never absorb more risk than you can tolerate without losing sleep.

Consult your financial adviser and don’t act on anything discussed. Always only act according to your own adviser’s recommendations. Everyone is different and investing is never a cookie-cutter enterprise.

Share your comments. It’s always nice to hear from you.

Peace and prosperity to all.


About Francisco

Born in Cuba; political exile; American by choice; polyglot; father of four, grandfather of two; occupationally semi-retired; reader; writer; lover of mankind and nature; searcher of truths; hungry for wisdom; open-minded; romantic realist; critical thinker, enemy of despotism, government abuse, and inequality; believer and faithful; social liberal, fiscal conservative; in a quest to unmask the hypocrisy and the corruption enslaving overwhelming numbers of God's creatures around the world.
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