Poetry in numbers
Well here we are in Week Whateveritis of Living The Life in Lockdown and Working From Home, although our dear Isle of Man is doing ever so well, and the raising of the drawbridge from the moat appears to have worked for us with no new cases in 3 weeks. Hurray!
For us it looks pretty rosy with restaurants, pubs and gyms opening next and limits on gatherings raised to 30.
We’ve all been thanked by our Chief Minister Howard Quayle himself, and he’s right. It is all down to the exemplary obedience of the Manx public staying at home and staying safe.
And we’d like to add our thanks to all of you, our clients.
We’re thrilled at just how many of you have joined us in Zoom meetings, or even just by phone during this time.
The increased take-up of our online Secure Client Portal Docsafe has really helped the Thornton team carry on to provide an uninterrupted service, so thank you.
Further afield alas the UK is still in dire straights. So much of what you normally see in investment commentators writing is based on having digested and processed multiple factors, drawing on the experience and finding some conclusions.
But of course today we’re all struggling to even define the ingredients, let alone make the cake.
From a business owner perspective, planning is nebulous, especially whilst schools are understandably reluctant to resume full capacity under the guidance.
I take comfort from reading that FTSE 100 Boards are finding it hard to plan too!
City-based firms are now talking about not sending its people back until January which means the 9 months of home working ahead for some in the UK. Maybe I should get my act in gear and sort out the bookshelves behind me containing a collection of my son’s memorabilia, meaning a lego BB8 and London’s Tower Bridge feature large in my increasing number of Zoom calls!
From an investment perspective, in the last two weeks, the FTSE 100 was telling us it’s all OK, rising again. And then in the past few days, falling right back!
Travel stocks jumped last week on news of so-called transport corridors opening up with Greece, Turkey and Spain, who’ve decided they can’t live without our larger post-lockdown sunburned bodies on their beaches.
However, do bear in mind whilst the British press like to speculate about what has happened to the FTSE 100 on a daily basis, that dear old Microsoft’s value on its own almost dwarfs the entirety of those 100 companies when added TOGETHER. $1.4Trn v$1.7Trn
And in broader global news, Economists (very good people to tell us afterwards what did happen) forecast wrongly a horrendous 20% US unemployment figure for May, with a sobering 8.3 million jobs estimated to have been lost. Please recalibrate your crystal balls!
There is Poetry in numbers
Very rarely would we suggest that anyone reads a fund manager’s annual report. They are tedious affairs, written with an audible sigh by some analyst, ticking the governance boxes containing piles of data and bottom-covering statements.
Here is an excerpt from; The Scottish Mortgage Investment Trust which is the UK’s largest investment trust:
“It is far harder to identify how and why the pandemic has changed our views. Generally, it’s perilously early to do so. It’s also dangerous to focus solely on one event however terrible. Two years ago this report quoted the late, great Hans Rosling. He frequently cited a global pandemic as his greatest fear. But he also warned that unusual and negative events warp our minds: ‘if we are not extremely careful, we come to believe that the unusual is usual: that this is what the world looks like.’ At some point he emphasised that we need to return to ‘the secret, silent miracle of human progress’.”
The serious point in this report, however, is a reminder that behind all the industry’s BS and the alphabet soup of acronyms used such as OCFs, NAVs, and ratios like Sharpe, Sortino, alpha and beta, investing is simply the act of backing innovation, development and human progress. And amidst all the global chaos, anger and uncertainty, I hope, like me, you find that concept something uplifting to hold onto.
Start Your New Retirement Business Now
I’ll get off this dull investment stuff in a moment, but firstly, what do Netflix, GE, Trader Joe’s, Microsoft, Disney, and FedEx have in common?
ANSWER; They all started during economic downturns.
Your vision for your own dream company might not be on the same scale as those giants. But history shows that it’s not only possible to start a great new company during challenging times, but it might also be ideal. That’s especially true if you have an idea and some capital that you’ve earmarked for starting a new company once you’ve retired.
So why wait? During lockdown you may have had time to reflect that what you currently do, isn’t what you love. As Steve Jobs said; “Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
So if you’ve been thinking you want to change your life, here are 4 reasons why you should consider starting your retirement business now, even if you’re not ready to retire.
1. Stay busy.
No matter what stage of your life and career you’re at, it’s likely that Covid-19 and quarantining have given you a little extra time at home. If you’re struggling to fill those hours, ask yourself, “What am I going to do when I’m retired, and I have EIGHT extra hours to fill every day?”
One reason that many people put off retirement is that working gives them something to do and a sense of purpose. When retirement rolls around, many of them struggle to create a new schedule that provides that same sense of structure. The foundation you lay today for your new business while killing time in quarantine could grow into a structure that will make your retirement more fulfilling, and give you another (diverse and welcome) stream of income.
2. Put your experience to use.
Many retirees look back on their careers and think, “If only I knew then what I know now, I would have …”
What would you do differently? What pitfalls would you avoid? What risks would you take? Which ideas would you chase, and which would you leave by the wayside? What strengths would you focus on? What weaknesses would you improve, or offset by creating a key partnership?
There’s so much more to your career than the skillset you’ve developed. You also have the benefit of all your experiences, the good and the bad. Use that lifetime of learning to build a better business. I’m reading ‘Black Box Thinking’ at the moment by Matthew Syed which is a fascinating take on how we cannot grow unless we are prepared to learn from our mistakes.
3. New realities and new opportunities.
It’s very likely that the home office will soon just be “the office” for many people. That’s one example of how Covid-19 has changed how, where, when, and why we work.
But the best entrepreneurs find opportunity in disruption. Your new retirement company might not be a bricks-and-mortar operation. Instead, you might be able to invest the money you’ll save on things like rent and utilities by upgrading your technology infrastructure or building a remote support team.
Of course, the global marketplace has been disrupted too. But many professional services can survive or even thrive during the disruption. Accounting, virtual administration, and expert consulting are always in demand. Other services, such as home or car repair, landscaping, or graphic design can be provided without breaching social distancing recommendations. Your dream restaurant concept could be adapted into a cost-efficient food van. Children who are struggling with learning at home could benefit from virtual tutoring.
Somewhere there’s a new niche that you are uniquely qualified to fill. Find it and be the first to set up shop.
4. It’s not work if you love doing it.
Retirement is when many people finally focus on the passions and interests they didn’t have time to pursue when they were working full time. Aspiring entrepreneurs have that same opportunity. Hiring yourself as CEO of your new company will allow you to focus on the parts of your work that truly inspire you.
You could also develop your talents and hobbies into an entirely different career. Open an online store and start selling the pies your friends and family go wild over. Post pictures of your latest woodworking project and see if there’s a potential customer base. My son Luke is getting a dab hand at turning bowls on his lathe. I’m thinking ‘Sutton and Mum’ as a business name…..what you do think?!
The Covid-19 pandemic has made each of us reflect on what our lives were like before and what we want them to be like going forward. If you think that dedicating some of your time and financial resources to starting your own company could improve your Return on Life, please use the link below to schedule a meeting or Zoom video call with us. We’ll be able to give you the benefit of our SOS (Second Opinion Service!) and help you run the numbers.
If you’ve enjoyed this article and want to share it with someone you think it might help, please to pass it on to them.
We grow through referrals and if you’re one of our clients, we like looking after people like you! Just gain permission from a friend for us to call them and we’ll do the rest.
If you enjoyed this article, here’s a link to an earlier article we wrote before lockdown.