Trade Wars, Bureaucrats, And Brexit
Some residents of the Carolinas found themselves out of options this month.
Some Carolinians weren’t able—for various reasons—to heed the mandatory hurricane evacuation announcements. Eventually, they had to be rescued.
Very unfortunate situation… that reminded me why I’ve worked so hard to organize my life the way that I have.
I prioritize options above all else… because, without options, you’re vulnerable. You can find yourself stuck… and in need of rescue (literally or figuratively) from some third party.
Meaning you’ve got no choice but to give up control over your situation and your future. For me, that’s the worst situation imaginable.
Life is filled with complications, challenges, disappointments, downturns, and outright disasters. When an impediment presents itself, you want to be able to adjust your circumstances in a way that allows you to leap over or dart around the trouble… rather than having your life upended and finding yourself forced to scramble into the back of someone else’s life boat.
Trade wars loom as the United States and China continue their tit-for-tat tariff sniping. Investors and business owners are paying close attention trying to anticipate the consequences.
If you’re all-in in either of these country’s economies—that is, if you’re living, working, doing business, and investing 100% in one or the other—then you’re more vulnerable to the fallout from these trade battles than you could be if your life and assets were better diversified.
A hard Brexit appears to be the expectation at this point. As the U.K. and EU powers that be continue to hash through the details of their divorce, British companies watch and wait… and British retirees on the Continent have fled back to their island fearful that they’ll lose EU residency status and benefits.
On the other hand, a British colleague and her husband living in Portugal better prepared themselves… and so have options. When they decided they wanted to be able to stay in the country indefinitely, this couple filed for Portuguese residency. Today they are permanent residents.
No matter the outcome or the consequences of Brexit, they’ll be unaffected. Portugal won’t be able to kick them out.
The Importance Of Planning Ahead
You don’t need a global crisis to reinforce the upside of options.
I spoke last week with a friend who’d moved to Colombia about a year ago.
“What are you doing back in Panama?” I asked him.
“Ah, well, you see… I procrastinated with my visa paperwork,” he finally admitted.
“And now I can’t return to Colombia until after the end of the year.”
He didn’t plan ahead and his options have become limited as a result.
A reader wrote last week to explain that she had made a plan to move to Portugal. She pulled together the required paperwork and made an appointment at the Portuguese consulate…
But then she didn’t keep the appointment because she hadn’t been able to secure the required health insurance policy in time. In this case, all that was required was a conversation with a competent Portugal attorney, who could have advised how to navigate the situation.
Instead, the reader simply gave up the appointment with the consulate. To me, this was a self-made crisis that could have been both avoided and easily recovered from by simply reaching out for counsel sooner.
In this case, the good news is that the situation is still recoverable. All the reader has to do is to obtain the required health insurance… and make another appointment at the consulate.
Not all setbacks are so easily overcome.
Thus the importance of options.
Your overriding goal should be to create your own widely diversified personal ecosystem.
Some parents do this by pushing their children into specific occupations. Having a lawyer, a doctor, and an accountant in the family provides a lot of built-in support.
If you don’t have children or if your children aren’t up for you dictating their life choices, you’ll need to put together a support team otherwise.
Then you’ll need to work with that team to create the levels of diversification that I write to you about all the time. You’ll need to determine where you’d like to plant your living and investing flags.
The most successful people I know all have one important thing in common—they’ve developed their own well-rounded ecosystems, global networks of friends, colleagues, and trusted advisors.
That—not money—is the key.
With a personal ecosystem in place, you’ll find yourself much better able to adjust your circumstances as needed. Rather than reacting to crisis when it hits, you’ll simply pivot to redirect your path.
And you and your alliance will carry merrily on your way.