Volatile and uncertain waters

The last few weeks in the financial markets have brought back to my mind an experience from my youth. As a fourteen year old I was fortunate enough (that`s looking back) to go away as an unpaid “decky learner” on the Kingston Garnet, a deep sea fishing boat from Hull. It was at the time of the Icelandic Cod Wars which also added to the excitement. The trips would last around five weeks and of course during that time, especially in winter, the weather could on occasions be foul and dangerous. This was the time of beam trawlers, the stern trawler had not yet been designed. When hauling the nets the boat was beam on to the sea and a big wave coming aboard required agility, commonsense and luck to avoid casualties. I now get to my point. The skipper would address my concerns by saying that if you have taken all the actions within your knowledge to make the boat and crew safe, then you can do no more and the rest is in the hands of the Gods. He believed that we were all just passing time between birth and death and we should make the best use of this allotted span which fortunately is an unknown. His views were probably formed in the war.

So is this so dissimilar from investing in today’s markets? Of course mistakes are unlikely to be life threatening but you still have to bring all your knowledge to bear on your decision making. You want your savings to be as safe as is sensibly possible. The markets can on occasions like now, be as unpredictable as the weather, so if they look stormy and you feel insecure then take action and go into cash or the equivalent. We have the luxury of not having to carry on fishing to secure a livelihood. We can wait for better investment weather.

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