Investing When You Lose Faith
Navigating Uncertainty I recently went to the 19th anniversary of a money conference in Boston. The byline for the conference was “The Heart of Money Matters- Keep It Ticking for Good”. So you can see that it was not just about financial issues, but had the goal of upending people’s conventional ways of thinking about money and support them in looking at themselves in a new way. The participants were mostly financial planners, but also included a few coaches and therapists. This conference was a window into a world I have not been much part of – financial planners- and it was very enlightening.
There were about 15 sessions at the conference, and I loved the collaborative way in which the sessions were established which spoke to their focus on community and human capital. Also, their emphasis on consciousness spoke to me. They recognized we are in a transition from the Age of Information to the Age of Awareness. So I thought it would be helpful if I summarized some of the things I heard at the conference. After all, these are the people who deal daily with money and are making recommendations to the rest of us of how to invest.
One of the sessions was on navigating uncertainty. There is a growing recognition that the money system is not going to work. Many people are thinking in terms of survival, not retirement. With this comes a growing cynicism and the “dark side” of certainty. Human beings crave certainty and security, but when you live with a money system where corruption is feature, and probably not a problem that can be solved, then we have to start psychologically trying to live with uncertainty. There are some who still believe the market is a self-correcting system and invest in companies with profits, but ordinary people are recognizing that the markets are okay, the 1% is okay, but most people are losing ground through unemployment and rising prices. There is fear there won’t be any “corrections” while they are still solvent. What is abundantly clear, is that there is a loss of faith by many and no hope for people any longer without bringing integrity and ethics into the markets.
This is what I say in my book, Money•Spirituality•Consciousness about uncertainty and money:
Accumulating huge amounts of money and hoarding it do not make a sense of insecurity go away, not only because of the deficiency underlying all ego structures but also because deep down we know that ultimately we are all going to die. It doesn’t matter how much you have; money will never create true inner security. It will never be your true support. Even the 1 percent who own 97 percent of the world’s wealth are not really secure. When for any reason we don’t feel supported, it can feel scary, as though we might fall endlessly into emptiness. This fear causes us to contract, and we can become hard and aggressive in our attempt to create a solid ground underneath us through our own efforts. But uncertainty is inherent in life—there is no secure perch to stand on to keep us above the floodtide. We don’t know what is going to happen in the next moment or even if we will be alive.
So, we need to start thinking about building resilience and not just nest eggs. This resilience includes learning to self- resource as far as food, health and our community. I would say it like this: what is required is turning toward ourselves and our own consciousness and taking responsibility for what is unfolding. There was reference to an interesting book on uncertainty by epistemologies Nassim Nicholas Taleb called Black Swan, which was on the New York Times bestseller list in 2007 and was recently updated, that you might like to check out. Some of the strategies that these financial planners were suggesting, I was happy to see, are also things I have suggested in my book in my chapter on investing: Don’t focus on the markets, but on human capital, risk management, and increasing your emotional intelligence. Get out of the centralized money system, Planet Financial, and stay away from modern portfolio theory investments such as those with Dimensional Fund Advisors that homogenizes the world’s investments and thus people. Instead, find opportunities in the “Real World” such as small local companies, sustainable businesses and triple-bottom-line companies (those that care about Planet, People and Profit). Look for opportunities that rebuild connection, community and collaboration. In that vein, you could check out Slow Money, a movement to organize investors and donors for small food enterprises, organic farms and local food systems. Their first principal is “We must bring money back to earth.” If it is true, that we are all one phone-call away from disaster, then we each need to include disaster scenario planning in our financial plans. Catherine Austin Fitts of Solari.com has such a plan included in her audio seminar “Positioning Your Assets for Growth in Uncertain Times.” To remind yourself that being wrong is okay. Human consciousness evolves from its beliefs and learns from failing. So yes, control the variables you can (e.g. insurance and cash flow), and minimize risk on those you can’t (e.g. stock market), but accept it is part of your growing consciousness to learn. What is interesting to me, is a lot of this points to the loss of bureaucracies and the rising up of the individual. We can no longer indulge in willful blindness- we are being forced by the money system to face our delusions and take responsibility for ourselves and our lives. This is a movement of consciousness. We are here, not to be followers, but to be whom we each are, a unique consciousness, a perception of the Source of Being that has never happened before and will never happen again, your True Nature. That is the destiny for each of us, and in my view the collapse of the existing money system, however long or short, or smooth or disastrous, is a fundamental part of that movement of consciousness.