The Coronavirus and the Tragedy of Truncated Travel

tim cook apple ceo
Apple: The Magic Continues
December 12, 2019

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.”
Saint Augustine.

Last Friday Californians were ordered to stay at home – about forty million people! This is the first statewide order in the US and it’s a very big deal!

California is the most populous state in the US. This economic juggernaut is home to the capital of entertainment – Los Angeles – and the technology centre of the world – Silicon Valley and the San Francisco Bay area. The Californian Valley is also one of the most important agricultural areas in the world.

This economy is worth over $3 trillion and if it was a stand-alone country it would be the fifth biggest economy after the US, China, Japan and Germany, and ahead of the United Kingdom and India.

Argentina, with a population of 45 million, is the latest country to enact measures ordering people to stay in their homes. People are only allowed to leave for basic needs like grocery shopping or doctor’s appointments.

The US has issued a level 4 : Do Not Travel Advisory due to the pandemic.

Several airlines have filed for bankruptcy and tens of thousands of flights have been cancelled. Millions of people in China and elsewhere in Asia are restricted to their homes. They are also unable to go to work or school.

Saudi Arabia has shut down all domestic flights and public transportation and the list actually goes on and on, but I think you get the idea.

I believe travel is a most important part of an investor’s education and the curtailment of travel is a further tragedy of the Coronavirus.

The wisdom and clarity of thought gained through travel is unsurpassed by any other endeavour and the protection of your capital depends on geographic diversification, the storage of capital in liquid and mobile form, and the study and surveillance of business’s both at home but especially abroad.

For example a retired businessman in South Africa who does not travel and who does not keep in touch with overseas developments is in my humble opinion investment toast. It is only a matter of time before his portfolio will suffer enormous losses.

And do not have all your investments in your home town or in a form that is not liquid. Many people operate a business in the vicinity of the family home, and perhaps also have some other local investments. This is a recipe for disaster.

A prudent Investor will have several emergency connections overseas, a fund far away from home and a disaster recovery plan. In other words live in the sun and keep your money in the snow.

A trip, for example, to Zurich is an education all in itself. This is also a way to combine business with pleasure and to obtain many useful tax deductions. Obviously go about conducting your business affairs and so travel does not have to be all personal expenditure.

Time begins at Greenwich but moves westward and so do the latest ideas and trends. So plan a trip to London (as soon as allowed by the authorities of course) and go about your business visiting bankers, brokers and solicitors. Observe and observe. Discuss their investment plans and decide what you should do.

In the US a visit to Washington D.C and New York City is a must do. Silicon Valley and Texas should also be added to your itinerary.

Travel is an incredible education and education is your best hedge against calamity. It’s all in a major advantage – you get to have a vacation, a tax deduction and a huge advantage over your provincial competitors at home.

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