Monday, January 12, 2015

What We Can Learn from the Costa Ricans

As we discussed last time, our big prediction for 2015 is that we’ll continue to live in an era of extreme volatility. The highs will be higher, the lows will be lower, and there will be more unpredictable days on the horizon than predictable ones. As James Stewart opined in Friday’s New York Times, “volatility will be the new normal.” It’s not all bad. Just volatile. For instance, the equity markets, labor market and fuel prices (for consumers) are in better shape than at any time since the Great Recession. But the global economic slowdown, combined with meager wage growth and a new wave of terrorist gains continues to wreak havoc on the psyches of investors, business decision makers and consumers at large.

We’re not in a position to recommend solutions, only this advice—be ready for everything, stay on the alert constantly and seize opportunities when they arise.

There will be plenty of threats to your practices (and well being) this year--but also plenty of opportunities. Stay sharp and stay hungry. Just don’t assume the bait and lures that work so well today are the ones that necessarily help you land the right fish a few months from now. If you haven’t been fishing successfully for a while, do you know why? Just as important. If you have been reeling ‘em in for the past few years, do you know why you’ve been successful? If you don’t know how to replicate your success then you’re in just as precarious position as those on a losing streak.
More importantly, learn to enjoy life no matter what it throws at you—“Pura Vida” as they say in Costa Rica, where my family and I just returned from vacation. I’ve had more than my fair share of aggravation since returning, on top of crappy Northeast weather. But, that’s OK.

The benefits of being away from the daily grind for 8 days, combined with the adrenalin rush of zip-lining through the jungle at 80 miles per hour, surfing on the pacific, ATV’ing waist deep mud and watching a 500 pound Leatherback turtle lay eggs on a moonlit beach at 2 am, will pay dividends throughout the next 3 months of crappy weather, excessive taxes and endless deadlines.

Costa Ricans place a great cultural emphasis on family and friends as Nicholas Kristof once observed as well as a "higher priority on social capital than financial capital.”
Keep that in mind as you help clients plan for their life goals, not to mention yours.

More on that next week.

Let’s have a great 2015. HB

No comments: