Archive for March, 2009

Big Ideas Great Speakers

Welcome to Spring !

I recently was invited to the Farm Credit Canada (FCC) forum entitled Big Ideas. Three great speakers and a super lunch  it was a really nice day. Here’s a recap of what I heard and came away with.

Rex Murphy, a CBC commentator and journalist. This Rhodes scholar hailing from Newfoundland provides a perspective and forsight into today’s affairs that is both real and funny. His description of life on the coast, and the links between farmers and fishers was inspiring and thoughtful. The ever-present dry wit and sarcastic intellect of Rex bring home a deep message of unity—but all with a smile on our faces and the occasional belly laugh.

Joan McCusker, Olympic Gold medal winner Curling. Again funny and informational. Joan demonstrated the parallels of sports-psychology and successful strategies used in business, community and family. Her constant message that ordinary people can do extraordinary things and build extraordinary lives.

Finally we get to my favorite David Chilton, the author of The Wealthy Barber. His best-selling book on finances is one of my all-time best-reads (for finances anyhow). His common-sense approach to financial planning and business take the intimidation factor out, and he sprinkles in good doses of humour so the message sticks even better .

After a quick review of how and why he wrote The Wealthy Barber, David got to what we wanted to hear, his take on the recent financial situation.

Despite the crisis enveloping the rest of the world, he remains quite confident in Canada’s financial stability. With the increased globalization and complexity of today’s market, there is a cascade-effect to be expected. He deplored the US-housing situation, non-recourse loans, no controls, the flawed theory of always-increasing-real-estate values, and just plain greed. He warned us to be careful when listening to the news, especially the economists from the big banks—have they ever been right ?

He followed with an ABC of ideas and comments.
Here are a few highlights:

Advisors with older clients be cautious—but not too conservative—cash may not be the best holding if inflation comes back (my thought the same for GICs).
Be real, use perspective when goal-setting.
Common sense as your guide—Use the power of compounding for you not against you.
Diversify your holdings—pay off your debt (compounding against you).
Estate Planning: we should be thinking of this  do we have too much money ? Give it away  before the government gets it.
Forced Savings pay yourself first—simple concept hardest to do—but there are ways, automatic chequing into a savings account,take it off the pay check first, his theory that budgeting never works, most people will or can not budget.
Goals—set one—then put it in writing     g is for gold as well   a great inflation fighter
Health—dont take it for granted
Insurance  David’s my man; he likes life insurance, and most people have too little, it can be another form of income during retirement (whole life) and a market buffer.

He ran out of time to do much more but he did note that the one thing Canadians all have in common is to complain!

He wanted to tell us all to Cheer Up; we have it great here  and life is good!