If you’ve been following developments in the global economy and financial markets this year, it would be an understatement to say that a lot has happened. With the world in disarray due to the global pandemic, most of us have probably been focused on the here and now, trying to figure out how bad the virus will get, when a vaccine might be available, how much economies will contract, how many people will lose their jobs, and what will happen to our investments. But with all the focus on what will happen today, it’s likely many have missed the European Union’s plan for a hydrogen-fueled tomorrow.
FOUR YEARS AGO – NOVEMBER 8th
It was past midnight in Riga, but the voting results from the US presidential elections were just starting to trickle in. I had to be at the airport at 6am to catch the early flight to Berlin, but this was political drama at its best. Just a couple more exit polls. This was important. I could sleep on the plane.
The odds were in largely in favor of the Democratic Party’s presidential candidate Hilary Clinton defeating the Republican Party’s Donald Trump – most polls gave Clinton a 60%-70% chance of victory. But the election results were starting to tell a different story. It would be close. And Trump had a chance. In fact, he had taken the lead in the projected count of Electoral College votes.
“Someone once told me that you were not wealthy unless you owned your weight in gold” -said the client. I had not heard this argument before. Regardless, the implied sum sounded substantial. I started to calculate in my head just how many dollars’ worth of gold she was telling me she was considering to buy (somewhere around 3 million USD). Would we have to liquidate all of her investment portfolio to accomplish this goal? Was this a worthwhile goal? Was buying gold even a good idea? This was sometime in 2012. Gold had been selling off from its highs as the world continued to recover from the great financial crisis. Would it have another run higher? I thought not. Now how could I tell her politely that I thought that she would be better off staying invested in productive and income generating assets such as stocks and bonds rather than something shiny that was dug out of the ground just so that someone could buy it, and then pay to store it in the ground again? Or rather, how could I tell this to the private banker and hope that nothing was lost in translation?