Feb 17

As time goes by

By the time you read this you may already have read about the dismissal of John Thain from Bank of America (who took over Thain’s firm Merrill Lynch) and how he spent approximately R15,000.000 on having his office renovated, bless him. Yet another Master of the Universe brought down to size by the world’s biggest economic reality check since WWII. By the time you read this Israel will be out of Gaza, having no doubt utilized that three week vacuum period prior to a new presidency to make Palestinians punch drunk and or just homeless. By the time you read this the ANC will have no doubt destroyed the credibility of our current President to prepare the way for another, a man in whom I really struggle to find any endearing features. By the time you read this line again you may have lost interest and turned the page, but I hope not. My point is simply that at certain times in our lives things change very quickly and time can seemingly fly by!

Back in 2007 I was introduced to a young Senator from the US, a man who was basically about as dull as dishwater, our host later apologized for the evening. Today that Senator is President of the USA, and to use an over utilised line the most powerful man in the world,” he didn’t look that way in 2007!

In fact recently, so recent that it seems almost bizarre, platinum was the wonder metal, yesterday one producer announced losses of over one billion rand and you can’t find a car manufacturer with a production line at full capacity anywhere on the planet.

You can always rely, they told us, on “bricks and mortar”, well maybe in the long run but to buy a property today that you could possibly pick up for 15 – 20% cheaper in a years time seems a little stupid, as does buying a car before the retailers get really desperate and slash prices.

Commercial property in the UK is now basically in a state resembling free fall and, when many estimate that one in three retailers may be closed within a year, that is no surprise. You can’t collect rentals off companies that are bankrupt and when national companies like Woolies go bust and well known banks jump at the chance of nationalization then the whole concept of Blue Chip Tenants has been thrown out with the trash.

So what should we do, panic or show a degree of maturity? Firstly, ignore ALL AND ANY GET RICH SCHEMES. Quality advice should be sort, quality investments retained and start thinking of where you live as Your Home€ and not part of your portfolio. Bite your lip and get out of all those things that are hurting you, the holiday home, the unnecessary expensive cars and toys, cut your debt and focus on what matters most, family, friends and family again!

Once your cloth is cut and your affairs in better order you will begin to relax. Swallow the ego about the image, we are all in the same boat. In this game it is not the one with the most toys who wins but rather the one with the least outgoings per month, after all let’s face it everyone knows that 90% of all that bling really belongs to the bank anyway!

So wind up the clock and get your head down for the next 18 months, I personally believe that things may begin to improve just as the final whistle at the 2010 World Cup Final blows. That event, coupled with our current high interest rates and the flexibility they give us, may bring us through in better shape than many of our international competitors.

Stay focused on what is really important, to me that is family, knocking Liverpool out of the FA Cup (somehow) and enjoying the Constantia Crush on February 8th at Uitsig!

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