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The State of the Economy and Its Impact on You: A Risk Management Perspective
While attending a recent alternative investment conference, listening to some the brightest minds in the investment, economic and political worlds, I began to wonder if anybody really understood what is happening in our economy, and the political and social ramifications.
In the 20 months since the great stock market meltdown of 2008, I have heard stories about the economy ranging from collapse to depression to recession to recovery and expansion. Due to the historically high debt levels and/or limited population growth in the developed nations (including the United States, Western Europe and Japan) and the surpluses in developing nations (for example, China), many have predicted a shifting of power over the coming decades away from western-style democracies to the generally less democratic and more populous developing nations. In reality, we don’t know what is going to happen. Seems like every generation has heard a similar story: Recall how the Soviet Union and communism were going to crush the United States and democracy, or how, in the 1980s, Japan was going to buy all of our real estate and companies?
Well, here we are, in the United States, trying to support our families’ current and future generational needs. What is one to do? I’ve provided a list below to help you manage the various risks in your lives.
- Focus on what you can control. You cannot control the global economy, government spending or the capital (stock and bond) markets. You can control your interactions at work, at home and in social settings. Use those opportunities to better your life and the lives of those around you.
- At all times, act with integrity and ethically. Many of us have been doing this for a long time. Given the occurrences that have occurred (for example, Madoff), I have observed people having greater suspicions of others than in the past. While not aiming to be rewarded for the right behavior, those who historically have done the right thing have benefited in this environment.
- Stick to long-term planning, especially in the investment world. Those who have focused on long-term planning have achieved a better result than those chasing returns or panic selling at downturns.
- Where possible, seek to minimize risks. You might be surprised how many successful people have not reduced their risks, sometimes for a relatively small cost. At The Bensman Group, we have several clients who had substantial unmanaged or unknown risks in their lives before they met us. Some key items: Make sure you have current wills and trusts, enough disability insurance and liability insurance for yourself and your business, life insurance for family or philanthropic causes that rely on you for support, and a diversified investment portfolio that has been stress-tested and is applicable to your risk tolerance.
I hope this message finds you well and that you can take at least one thing out of it to improve your life and the lives of others. If you have any questions about your risks, please contact your Bensman advisor or Joel Feiger at 847-572-0800 or firstname.lastname@example.org