Profit from the crisis

by | Jul 25, 2002 | Archives

As the stock market plummets (I explain again why in tomorrow's message and what to look forward to) we have to ask how much more can our standard of living drop?

During our recent trip to England, I drove a rented car on the left side of the road, jet lagged and all. The Somerset roads are made for small skinny cars. Ours, a Renualt station wagon was big and fat (relatively speaking), at least it felt this way as I whipped along, forcing my travel gritted eyes open and trying not to ram the speeding car ahead as I hoped the speeding car behind would avoid smashing into me. Traffic was summer west-country…. in other words many cars jammed bumper to bumper along hedge row lined roads so you felt totally hedged (excuse the pun) in. Of course this being holiday time, everyone had to drive fast. I think this was because the sun was out that morning and everyone wanted to get wherever they were going so they could enjoy this brief lapse in the normally foul summer weather. (Everyone said there has been no summer before we arrived). Anyhow if they can drive at excessive speed in the fog, why bother to slow down in the sun.

Somehow, I managed most of the time (except when pulling out from a non alcoholic pub lunch when I gave the drivers in the right hand lane a bit of a shock) to stay left and not bang the side of the car against the all too near verge. Slowly over the week my aim to the left improved. In fact I even survived driving the London traffic jams, even when the underground went on a day of strike. Enjoyed it in fact until I reached the gas pumps. Five dollars a gallon!

London is quite amazing in that someone can charge you $20 for a bowl of cereal and not be wearing a mask!

This is where we can see how bad things can get. In England taking six people out for lunch or dinner is quite an experience when it comes to finance. If the high cost of living almost anywhere else is a problem I suggest spending a day or two living in the shadow of Big Ben! Each meal worked out however I tried to deal with it to be $150 to $200! Breakfast, lunch and dinner at restaurants that are not all that special can easily blow a thousand bucks.

This is not to say that one can not live there much more cheaply but just to enjoy something that is a little nice really costs! The average earner here cannot enjoy any finer things in life.

A cup of coffee for example at the seminar hotel was four pounds which at current conversion rates is seven bucks and the croissant two pounds so just one cup of coffee and a croissant for Merri me and a client was $30! A not good breakfast at the Comfort Inn Kensington where we stayed was $18 and a horrible greasy breakfast at Gatwick on our way home for four was well over $50 without toast. We were so happy that we had all those wonderful days in Glastonbury at Tordown, where we felt comfortable and contented and where prices were extremely reasonable!

Since we don't do this often it's not a big deal and we just stopped thinking about it and we did enjoy rummaging around in Merri's and my old neighborhood and haunts near Moscow Road, the Art Cafe, Whitelys, the Good Fortune Restaurant (with lots of sea weed), etc. But what if you lived in this day after day? And what if you were living on a pension or social security and your purchasing power was eroding so that it was a big deal to even buy a tank of gas?

This is how bad it can get and this is why I spoke about how to have your own business regardless of your age. Having a way to continue your earnings, especially in times of tough investment markets, is vital and during the next 15 years we can count on those who have a fixed income to have their standards of living drop.

One of the great parts of travel is we get increased perspectives and by visiting countries that are less efficient than our own we can see how society can and does impose a vastly reduced standard of millions of people. People in England earn a lot less than most people in the industrialized world and this makes their lives very gray.You should be thankful for what you have now and start right now assuring that your standard can be protected. This is why I will feature International Business Made EZ at Jyske Bank's upcoming course August 29 through September 3 in Copenhagen. See

How bad is the economy and how can this help you? One way to spot a troubled society is when they fall into nostalgia. This is why the article in July 5th USA today page 1D entitled “Stuck in the 60s: MIB II brings back the twister” gives us a clue. The article points out that the 60s game Twister (I remember playing this before I left for Hong Kong in 1968) is reemerging. The game was even featured in the movie MIB II. The article states that event planners now incorporate the game into business parties and there's at least one New York night spot (where so many trends begin) with twister woven into the carpet. Hasbro the toy manufacturer of this game are not surprised. When the economy drops conversations turn retro and things like lava lamps and this game return!

Be warned and if you are selling things use nostalgia now. Until next message may your business be only and bring only good!