For the past week I have been reading many news stories about the housing crisis and the impending financial crisis facing the country. The news affects me as an individual who wants to protect his portfolio to insure a comfortable retirement, as a parent who wants to protect his children from a diminished lifestyle, as a business owner who wants to generate yield on his investment, as a broker who wants to see his staff do well during challenging times, as an agent who wants to give good advice to his clients, as a friend who wants to see those close to him not face financial ruin and as a brother and uncle who wants to give sound leadership and advise to his family.
Today I feel the burden of responsibility more than at any other time in my life. Not only because I am a student of history do I have a sense of concern, but also as a sixty-two year old, do I tend to look with less optimism at life than I did as a younger man when death was so far in the distance and when I knew less of the human condition. All that being said, what do I do and what do I say to those around me for whom I have a sense of responsibility and leadership?
It is easy to say that it is fun and interesting to sit on the sidelines and watch those in power do their best to right the ship in order to avoid a Depression or worse events, since there is little else to do because it is beyond the little man's control. It is easy to prognosticate what could have been done or what should be done on economic subjects that are so complex and beyond my understanding. Watching and waiting, or ignoring and hoping is what a cow might do with its life, especially when it is already at the stockyard.
Using one of my sister's favorite expressions, it is a good idea to be proactive. She may have learned this concept at a young age growing up in our family. She learned how our father smelled the dangers of Naziism and took steps to engineer the moving of our extended family out of harm's way. This was a time when many others just watched the events unfold, ever hopeful, and then were ultimately led to the slaughterhouse. Now I am not saying I think that disaster is imminent, it is just that survival in nature requires insight, cunning, and luck. Those who fail to recognize that and depend on passivity and faith, religiously perish. I do not have a list of suggestions for those who matter to me. Is it time to buy Euros, invest in foreclosures, pay off debt, stockpile vegetables, or buy a gun with plenty of bullets?
All I know is that the air smells differently, the problems seem almost insoluble. Even though there are short-term aids, the leadership seems frightened of an impending storm, and that scares me. I know there is always a crack in the fence for those who look for it. The question for me today is whether there is a safe haven. It wasn't simple for my father to choose and plan a new life in America for his family. He had the strength to plan. I wonder today whether the direction for myself and those I care about is to think about planning. There is an old expression, "Either moo or move." Lee