Nov 23

Have a Financial Giggle

If you think that you are more miserable than ever and you are in your late thirties then you are probably right!

A recent piece of scientific research has shown some remarkable results into how many times a day we humans laugh, giggle or are genuinely amused and happy. The happiest group were, not surprisingly, kids under ten but what was amazing to me was that these lucky tots laugh and giggle up to 300 times a day.

This happiness barometer then tails off over the years and hits rock bottom in our mid to late thirties.

Family, work and the mortgage obviously play no small part in why Mom and Dad are such miserable so and so’s! We then cheer up a little and become more likely to laugh and relax as the grim reaper approaches, obviously we have decided there is nothing we can do about it, so why not have a good time.

This caused me to stop and ignore all info other than the 300 times a day an under ten has fun, every single day. Being lucky enough to have a super under ten I just watched and joined in, how had I missed so much? Unbridled joy at so much nonsense, so easily pleased, so totally reliant on others, yet happy all the time.

Liam is now my new role model and if I can learn to be as happy and as easily pleased as this guy, for just 10% of the time then I am onto a winning formula. I knew he was happy and fun, but I never realised how much, thanks pal!

The situation world-wide since 2008 has not been such a giggle, has caused a great deal of stress to many people and we have lost many good organisations, due mostly to the bad habits they had acquired during years when it was simply too easy to do business and make money.

In periods such as this a business has really only two choices, stay as they were and hope to survive, or look at themselves with a radical new set of management eyes. All areas of cost can be reviewed from staff to services utilised. The income of the company has to be clarified and collected, as efficiently as possible and all opportunities need to be pursued with vigour, where they have merit or rejected swiftly where they have little likely impact other than to waste management time and other resources.

These same principles can be applied to our own lives at home, on a financial level. Many of those nice to haves can go or be clipped. Food, clothing, cars, holidays and all part of our monthly costs need to be reviewed and dealt with realistically. The very process of sitting and going through a detailed home or corporate budget can be massively beneficial and also clears the mind of fears, as well as budget costs.
So draw up your own “Budget Action Plan”, sit and indentify everything you spend cash on and then set new limits that you can expense and stick to! It’s not easy but it will cause you to have far more laughs and giggles, in a day that would otherwise bring you to tears.

On a market related point and being the first to admit ignorance and lack of a crystal ball, many are asking what will happen with the rand and our markets?
It is far too simplistic to say that the following point is entirely to blame, but as long as there is ridiculously cheap money around, be it in dollars and or Yen, then there will be institutions and traders borrowing such monies to buy into currencies and markets that offer them a return far beyond the cost of those original funds.

Personally, I feel that our interest rates are far too high. The banks have established and instilled a culture of very conservative lending and their credit committees are definitely in control. Therefore, there can be no fear of an expulsion of careless and or irresponsible lending. Let’s drop the rates give our well run businesses and well organised individuals access to capital and funding. The drop in the interest differential may also stop speculation in the rand and SA from overseas and rather encourage solid long term investment in SA, as we establish ourselves as one of the leading emerging markets.

So I am off to watch an animated 3D movie with my mate and try and get in at least ten laughs and giggles and hour, to his twenty. You will be surprised how contagious happiness becomes, this could be the best contagion effect ever found.

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