25/01/17He Shed, She Shed


Reading an article in ‘Investment Week’ Magazine, has prompted me to pen a blog… Well… that’s not strictly true….Watching the Dow bust through 20,000 points at Lunchtime, seeing all markets in ‘green’ on my phone app combined with The Tube strike tonight and ongoing Southern Rail issues, made me want to type this blog. On the one hand, we have markets bucking trends at the moment, on the other, concerns over pay, pensions and who will close the train doors.

Why am I highlighting the markets in green (up) and Dow Jones going through the 20,000 point mark? why are we still having strikes? why is there an almost ‘Project Fear’ now that we are on the cusp on leaving the EU and Single Market?- Change would be my answer.

We don’t like it. Moving house, changing banks, changing partners, changing jobs, setting up own business, changing our style, fashion etc there are so many reasons we create in our head to remain as we are, that to change seems almost insurmountable. We tend to start embracing that change, but then doubt creeps in…we may even ask a close friend or relative for their view and the chances are, they’ll fear change just as much as you do, and also promote the status quo, meaning more people think you shouldn’t change.

If a big corporate (like TFL or Southern Rail) set out to make huge swathes of changes to working practices, it will bring out fear-it is a natural reaction of change-especially when it is perceived to affect pay or benefits. In My straw poll of a few ex-big company employee’s, the majority took the changes to areas and working practices and the early mornings, late nights and occasional weekend work (the ‘benefits’ of a laptop and Blackberry apparently, was to give you a ‘work/life balance’ or in other words, do more work, from home) for that Final Salary pension and told their partners to bear with it as well. So when that said corporate ditched its Final Salary scheme for one with less generous benefits, those ex-employee’s got it in the ear big time from their partner, who suffered aforementioned late nights and weekends, for a pension that now, is not so generous., those ex-staff felt outraged, betrayed and downright upset-especially given the earbashing they got from home and some protested…with hindsight, those employee’s were also annoyed with themselves for accepting the workload, but fear of job loss and a journey into the unknown took a hold. But fear, is only one way things can be looked at. To paraphrase Richard Jeffrey, the chief economist at Cazenove Capital “…naturally we fear the impact of disrupting the status quo and tend to assume that due to this disturbance, we will suffer a negative impact…”

All to often, we only see one side of a two sided event, after all we could adopt the title of Susan Jeffers book “feel the fear and do it anyway”?

With this, comes the obvious comparison to Donald J.Trump and our own ‘Brexit’- Now I have no crystal ball as I have said many times in my blog, but I am prepared to see what happens ( I voted Remain), rather than guess or make assumptions and as Richard Jeffrey continues in the same article “….While we may not like the political and/or social implications of these events (Trump,Brexit) we need to be careful not to allow our concerns at one level, to have an overly prominent influence on our interpretation of the consequences of another. Many people have concerns about some of the more contentious statements that have been made by the new US president, but this does not mean his policies will necessarily harm the US or even World economy….” He goes on to say, that yes, we should be concerned about a change of political direction, as it could undermine free trade, however, we need to recognise that we are NOT in a world of free trade, so disturbing the ‘Status Quo’ could actually be a good thing.

In another example, I cite clients who up until meeting me, have accepted that bank and cash deposit accounts and a few individual stocks and shares-either held as free shares, or bought on a whim- was the way to invest funds as they were ‘uncertain’ of using a Financial Adviser. 6 years on, and yes, mixed results experienced along the way, uncertainty is now not an issue.

Ultimately, the changes that will take place (Brexit etc) will test our hard wired, normal thinking pattern and rather than listening to the “he said, she said” chatter, listen to your own mind, have self belief and take that first step……

The Sheds? Mine and Tina’s!!!


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