Those of you who read this blog regularly will know that I’ve been less than diligent with my posts recently. Baring your soul on the Internet to people you’ve never actually met seems to be the “done” thing these days, so I’ve decided to pull back the curtain and share where I am these days, in terms of my financial worries. Being able to be open about these things (and a possible upcoming career change) is one of the benefits of blogging anonymously, so here we go:
“You’ve got to be very careful if you don’t know where you’re going, because you might not get there.” Turns out, Yogi Berra might have been a half-decent financial planner.
I am by nature a goal-oriented person. Once I know where I’m going, I make a plan and work towards it, with what I think is probably an above-average level of focus. While this means that I disapear from my friends’ (and somtimes even family’s) view for weeks or months at a time, once I’ve got a goal in mind, I focus a lot of energy attaining that goal. This approach generally works quite well for me.
And yet it occurred to me several months ago that I had no specific goals for my finances. I hope to retire some day, I hope to pay off my house some day, and I hope to be able to pay for life’s little surprises, (like a new water heater this past winter) without having to go into debt to do it. While those are all good goals, they are far from specific. Also, I had no specific order in which I was trying to achieve these goals; house first, or large passive income first? What about simultaneously? I have come to realize in the past year or so that because I didn’t know exactly where I was going, I was having trouble getting there.
After my two posts of earlier this week, (newspaper paywalls and lessons learned from a changing world) I’ve been thinking about how much the world has changed over my lifetime, and future business trends over next forty years.
Change isn’t bad for all companies. I remember visiting a historical park fifteen years ago, and setting eyes on a weigh-scale that had “International Business Machines” prominently displayed on it. IBM has certainly had ups and downs over the past century, but they are still very much a going concern. This is because they have adapted to changing times and have not gotten complacent with their business. IBM’s initial business has long since gone the way of the Do-Do, but not all companies are as nimble. It might be instructive to go through a list of previously great companies that have recently withered and died : Enron, Lehman Brothers, Kodak, Eaton’s, and RIM, currently hanging on by the skin of its teeth. But that’s not what this post is about. This post is about fearlessly predicting which currently-great companies (or industries) may stumble in the future. These predictions will all seem ridiculous now, and I’ll probably be wrong on most, if not all of them, but it’s still a good idea to keep an open mind about a changing world.