“When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do?”
These words may or may not have been spoken by the eminent economist John Maynard ‘Lord’ Keynes. No one is really sure who said them. But regardless of their provenance, the sentiment is a really smart one. People need to adapt to new circumstances. It is how humans have always survived.
The above thought came to mind for us last week as we watched the women’s final of the Australian Open. As you might have seen, Naomi Osaka beat Jennifer Brady to claim her fourth grand slam title. Well played Naomi. But it is Brady’s story that we really liked.
In case you missed it, Brady was one of a number of players who travelled to Australia on a plane that also carried at least one person who tested positive for coronavirus upon touchdown. That meant that Brady, like all her fellow passengers, had to do a ‘hard’ two-week quarantine in Melbourne, where she was confined to her hotel room 24 hours a day for 14 days straight.
The same thing happened to a number of players and there was an unedifying media pile-on of those who dared to ‘complain,’ either in person or through Twitter or Instagram, about the fact that they were unexpectedly in hard lockdown.
Brady’s response to quarantine was a little unusual, however. According to reports, she turned a mattress side on, laid it against a wall and hit tennis balls into it. She also eschewed Netflix, not wanting to succumb to temptation, and dined on takeaway for fourteen days straight. This is probably not the usual preparation for a person ranked 22 in an upcoming tournament!
In short, Brady adapted to her new set of circumstances and made the best of her situation. Then she came out and dropped just two sets on her way to a grand slam tennis final.
What a great example for the rest of us! And the example is especially important for our financial management. Almost everyone is facing a very different financial situation to the one they faced before this awful virus raised its head. For some, their employment income has fallen or collapsed entirely. For others, they have seen their retirement incomes drop as interest rates fall to near zero. Some have seen savings plans dashed, potentially pushing back their plans to buy that first home, take a holiday or retire.
And, of course, for some who have been more lucky, the unexpected and extended rise in share markets, along with the predicted boom in housing prices, has actually meant that Covid-19 has been a financial positive.
Either way, because of the changes, our former plans almost certainly have to be adapted. The good news is that a review of our financial plan does not require us to lock ourselves away for fourteen days hitting a tennis ball against a padded wall. For most of us, it requires no more than a phone call and a thoughtful conversation. So, as we move towards the end of another summer, why not give us a call and, like Brady and Keynes before her, let your thinking change to suit your new reality.