Skip to main content

Futureproofing: Navigating The Ruins



Let's be clear on one thing: this is not the world your parents meant for you to inherit.

The world they had in mind was a much safer, more stable world. Sure, there were surprises no one saw coming, but this is true in day-to-day life just as it is in the bigger picture. The end of the Cold War caught us all by surprise, as did 9/11, to name two examples. The wholesale outsourcing of jobs to cheap labor markets was not something your parents anticipated, although the precedent had been set decades before. One would do well to remember that American industrial jobs moved to the South to escape unionized labor and seek favorable tax policies; that those jobs have continued to move in search of greater profits, lower wages and regulations can be seen as the logical conclusion of policy. Besides, in your parents time, if you left one job, you could always find another. Times have changed, indeed.

Your parents couldn't foresee a time when savers would be punished for saving, but this is where we find ourselves. In the early days of my work life, a savings account meant your frugality would earn 4%, more if you purchased a Certificate of Deposit (note I avoided "CD", which most people remember as a music disk). Today, a savings account earns a fraction of one percent. Such is the cost of risk aversion in the age of zero interest rates, but should one have to turn to the stock markets as the only source of potential profit on savings, to say nothing of the potential for loss?

Your parents likely failed to foresee cybercrime, social media, live streaming of beheadings, global economic crises, jobless recoveries, and rank amateurs elevated to the highest office in the free world thanks to a catchy slogan and bright red hat. You can't fault them for this, as these are truly momentous times. As such, we would do well to pay careful attention and navigate accordingly.

In order to navigate, one must have an up to date map. Read, stay informed, but more importantly, do so critically. Read outside your comfort zone, ie. if you're a loyal reader of Huffington Post, drop in on Fox News for a (very) different perspective.

Successful navigation requires a compass. Without one, you're no longer navigating, you are drifting. Acquiring a compass isn't easy. It demands constant review of your morals, ethics, actions, biases. The trick is to avoid mistaking something you read and agree with for original thought. The review process is ongoing and arduous, but it is the only way to find your authentic self. Proceed and grow.

A word of warning: burnout is real and to be avoided. Between keeping up to date and processing the info into something you can call a mindset, you're very likely to become overwhelmed. Take regular breaks, enjoy your downtime. Remember, the purpose of futureproofing is to avoid the stresses of a rapidly changing world.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

The World In Which We Live: Pandemic Edition

What a year 2020 has become. As the federal government (particularly the head of the executive branch) dithered, a microscopic killer grew in strength and swept across the globe. A novel virus; one which humans have not been exposed to and thus have no immunity from. No effective treatment, no vaccine at this time. The possibilities are horrendous. At first it was a China problem, then an Asia problem, before it became a global problem. In my home state of Georgia, it has become a human behavior problem. The state has been partially shut down for a matter less than one month, yet is set to reopen in days. Never mind that our governor claimed he was unaware that the virus could spread via asymptomatic persons, earning himself a place on the Dumbest Governors list. The state is reopening with a mind-boggling list of businesses: hair salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, massage parlors, bars. These are the last  businesses that should open, yet Kemp, doing his best impression of a son

Carrying Fire

 I started carrying a lighter a couple of years ago. Reflecting on the 100th anniversary of the end of World War I, it struck me that most of the soldiers carried matches. Imagine being in a trench, under a cold rain, the only source of heat now rendered useless in your pocket as the rain continues to fall. What would a doughboy have given for a small, reliable source of flame with which to build a fire to warm himself and his fellows? All the roses in Ireland, I suppose.  My carry began with a Zippo that belonged to my late father-in-law, but I decided it had too much sentimental value for everyday use. Also, Zippo lighters have a habit of leaking or evaporating fuel. This isn't something you want when your lighter is needed, so I put the Zippo away for safekeeping and picked up a mini Bic.  Tiny, almost unnoticeable in the pocket, the mini carries well. It has also came in handy on many occasions, such as at a child's birthday party when the time comes to light candles and t

How To Own The World, Part I

 I haven't posted much about the COVID world because, frankly, it is overwhelming. Hundreds of thousands dead, millions infected, lockdowns ongoing, economies teetering or skyrocketing on the words of government agencies or private investors. As I write, my podunk rural county leads the state of Georgia in resurgence of transmission of the virus and PEOPLE ARE STILL GOING AROUND MASKLESS. I know, it's all about "muh rights" or whatever, but what about your responsibilities to others and society as a whole? Common courtesy? Human decency? Enough of the rant. Let's talk about investing in a "this is not investment or financial advice and is not meant to be taken as such" kind of way. Today's topic: real estate investment trusts.  A Real Estate Investment Trust, or REIT for short, is a trust that owns and operates commercial real estate, such as housing, apartment complexes, malls and shopping centers, industrial parks, storage, even cell towers. A Mort