Merri and I just returned from England where we enjoyed touring Bristol. There is so much history there.
We had a great view of the Clifton suspension bridge from our hotel. Yet we were looking for more than views on the trip.
While there, we enjoyed our daughter Eleanor’s wedding but also visited with our son Jake and our daughter Francesca in Bristol.
Here I am with Jake and Francesca at a fountain on Bristol’s floating harbor.
When we travel… Merri and I observe as much as we can trying to spot distortions… see trends and glimpse dots to connect.
Our generation is truly privileged to be the first with such easy access to so much of the world. Merri and I take advantage of this fact and we look for ways that cultures differ and ways they are the same.
This process helps us see how gaining, keeping and enjoying wealth might differ in the decades ahead.
This is why our recent message This Time Things will be Different mentioned the book by Ken Rogoff and Carmen Reinhart: “This time it is different”… because this is a good theme to follow… “this time things will be different.”
This means that even if we follow all the rules, sometimes we need more.
Of course every time has been different. Buggy whip makers could have run a perfect operation and failed when society adopted the car. Secretarial schools that were perfect in every detail for the 70s, flopped in the 80s because the computer replaced so many secretarial skills.
For example in Bristol we saw on our trip how the city has blossomed around the floating harbor, with…
homes on and…
above the water. Museums… the wooden vessel on the right is a replica of the Matthew… the ship that John Cabot sailed to discover North America.
These cranes are no longer operative but lead to a museum built from the Brunel designed ship the SS Great Britain.
There is delightful water ferry travel up and down the city.
There are businesses along the water front.
Lloyds Bank headquarters, plus…
many floating restaurants (on right) and…
Bristol’s floating harbor is the heartbeat of this vibrant exciting city… yet in the late 1960s the city council voted to fill in the harbor and put in a main road! Fortunately voter resistance and the recession of the early 1970s scuppered the plan.
Then… more roads… seemed to be the thing. Now… that’s not such a good idea. Times have changed.
Every time is different… every day… every decade… every era.
The key to gaining, keeping and enjoying wealth is spotting the differences and understanding what successes will be new.
As economics and demographics change… the rich will get richer… the poorer will be more poor.
These changes are affecting everyone. The retiring boomers are finding their pensions and Social Security gone… or inadequate. University graduates find their educations useless.. they cannot get jobs.
Then there is the story of the working middle… depicted in a recent New York Times article entitled “99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation”
by Michael Luo.
An excerpt says: BRATTLEBORO, Vt. — Facing eviction from her Tennessee apartment after several months of unpaid rent, Alexandra Jarrin packed up whatever she could fit into her two-door coupe recently and drove out of town.
Ms. Jarrin, 49, wound up at a motel here, putting down $260 she had managed to scrape together from friends and from selling her living room set, enough for a weeklong stay. It was essentially all the money she had left after her unemployment benefits expired in March. Now she is facing a previously unimaginable situation for a woman who, not that long ago, had a corporate job near New York City and was enrolled in a graduate business school, whose sticker is still emblazoned on her back windshield.
“Barring a miracle, I’m going to be in my car,” she said.
Ms. Jarrin is part of a hard-luck group of jobless Americans whose members have taken to calling themselves “99ers,” because they have exhausted the maximum 99 weeks of unemployment insurance benefits that they can claim.
For them, the resolution recently of the lengthy Senate impasse over extending jobless benefits was no balm. The measure renewed two federal programs that extended jobless benefits in this recession beyond the traditional 26 weeks to anywhere from 60 to 99 weeks, depending on the state’s unemployment rate. But many jobless have now exceeded those limits. They are adjusting to a new, harsh reality with no income.
In June, with long-term unemployment at record levels, about 1.4 million people were out of work for 99 weeks or more, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Not all of them received unemployment benefits, but for many of those who did, the modest payments were a lifeline that enabled them to maintain at least a veneer of normalcy, keeping a roof over their heads, putting gas in their cars, paying electric and phone bills.
Without the checks, many like Ms. Jarrin, who lost her job as director of client services at a small technology company in March 2008, are beginning to tumble over the economic cliff. The last vestiges of their former working-class or middle-class lives are gone; it is inescapable now that they are indigent.
Ms. Jarrin said she wept as she drove away from her old life last month, wondering if she would ever be able to reclaim it.
Nevertheless, the political appetite to help people like Ms. Jarrin appears limited. Over the last few months, 99ers have tried to organize to press Congress to provide an additional tier of unemployment insurance. But the political potency of fears about the skyrocketing deficit has drowned them out. The notion that unemployment benefits discourage recipients from finding work has also crept into Republican arguments against extensions. As a result, the plight of 99ers was notably absent from the recent debate in the Senate.
Ms. Jarrin ping-pongs between resolve and despair. She received her last unemployment check in the third week of March, putting her among the first wave of 99ers. Her two checking accounts now show negative balances (she has overdrafts on both). Her cellphone has been ringing incessantly with calls from the financing company for her car loan. Her vehicle is on the verge of being repossessed.
It is a sickening plummet, considering that she was earning $56,000 a year in her old job, enjoyed vacationing in places like Mexico and the Caribbean, and had started business school in 2008 at Iona College.
