Lately I have been noticing and studying the many changes in the world of finance.
Let’s go back to the beginning of time. I imagine that long before money was used, humans figured out a way to exchange goods and services. Perhaps they used shells or feathers or other things in nature to keep track of transactions.
It is believed that around 5000BC the concept of money was used but it took until 700 BC for societies to being making coins out of metal. Countries then starting minting the own unique coins and paper money in different values and designs.
The concept of banking is documented as occurring around 2000 BC when merchants would give grain loans to farmers so they could plant crops and to traders who would do the transporting of goods.
When I grew up, there were banks but the easiest way to determine our financial situation was to just put a hand in the pocket. If it came up empty, you knew you were broke! It was a scary thing to consider going to a bank to ask for help.
I remember, in my pre-teen years, when my paternal grandfather encouraged me to buy a “bond” so that I could help the country and earn interest through coupon clipping. I was introduced to the idea of earning through investment.
In 1946 the credit card was introduced in North America. That changed everything! Suddenly, people could buy things without having the money up front. If you paid the minimum due on time, your limit was increased. People shifted their thinking from first having money in order to spend it to just getting enough credit in order to buy what they wanted.
Bank services increased and so did interest rates as well as both personal and societal debt.
The Canadian Taxpayers Federation claims that our present federal debt of $713 billion is now going by $878 per second. If you are prepared for a stunning reality check search on your computer for debtclock.ca This site shows that every single Canadian’s share of the federal debt this month is just under $30,000.00. And this is just the federal debt – not including provincial or personal debt.
And now that the pandemic has hampered the economy, governments across North America are printing stimulus or helicopter money. The more they print, the less value it has. Think about how similar situations affected Germany and Venezuela in the past. Eventually the dollar was worth so little that shoppers needed a full wheelbarrow to buy a loaf of bread.
So what are the solutions? Many individuals and companies have invested in the stock market. Rumors predict an upcoming crash due to the problems with the economy and devaluation of the dollar. Increasing fear has resulted in a search for other options.
Many are buying crypto currencies which are digital assets with extremely high volatility. Options such as Bitcoin, XRP, and Ethereum have been described as the investment that will turn individuals into millionaires overnight. Doubters describe crypto currencies as air that is fueled by the hope of investors and can disappear with the click of a button.
Another group has been buying physical precious metals such as gold and silver. Rather than buying them as paper stocks or putting them in storage vaults they are holding them in personal safes. They use historical trends to back up their hope that the price will explode as the value of the dollar decreases.
Other commodities such as lumber, copper and agricultural products are also being considered as wise choices as prices are rapidly rising.
Now I am definitely not a financial expert and have no intention of giving advice about how to invest. I am, however, a Registered Psychologist who knows that a person’s “sleep factor” is important. Fear and high risk can harm both your physical and mental health.
In this age of change, make sure that you focus on what you can control and not on things you can’t control. Do good research before taking any action. Limit the amount of input you have from “talking heads” who offer opinions rather than facts.
Eat nutritiously. Exercise. Gett enough rest. Pay your bills. Invest your time in activities that make your soul sing. Laugh often.
And most of all – measure yourself by who you are – not by what you have.