Living in interesting times

Neil Jankelowitz, Senior Financial Advisor

We really are living in interesting times, where we are experiencing changes at an alarming rate.

For one, technology is upending workflow and processes in the financial services industry. Tasks once facilitated using physical money, bulky computers and human interaction are now being completed entirely on streamlined digital interfaces.

As the world of work continues to evolve, so staying relevant becomes much more difficult. Even the skills of new varsity graduates are practically outdated by the time they step into their first jobs. New technologies are constantly emerging and disrupting business as we know it.

So how do we as your financial advisors ensure we keep abreast of technology and information in this ever-changing world?

By embracing partnerships that assist us in constructing and actively managing your portfolio, which in turn enable us to ensure that both wealth creation and wealth preservation is possible, regardless of what markets and economies are doing.

I’m reminded of a wonderful parable:

 Once, a young woman went to see her father. With a look of sadness on her face, she told him, ‘Dad, I’m so tired of everything. Everything’s going wrong at work and in my personal life, I haven’t got the strength to cope anymore. What should I do?’ Her father answered, ‘Let me show you.’

 He placed three saucepans of water on the stove, and fetched a carrot, an egg and some coffee. He then lowered each into the three separate pans. After a few minutes he turned off the heat and asked his daughter, ‘Well, what happened to them?’

‘The carrot and egg boiled, and the coffee dissolved,’ the young woman said. Yes,’ replied the father, ‘but if we think about it more carefully, we can see that the carrot, which was hard, became soft and compliant to the touch. Whereas the egg was fragile and like liquid, but became hard. Outwardly, they look exactly the same as they did before, but on the inside they’re completely different because of the influence of the same hostile force. The same thing happens to people. People who seem strong on the outside can lose it and become weak under pressure, but there are also those who seem fragile but become tougher and stronger when they face the same difficult circumstances.’

 

‘What about the coffee?’

 ‘Ah, the coffee is the most interesting one. It completely dissolved in the new aggressive environment and changed it, turning the boiling water into a wonderfully refreshing drink. The coffee is like those people who can’t be changed by their circumstances, and instead actively alter those circumstances themselves, turning them into something new, finding a way to extract benefit and new knowledge from them. The point is, how you react in difficult circumstances depends entirely on you. It’s your choice.’

At Octagon we do our best to stay ahead of these inevitable changes with their constant curve balls and where the unknown has become the norm.

Through this uncertainty we have developed a strong investment process that has allowed us to remove the emotion that normally affects financial decision making. Because of this we remain confident through the comfortable ups and the uncomfortable downs with which the markets entertain us.

We are not like every other brokerage; we don’t believe in conducting ourselves in the same manner as others, as we acknowledge the wonderful uniqueness that exists within our team of advisors and investment experts.

After all, as Wayne Dyer once said, ‘If you change the way you look at things, the things you look at change.’

Here’s to embracing that change, together.