As we look at a more destabilised global economy, how ready are you and your finances for the what if?
Don't do a Trump and bury your head in the sand – be prepared
He is the biggest threat to the West. This is an Australian journalist’s conclusion concerning US president Donald Trump’s presence and performance at the G20 summit a few days ago. His savage take on what happened there is doing the rounds globally. I suggest you watch it for his prose, if not his message.
Others would concur with Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Chris Ulhmann’s choice words, adding that president Trump is the biggest threat to the world in many respects. This can’t be good. Especially as it feeds directly into the findings of Swiss bank UBS’s survey – announced in May – which concluded that 82 per cent of millionaires believe this is the most unpredictable time in our history.
Of course it’s 82 per cent of those surveyed, but that’s not to be sniffed at. They sought the thoughts of over 2,800 millionaires – in the way of investable assets, not property – from the UK, Italy, Switzerland, Japan, Hong Kong, Singapore and Mexico. That was before the G20 summit. I wonder what they’re thinking now ... probably reaching for various bunkers and bedding down.
Another person sharply criticising Trump policies this week is Virgin Group’s Richard Branson. He also views Brexit as a disaster, and is warning against the dangers of protectionism too – a state that both the US and the UK are increasingly leading the world towards.
Does this mean a more deglobalised one is being created? Let these words sink in. Think about your life, your work. How affected by, or even dependent on globalisation it is. Now think about what would change – for you – if globalisation is on its way out.
Greater trade barriers are a major concern for many, including 84 per cent of the Singaporean millionaires surveyed by UBS.
We’re seeing headlines stating that financial protectionism may signal a global trade war. Deglobalisation is being discussed. When this happens, an accompanying thought is the need to shore up national finances. I suggest you swap the word national for personal.
Other uncertainties have their knock-on effects too. Qatar Airways cancelled an Airbus order just days ago – citing delays by the manufacturer. That’s a US$1.2 billion headache for Airbus. I wonder what they’re going to do about it and who will eventually be affected.
Back to the issue of free trade. Should we be concerned about it? Is there anything we can do about it if we are?
This is how Morgan Stanley puts it: "A shift in American policy away from free trade would likely hit Asia hardest, and China in particular, with ripple effects across the global economy".
Substitute "global economy" with "you". You instinctively know what this will do to you; there's no need to spell it out.
Here’s a little something to bring it back to base: last week I walked into a charity shop and fell in love with a few trinkets each costing very little. I love sourcing birthday gifts from these pre-loved items. Having made my selection, I discovered that they don’t take cards – only cash. As chance would have it, I didn’t have any on me. I walked out, and on to an appointment I had. I never did go back. No one needs any of that stuff. and I got to keep my cash.
I was especially happy about this when I subsequently saw a tin for putting receipts in (that costs a pretty penny) that simply states: "Money I used to have". I love it. I won’t buy it, but will fashion my own instead. That’s the message here: if things go belly up, don’t be in the "money I used to have’" camp. Keep it instead.
France’s prime minister stated that Mr Trump is scared of the future – in reference to him withdrawing from the Paris climate agreement – and likened him to an ostrich.
Whatever you do, don’t do a Trump and bury your head in the sand. You want to be gazing squarely ahead at your future – knowing you have what it takes, come what may, including enough money to see you through to the other side.
Nima Abu Wardeh describes herself using three words: Person. Parent. Pupil. Each day she works out which one gets priority, sharing her journey on finding-nima.com