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Phuket finance: Staying the course

Legacy Phuket Gazette

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Phuket finance: Staying the course | The Thaiger
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PHUKET: Retirees have really been given a raw deal by the global financial system ever since the big banks created the mess that led to the financial crisis in 2008. Since then, the banks have been bailed out and the economy has been on life support, at the expense of those trying to live on the fixed income they worked their whole lives to create.

In order to stimulate the economy, interest rates have been at rock bottom for an astonishing six years now. Despite the low returns on fixed income, it has never been more important to avoid risky investments.

Over the past few years there have been many horror stories from those who should have been in safe assets in a normal interest-rate environment, but instead have been trying to make up for the lack of return. Many people are still moving into riskier asset classes even now, and with money they really cannot afford to lose.

The thing retirees should remember is that their retirement could possibly last many decades, if they survive that long, and they need to preserve their capital to be able to take advantage of higher rates – when they eventually do come back. Even though they feel the pinch very painfully now, trust that it is less painful than the results of making a big mistake with retirement funds that can’t be undone.

The following asset classes should absolutely be avoided by the bulk of retirees’ net worth if they have stopped working, and do not wish to re-enter the workforce during their golden years.

The first is stocks. A crash will come. While nobody can say when for sure, the longer any bull market runs, the higher the probability that a crash is coming soon. Of course, a recovery and rebound to eventual new highs always happens, but it’s impossible to participate if money needs to be drawn out to survive. With this is included specialist funds, which used to be a good choice. Sadly, that asset class has proven to have far too high a percentage of shyster fund-managers to risk retirement funds with.

Bond funds with durations over a few years are also to be avoided, as it is mathematically impossible for them to avoid losses on their portfolios when interest rates eventually do rise. Interest-rate risk is at the highest it has been in decades. It is better to buy medium-termed individual holdings of top-grade corporations that can be held to maturity. This eliminates interest rates, albeit at the expense of an increase in inflation risk and company specific risk. Only buy triple A-rated senior debt and diversify as much as possible.

The main thing to always remember is that investing is a long-term game that can be destroyed by short-term thinking. We have all fallen victim to short-term thinking at some point. Hopefully, the lessons learned will help avoid making a similar mistake again. Better days for retirees will come. Exactly when is hard to say, but they will come for sure. Make sure to have an intact capital base when that day comes.

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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Archiving articles from the Phuket Gazette circa 1998 - 2017. View the Phuket Gazette online archive and Digital Gazette PDF Prints.

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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.

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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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