Wednesday, April 1, 2009

It was funny before, but honestly, am I being taken by everyone?

In reality, most of us will never step foot in a place like the resort the AIG execs ran up a $500,000 bill at, but we have each paid for that right thousands of times over now, not to mention we should get to take a private jet to get there. At least with the NFL owners, it seems less direct. We only fund them through multi-billion dollar tax rebates for new stadiums with more seating so they can have more attendance revenue. That's better than just writing a check.

Every day there is enough news to make us all go through every stage of grief:

  • Shock & Denial
  • Pain & Guilt
  • Anger & Bargaining
  • Depression, Reflection, Loneliness
  • Reconstruction
  • Acceptance & Hope
Who hasn't felt most of those first stages over the past year? Practically everyone in my community of Elkhart, the epicenter of unemployment has. So let's ignore the feelings for a moment and ask how we can be (like my prior post) the scrappy underdog who comes out on top. Here are some thoughts:

  • Deal in reality. Move yourself faster to the process of acceptance. Don't sit and wait for the market to come back. You are responsible for your financial future. No law or bailout is going to fix the market. What is wrong with the market has been wrong for a long time and can't be unwound overnight.
  • A time will come where those who take thoughtful, concerted action, will advance far ahead of those who wait for the right time.
  • Think in high probabilities when having to trust others.
  • Be willing to increase risk when you have more control.
The last point may be the most important. Business owners who sold their companies in the past 5 years to 'diversify' and invested the proceeds in the capital markets, likely have a great amount of regret today. A company they control in this environment seems to be much better than the best company they have no authority over.

When was the last time a shareholder vote really wiped out a Board of Directors of a public company? How bad does it have to get before that happens?