The recent market turmoil triggered by the COVID-19 virus (and its possible impact on economic activity) brings to mind some observations by legendary investor Warren Buffett. During his years of investing, he has famously stated that in the short-run (days, weeks, and months) the investment markets are a voting machine. People buy and sell investments based on price momentum, or their emotions regarding how comfortable they are with the price direction over a few days or weeks.
Before a sky scraper can reach for the clouds, it needs a very strong foundation. Once the building is complete, the foundation is virtually unseen. The same goes for a financial strategy. The following are the basics of a strong financial foundation:
Budget - Governments and businesses use budgets to properly allocate resources. It's known as good business. A budget can help you figure out where your hard earned income is going and to identify ways to cut spending or increase savings.
We are all familiar with the following perennial adage: “health is wealth”. Regardless of any financial circumstances you may have, optimum health allows you to enjoy long trips overseas, partake in your grandchildren’s life, physical activities such as golf as well as looking forward to your retirement years. No one wants to have to worry about the expenses that come with health problems in retirement.
One of the world’s richest men, Warren Buffett, acquired his wealth by following a very simple rule during times of market volatility: "Be fearful when others are greedy, and be greedy when others are fearful."
With mass media websites trumpeting headlines like "Oil collapse and global stampede out of stocks trample loonie” (Financial Post) and "Dow drops more than 2,000 points amid oil price war, coronavirus fears” (New York Post) it is easy to forget that the world has been in similar situations before.
Most of us take for granted that we will be able to get out of bed every morning and go to work to earn a living. We base all of our financial plans on this seemingly obvious concept. Our most valuable asset is the ability to earn an income. Unfortunately, it is also one of the most vulnerable and most of the undesirable things that can affect it are beyond our control.
The Baby Boomers are making history as the largest retirement migration ever seen. However, it's their parents who hold the most massive accumulation of wealth which is now being transfered to future generations. Estimated to be well in excess of a trillion dollars, the traditional rules of inheritance are changing.