Last week we went to see the movie “The big short”. As you probably know it is about the global financial crisis caused by the greed and willingness to be less than honest of bankers. This of course led to the biggest ‘property bubble’ in history and to the destruction of the lives of many thousands of people. Not the bankers, of course, because they all covered their tracks by watching each others backs and betting against their own products which they knew were likely to fail. Never mind the poor ‘schmucks’ (like you and me) who were conned into buying these dodgy products, and thus losing most of their life savings, their houses and their livelihoods in many cases.
I have seen many, many documentaries and reality based movies on this subject and it never ceases to amaze me that nothing whatsoever happened to the banks, their rich employees, and to the ways they do business – which is much the same now as it was then.
Of course I haven’t trusted bankers or financial advisers since that ‘crisis’. I decided to buy only property direct. I built my own house, I bought land (“They’re not making it anymore” – Mark Twain). We all have to have somewhere to live and something to live on ( ie income) and so I thought this would be cast iron investment. A house to live in and land to sell to give me an income in my old age. Well, things have a habit of not turning out as we want. The value of the land has dropped, as has the value of the house.
The powerhouse of the modern world – China – is in the doldrums and everyone else is ‘catching a cold’ …. apart from the bankers of course. The share prices of the banks are down – but bankers bonuses are up (logic???).
So – what to do? Buy shares in banks?
Of course everything has more than one perspective. My health problems have given me a different perspective on life and purpose. I have learned that in reality the only thing one needs in life is good health. At the moment I have that. Next year I may not. The land will still be there, and it will make absolutely no difference whatsoever to my health or to my ability to ‘live my life’.
We are not rich, but we are not poor, making us fortunate in the grand scheme of things. Like everyone we still fret over financial problems, over life’s complexities, over what to have for dinner. That’s life.
I would still trade everything I had to not have heart problems or cancer.
“Almost everything–all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure–these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.” Steve Jobs