Despite all the pretty forecasts and projections, no one has any idea what the future holds.
This week’s earth quakes in New Zealand remind me when we left England in 2004 those towns hit were ones we seriously considered living in, but we came to Saskatchewan instead, luckily! The operative word there being luck.
No one thought Brexit would happen , no one thought Trump would get in. Then, surprise! It did and he did.
Brexit, elections, earth quakes , what will carbon tax mean for our province, when will ( if ever ) the oil industry pick up and families feel secure again, reminders that we have less control than we would like over what happens in the world.
Uncertainty scares the bravest of us.
We don’t like not knowing what the future holds. In fact, we pay people to tell us stories about the future so we can pretend we know what will happen. Weather, economic, pollsters, financial forecasts.
TV channels like CNBC exist to fulfill this wish on a minute-by-minute basis. But the evidence is absolutely clear that trying to time the market based on what someone says on TV is a total waste of time. So why do so many people do it every day?
Because we would rather be certain and wrong about the future than admitting we have no idea and deal with those feelings.
But here is the reality: Uncertainty is reality. Everything else is just a made-up story.
So, among the many other questions these events have raised for me is :
How do we learn to live with it?
Separate the story from the reality. In this case, Trump is president-elect.That’s the reality.
Anything that goes beyond that is a story. Will he build a wall? Will he repeal the Affordable Care Act? Will he blow up the NAFTA agreement or approve pipelines ? What will that do to the economy and my investments .
Who knows, and the more we try to predict what will happen, the greater the anxiety. Stay focused on the reality.
Make a list. What can you control right now? The list won’t include big things like dealing with Russia. But you do have total control over sticking to your cash flow plan, planning your next vacation, how you treat your neighbour and not throwing your asset allocation out of the window because of something your heard on the TV . Anything that doesn’t appear on this list is out of your control so don’t stress yourself by focusing on it .
Keep calm and carry on . The track record for new presidents getting things done is pretty abysmal and I am not too worried about an earthquake on the good old prairies. Meet you down in the basement if the wind picks up though!