The Jerusalem Post
Coronavirus, unicorns and Jeff Bezos in space
‘Puritanism: The haunting fear that someone, somewhere, may be happy.” – HL Mencken It’s been a quite challenging couple of weeks for our family, as it appears the Delta variant set up shop in our home. First our 10 year old, after being in quarantine for almost a week, tested positive. That sent our youngest son into quarantine. It turns out that our 18 year old fully vaccinated son also tested positive.
The health authorities have been great. We’ve received calls from our health fund checking on how our crew was doing and even received a “quarantine” gift pack from them. Special kudos to Dr. Lever for also checking in and making sure everyone was healthy. I also want to give a big thanks to the kids’ friends who have turned our home into an ice cream parlor with all the flavors they have brought over. The best part: With the kids stuck in their rooms and a week of eating dairy foods, it’s been a chunky monkey party for me! To our friends, family and healthcare professionals, we owe you all a debt of gratitude.
There is no doubt that hi-tech in Israel is on fire. Over the last six to nine months we have seen multiple IPOs, huge financing rounds, money flowing into the country like we have never seen before and lots of 20- and 30-somethings who have become overnight millionaires.
Companies, in order to compete for employees, have added all kinds of perks. I was watching the news earlier this week, and aside from the gourmet meals, gyms, happy hours and special concerts and trips, many of the start-ups held semi-arcades on site as well. As someone who watched the “bubble” burst in 2000, I hope that history doesn’t repeat itself, but I am concerned. However, I don’t want to focus on that aspect.
What really bothers me is the dilution of long-held values. What do I mean? As those of you who read my column regularly know, I am a staunch capitalist, and am all for competition. Nonetheless, after speaking to friends in the industry as well as watching news reports, it appears that the value of loyalty has completely disappeared. Employees might sign a contract and start working for a start-up, and then two months later jump to another that makes a better offer. This has become commonplace, and to me, it’s sad. I am well aware that for most people, long gone are the days that you stay with one employer for your whole work life. But to jump ship after a few months smacks of betrayal.
In his book The Philosophy of Loyalty, Josiah Royce writes, “Loyalty is a virtue, indeed a primary virtue, the heart of all the virtues, the central duty amongst all the duties.” Sure, when taken to an extreme, loyalty can be destructive. It can lead to overlooking sins, crimes and bad ethics all in the name of being “loyal”. But that’s not what I am talking about. I am talking about common decency.
Think about the employer for a second. She takes a chance hiring someone, invests lots of money training them only to have them show their gratitude by jumping ship to a better offer. And for what? What are they chasing? The chance to make more and more money?
Social media has been ablaze with people making fun of Amazon founder and former CEO Jeff Bezos and his flying into space. Many are saying, “He has everything and the only thing left to spend money on is to go up into space!” Whether it’s Bezos or the tech employee, the question they need to ask is “Why?”
Why switch companies and what is the point of working in the rat race. What are your goals and what do you hope to accomplish? How will it impact family life? There must be a greater good for each individual. It just seems to me that a goal of making as much money as possible is not a blueprint for success. In fact, a recent Wharton study showed the opposite. People were asked, “To what extent do you think money is indicative of success in life?” Those who equated money and success were less happy than those who didn’t hold the same view.
The same holds true with your investments. As I have mentioned many times, the bumper sticker that reads “Whoever dies with the most money wins” might be cute, but it’s not based in reality. Ask yourself the “Why?” question. Why am I investing? I believe that you invest in order to achieve your goals. That may include paying for a child’s wedding, braces for a grandchild, charity and/or retirement. Goals and needs change as you go through life, and as such, your portfolio may need to adapt as well. By understanding your personal “why?” your chances for both emotional and financial success improve dramatically.
The information contained in this article reflects the opinion of the author and not necessarily the opinion of Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. or its affiliates.
The writer is author of Retirement GPS: How to Navigate Your Way to A Secure Financial Future with Global Investing (McGraw-Hill), and is a licensed financial professional both in the United States and Israel. Securities are offered through Portfolio Resources Group, Inc. (www.prginc.net). Member FINRA, SIPC, MSRB, FSI. For more information, call (02) 624-0995, visit www.aaronkatsman.com or email aaron@lighthousecapital. co.il.