Ms. Jarrin had scrabbled for her foothold in the middle class. She graduated from college late in life, in 2003, attending classes while working full time. She used to believe that education would be her ticket to prosperity, but is now bitter about what it has gotten her.
“I owe $92,000 for an education which is basically worthless,” she said.
Last year she moved to Brentwood, Tenn., south of Nashville, in search of work. After initially trying to finish her M.B.A. program remotely, she dropped out because of the stress from her sinking finances. She has applied for everything from minimum-wage jobs to director positions.
So, in her drab motel room, Ms. Jarrin has been spending her days surfing the Internet, applying for jobs.
Lining the shelves underneath the television are her food supplies: rice and noodles that Ms. Jarrin mixes with water in the motel’s ice bucket and heats up in a microwave; peanut butter and jelly; a loaf of white bread.
She has been struggling with new obstacles, like what to do when an address is required in online applications. She is worried about what will happen when her cellphone is finally cut off, because then any calls to the number she sent out with her résumés will disappear into a netherworld.
This time things will be different… even if we follow all the rules. Sometimes we need more.
If we are rich while others remain poor, we become prisoners of our own affluence, entrapped in the protections of our wealth. Abundance can only be truly enjoyed when surrounded by others of great wealth.
Mankind needs to progress together so I hope you will help me help others learn the secrets of everlasting wealth by passing this simple story about wealth along.
This is a legend about everlasting wealth inspired by the sea and harbors like Bristol. If you enjoy the daily messages you receive, your help can us bring this story to millions and in doing so help the new times and many more people gain, keep and enjoy wealth.
Lessons for Everlasting Wealth
I recently discovered an almost forgotten legend about an ancient race called the Lossen. They were a great ocean tribe far advanced for their time, plying the Pacific and bringing riches to their shores that no people in that time and place possessed. One tale is of a famous Ship’s Master named Turth who was famed for the way he traveled seas so swiftly and always returned with great treasure far richer than any had found.
Shiploads of gold and silver, precious gems, rare spices and metals forged to unheard of hardness had made him one of the richest and most powerful men in the land. Yet Turth, unlike other master mariners, had remained humble and he treated his men honestly and well.
One day, so the legend says, Captain Turth was approached by his apprentice Reekes. “Master, may I speak with you? I must request permissions and help from you, sir.”
The rich master knew this young man’s nature well. He was his most hard working assistant, honest, loyal and diligent beyond the nature of most seaman so the master bid him to sit and speak.
“Master,” said the young apprentice, “you have seen that I have worked hard in your service, but may not know that unlike many of those who have sailed with you , I have saved all the wages that you have paid.
Avoiding taverns and the alluring temptations of port that keep most on board weak and poor have helped make me financially strong.
“I have enough to purchase shares in a new vessel about to set sail for rich cargo in distant lands. With success, I shall gain sufficient wealth to purchase my own vessel and be a master like yourself.
“I ask your permission to sail with this vessel and have also favor to ask.”
Pleased with the young man, the master gave him leave and asked what favors he might need.
“Master,” the youth continued, “you always seem to know of great riches even before you set sail. Your ships cross the great waters safely and swiftly. Sir, please share with me these secrets that keep the wind full in your sails.”
The Captain leaned back, gazed over the calm Pacific as he quietly began to answer the young man.
“Son, you have worked earnestly and served me well. This tells me that the experiences will be good for you on the sea. I will speak of this knowledge though I do not share it easily as these lessons are meaningless for those who want the riches without the work.
“There are three lessons you must heed. The first is that a full wind singing in your sails is useless, even a dangerous siren, if you do not have a rudder that is well kept and attended by one who steers it true. The currents and winds on the seas are strong. Treachery is their nature and they feast on those who desire speed without control. This first lesson tells us that correct steering is more important than speed. Have a strong rudder and use it with great care.”
The old Captain then stood and walked to the water’s edge, recalling many memories as he continued. “But steering is useless without direction. Your rudder is large and your sextant small, but without good navigation you’ll travel to the wrong shores. The second lesson is to pay great attention to celestial beings. Only forces greater than ourselves lead us the correct way. Without them you cannot know where to go or where you have been. You may gain great speed but you will surely be lost.
“Finally,” the Captain sighed as he returned to his seat, “you must have a sturdy anchor and stout line.” Even the best voyage has times when skies are not clear. Then you must have a steady anchor that in times of uncertainty gives you a steady hold.
“These are the three secrets that have served me well. Follow the heavens. Steer correctly. Then look for strong winds to increase your speed. When good conditions are not present, rely on your anchor. Do not be afraid to wait.
“Now go my son and may the winds be with you!”
The young man left and sailed on his new vessel the very next morn.
Soon after the master set sail himself, found more treasure and returned many months later his ships heavy with silver and gold. As his vessel returned to port Turth saw the young apprentice standing shipside, looking bedraggled and poor.
“My master,” said the youth as the Captain disembarked, “I have waited long for your return as I seek employment on your vessel again. Our ship left port with a sturdy rudder, good sextant and anchor, but less than a week from this port we were caught in an unexpected, fierce storm. We floundered in hurricane winds and raging seas. All was lost. I still wish to become my own master, but must start at the beginning again. Can you give me work and more training to help me avoid such storms?”
To learn the master’s reply, go to Part Two
How We Can Serve You
Read the entire article 99 Weeks Later, Jobless Have Only Desperation