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Finance: Three pillars of happiness for worry-free golden years

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Finance: Three pillars of happiness for worry-free golden years | The Thaiger

PHUKET: Much of my time is spent with clients figuring out exactly what they want for the future – key to their financial planning goals.

Typically it ends with setting aside a certain amount of money each month over a period of time – investing it with a particular objective in mind, or getting clients savings that are sitting in the bank working harder than they currently are.

If you have ever read Stephen Covey’s wildly successful book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, you may be familiar with his concept of beginning with the end in mind. I have always tried to follow this approach to financial planning, and in my opinion the end goal we all have in common is to retire happily and spend our golden years worry free.

It makes sense to think about what exactly is required to reach this worry-free state of happiness. I have learned that it basically boils down to three things. It doesn’t mean that having these three things will ensure you happiness, but without them it just isn’t possible. In short, they are time, money and health. In financial terms, they are often referred to as “time freedom”, “financial freedom” and “health freedom”.

To have real financial freedom, you need to first determine what your ideal lifestyle would be. This is different for everyone, and of course, it needs to be a lifestyle that can be maintained within your means.

If, for example, you are living a lifestyle that is not allowing your net worth to grow, or at least be maintained, then worry is going to creep in. Having a shrinking retirement pot is the worst thing facing retirees, and I can only imagine the horror that must come with knowing that you will probably outlive your finances.

This is where “time freedom” really needs to be defined. If your time is really free, then you won’t be spending all day worrying about your finances. While those of us who don’t have to punch a time clock may have partial time freedom, hours spent worrying about businesses problems is not really time freedom in its true sense.

Nor are hours spent worrying about stock market gyrations. Health is an obvious one, because all the money and time in the world means nothing, if you are in hospital or too out of shape to pursue active hobbies that can bring you happiness. You don’t need a financial adviser to tell you to eat right and go get some exercise, but you still ought to do it, or you’ll be the richest miserable person in the infirmary.
The other two pillars are best dealt with by building passive income streams from the various kinds of income investments. Unfortunately we are still in a low interest rate environment where most safe income investments pay next to nothing.

High-yielding dividend stocks, even blue chips, place your capital at risk in the next inevitable crash. High-yielding bonds (high only in the relative sense of the word) place your capital at interest rate risk when rates eventually do rise. Rental properties, both residential and commercial, are illiquid. Money market funds give negative inflation adjusted returns.

So how can you retire and achieve this kind of worry-free happiness in the current environment? It’s not easy, but as with every investment environment, this too shall pass. Preserve your capital as best you can by diversifying and balancing out the above risks as much as possible.

Build multiple income streams from a mix of the above investments and avoid doing anything to put a big chunk where there is significant downside risk – that is, the stock market after seven up years in a row, or long-term bonds at the end of a 30-year bull market in bonds. Both of these markets will eventually crash and provide excellent low-risk opportunities. At the moment, patience is still the most important thing required to reach the elusive freedoms that are difficult to obtain in this world.

David Mayes MBA resides in Phuket and provides wealth management services to expatriates around the globe, focusing on UK pension transfers. He can be reached at david.m@faramond.com or 085-335-8573. Faramond UK is regulated by the FCA and provides advice on pensions and taxation.

— David Mayes

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO

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Governments & old media versus social media – who will win? | VIDEO | The Thaiger

We look at the recent changes made by the Australian and Indian governments to except control over the world’s biggest social media platforms. India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social. There is now an open battle between the rise of social media platforms and the governments and ‘old’ media that have been able to maintain a certain level of control over the ‘message’ for the last century. Who will win?

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told. The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO

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The social media giants in battle with ‘old’ media and world governments | VIDEO | The Thaiger

“The rules signal greater willingness by countries around the world to rein in big tech firms such as Google, Facebook and Twitter that the governments fear have become too powerful with little accountability.”

India has issued strict new rules for Facebook, Twitter and other social media platforms just weeks after the Indian government attempted to pressure Twitter to take down social media accounts it deemed, well, anti social.

The rules require any social media company to create three roles within India… a “compliance officer” who ensures they follow local laws; a “grievance officer” who addresses complaints from Indian social media users; and a “contact person” who can actually be contacted by lawyers and other aggrieved Indian parties… 24/7.

The companies are also being made to publish a compliance report each month with details about how many complaints they’ve received and the action they took.

They’ll also be required to remove ‘some’ types of content including “full or partial nudity,” any “sexual act” or “impersonations including morphed images”

The democratisation of the news model, with social media as its catalyst, will continue to baffle traditional media and governments who used to enjoy a level of control over what stories get told.

The battles of Google and Facebook, with the governments of India and Australia will be followed in plenty of other countries as well.

At the root of all discussions will be the difference between what governments THINK social media is all about and the reality about how quickly the media landscape has changed. You’ll get to read about it first, on a social media platform… probably on the screen you’re watching this news story right now.

Keep in contact with The Thaiger by following our Facebook page.

Never miss out on future posts by following The Thaiger.

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Business

Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO

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Turbulence ahead for Thailand’s aviation industry | VIDEO | The Thaiger

When the airlines, in particular, were asking the government to put their hands in their pockets for some relief funding in August last year, it was genuinely thought that international tourists would be coming back for the high season in December and January. At the very least local tourists and expats would head back to the skies over the traditional holiday break. And surely the Chinese would be back for Chinese New Year?

As we know now, none of that happened. A resurge in cases started just south of Bangkok on December 20 last year, just before Christmas, kicking off another round of restrictions, pretty much killing off any possibility of a high season ‘bump’ for the tourist industry. Airlines slashed flights from their schedule, and hotels, which had dusted off their reception desks for the surge of tourists, shut their doors again.

Domestically, the hotel business saw 6 million room nights in the government’s latest stimulus campaign fully redeemed. But the air ticket quota of 2 million seats still has over 1.3 million seats unused. Local tourists mostly skipped flights and opted for destinations within driving distance of their homes.

As for international tourism… well that still seems months or years away, even now.

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