Adapting to life’s hurricanes

In today's volatile world, a resilient financial plan is vital, capable of weathering unforeseen life events, political instability, and external forces. While detailed, it must also remain flexible to adapt to life's uncertainties.

Nonnie Canham CFP®

Nonnie Canham CFP®

GEPF Specialist / Private Wealth Manager

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Adapting to life’s hurricanes

Honduras is a rather economically challenged country that is prone to devastating weather conditions such as floods, tropical storms, landslides and hurricanes. Much of the infrastructure is often flattened by these weather events and the country is constantly in some stage of rebuilding.

In 1996, a Japanese company in Honduras began construction of a bridge over the Choluteca River. The Choluteca Bridge was to connect a new bypass road but most importantly, it needed to be robust enough to withstand the frequent and extreme weather conditions.

Aren’t we like that? We want clear plans and road maps and we want permanent solutions. Once a client has sat with an advisor and they’ve, together, constructed a bullet-proof plan and a clear way forward, it can feel like, ‘Tick’, that’s done and on to the next thing… Permanently…

There’s much to be said for permanence and resilience. In 1998 however, a few months after the bridge was completed and commissioned for use, Honduras was pummeled by Hurricane Mitch (Cat 5). While every other bridge in Honduras was destroyed, the Choluteca Bridge lived up to expectations and was still standing firmly in the aftermath. The problem was, both ends of the road it connected were gone, and so powerful had been the storm, that the Choluteca River had permanently changed course and no longer flowed below the bridge. The bridge now stood alone, unable to fulfill its intended function, with the river it once stood over, flowing beside it… It quickly became known as ‘The bridge to nowhere’.

Bridge Choluteca
Source: Google

Life will be filled with personal hurricanes. They need not all be bad… They could include marriage or divorce, the birth of children or the death of loved ones, retrenchment from work or the windfall of an inheritance, relocation for a new job or retrenchment from a long-standing job, injury and disability or retiring exactly as planned, purchasing a larger home or receiving an adverse medical diagnosis.

If Covid-19, and the war between Russia and Ukraine, and stage 6 loadshedding, and the conflict between Israel and Palestine, and constant increases at the pump, and nine consecutive interest rate hikes have taught us anything, its that we cannot predict what future events will shape our world and affect our lives, but also that we have grit and we figure it out and we adapt and carry on… Your best laid financial plans should be able to do the same.

2024 has been referred to as a ‘Voldemort’ year, with more voters than any other time in history heading to the polls. At least 64 countries will be holding elections and those countries represent nearly 70% of the global GDP. The outcomes of these elections could sway markets. This is just one reason to chat to your financial advisor and keep them up to date with changes you may be planning or experiencing so that they can make necessary adjustments to ‘The Plan’… but only if those changes are necessary. There is no need to alter for the sake of altering. It needs to make sense in the circumstances. But it also needs to be an available and exercisable option.

The bullet-proof financial road map that was designed for a life that went predictably according to the script will also need to be malleable enough to bend with life’s hurricanes, so that you don’t break, and end up with a Financial Roadmap to nowhere.


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