Losing Your Retirement Savings

Newspapers and other media are full of the bad news: professional managers of the retirement savings of many people, usually ‘parked’ in their superannuation funds, have lost billions of dollars via their investment strategies.

Of course, these professionals ‘blame’ the markets. It’s nothing to do with them!

There are two ideas to consider.

Firstly, is it wise for you to contemplate retirement in any event?

And secondly, would it be wiser for you to learn how to invest so you can take control, rather than leaving it to professionals because you have chosen not to learn?

On the first point, I believe that retirement is an unnatural act. My definition of retirement is that point of life when you cease to make a meaningful contribution. It is nothing to do with earning, or not earning, money.

Nothing in nature ‘retires’: birds don’t, plants and trees don’t, lions and tigers don’t. The essence of nature is being in the game of life.

Retirement is trying to get out of the game of life, but have the benefits.

‘Meaningful’ is different for every person. When you make a meaningful contribution, your experience of life is enhanced. You will be healthier, more energetic, and more interesting to those around you.

I hope never to ‘retire’.

Do your own thinking: are you trapped by the majority view that the purpose of life is to work, to save money, to retire, and then really start living?

On the second point, the world is changing so rapidly that each of us has to become a lifelong learner, otherwise we have to hand control of important issues to others. If you choose not to learn about investing, you are taking a big risk: the risk of relying on professionals in financial services areas. I have seen too many examples of how hard it is to pick a reliable professional.

Think about the value to you of learning to manage your own retirement savings!



How should Politicians handle mistakes?

Politicians make mistakes.

You and I make mistakes.

My hero, Buckminster Fuller (1896-1983) stated clearly, and my research has shown this to be true, that human beings only learn through trial and error. Making mistakes is an inevitable process of getting better at whatever you want to get better at.

As a professional speaker, I continue to make mistakes as I work on developing my skills on the platform or in workshops. I don’t like making them, but I know I need to!

In Victoria, the Auditor-General has recently reported that the Victorian Government’s Department of Justice had a bad process, read ‘mistaken’, for the auction of poker machines. The Government missed out on over $3 billion of revenue for this mistake.

How should the Premier of Victoria, indeed all political leaders, handle such mistakes?

I believe that a clear mistakes policy needs to be articulated against which behaviours are measured. I have helped many senior executives craft such policies for themselves and for their organisations. It is possible to do this and the benefits are many.

My message to you is this: what do you believe about the mistakes you make in your life? What is your philosophy on handling them?

And if a politician expressed such a view, would that help you in deciding whether to vote or not vote for that politician?