I hope this weekend finds all of you safe, well, and relaxing in some fashion.
In local news…Paris has 140 days of 6pm to 6am curfew under its belt…with no real impact on the virus. The mayor has floated a trial balloon of a 3 week lockdown. The idea is to ditch the half-measures, face the music, and (hopefully) get infection rates under control so that restaurants and cafes can reopen and life can find ‘normal’ on the map and start walking toward it.
I’ve always thought that a 3rd lockdown was in our city’s future. I still believe it’s inevitable, as only 4% of Paris residents have been vaccinated and young people continue to party on the ‘plage’ (literally the ‘beach’, but a term that for Parisians refers to the riverbanks of the Seine). They sit close to one another, in groups of varying size, without masks, for hours, drinking, smoking, and talking. Clandestine raves and private parties confound and irritate the local police, and worry healthcare officials. (Intensive care units are about 58% full right now.) So the news that Paris in particular and France in general are not handling the virus well is not really news.
To make matters worse, public officials are waiting on the variants to explode here in March, and, if current rising infection rates are any indication, the unwelcome event might just happen on schedule. When it does, a complete lockdown of the city…and perhaps the country…will be the order of the day.
In the media…Tatler, a storied publication founded in 1901 and based on previous publication founded in 1709, bills itself as ‘the original social media’. The statement has no small amount of truth in it: Tatler has always been a high society gossip mag, breathlessly detailing the parties, weddings, divorces, funerals, fashions, and feuds of the great and the good, the titled to the simply entitled, from aristocrats to royals and the Just Plain Rich who rub elbows with them.
But, like a broken watch that’s still right twice a day, Tatler has recently published something fairly worthwhile, and I feel (not exactly) duty-bound to share it. It’s a discussion of not just getting your money ready for the next generation, but getting the next generation ready for your money. And, sadly, if The Old Money Book isn’t enough to help you do that, there are apparently entire companies devoted to assisting you in the endeavor. Who knew? Enjoy reading about that HERE.
Speaking of money…I wanted to make note again of a recent comment: one of our readers mentioned ‘discussing money’ with her friends. She related her concerns about the taboo Old Money has regarding ‘discussing money’, and made the very real point. Namely, how is someone supposed to learn about money if you never talk about money?
I wanted to reiterate an important distinction. To learn more about ‘personal finance’, budgeting, and investing, it’s critical to ask questions and get feedback. So that’s perfectly acceptable and even critical. I suggest doing it in private, with a few close friends, without alcohol, and with a pen and paper.
(Avoid talking about how much money you or anyone else has. That’s a nonstarter.)
I would also counsel to take care in who you listen to. There are a lot of ‘armchair quarterbacks’ out there on YouTube as well as at your local coffee shop. Take investment, inheritance, and tax advice slowly and cautiously, and lean toward professional advice given by an expert in their field.
Advice on how to save money can come from anywhere, but it’s good to simply consider the source when listening to anyone talk about personal finance. I have a few blunt questions that you can keep in the back of your mind when you hear somebody offer financial advice, and everyone can feel free to throw in their two cents worth, as well…
When you listen to someone give advice or share opinions about money, ask yourself the following:
Are they rich? Have they made their own money? Are they doing or have they done what they’re telling you to do? How’d that work out for them? Are they speaking from experience? Or did they just read something online?
Finally, a question about investments, the environment, and ethics…
When you consider an investment, do you consider the moral, ethical, or environmental impact that the company you’re investing in has on society and the planet? Or do you simply look at your potential return on investment?
Personally, I’ve heard several perspectives on this dilemma. The first is, “I invest simply for a return on investment. I only think about profit. If I have feelings about changing the world, I give money to organizations, political parties, and causes I believe in. The two are completely separate.”
The second is, “I invest in things that I generally believe are good for people and good for the planet. I won’t invest in fossil fuels, pornography, tobacco or cannabis companies, or weapons manufacturers, because I think that’s hurting the planet and not helping anybody in the long run, but I don’t have a hard and fast impact rule about it.”
The third is, “I invest only in companies that strictly align with my values, my morals, and my ethics. If a company is polluting or not paying its employees fairly, I divest or don’t invest in the first place. If a company is not a good global citizen, I’m out. If a company is trying to do good, but may not earn as much money as a competitor, I’ll invest simply to support its philosophy.”
So, investors, which category do you fit into? Or do you have completely unique criteria for your portfolio?