Weekly Thoughts July 2010

I watched the very essence of the free market system at work this week.  While the Cosatu / SACP affiliates of the world might not like it, the Durban street vender made a living.

Walking Durban’s ‘Golden Beach Mile’ on Wednesday this week, my son decided he wanted to buy a Spanish cap. [made in China of course].  So I agreed with my son that I would contribute a certain amount and he would have to pay me back the rest from his pocket money.  However I only had a limited amount of cash on me.  The vender started at R80 for the cap.  However we had seen it at R50 further along the street and told him this.  His price immediately fell to R50.  Then I discovered that I genuinely only had R45 cash left on me.  Needless to say the hat traded for R45.  He would still have made a profit otherwise would not have let it go.

So here was an example of a ‘share’ trading for almost 50% of the asking price while serving the same purpose.  Most investors – and even some of you – would not have bought that [the R45] cap.  They would have preferred to buy the R80 one!!  Because most investors want to invest when the markets are high and the shares are at their most expensive, not at their cheapest.

All this reminded me of my traveling days buying curious up in Africa; the best part was the buying because of the trading & bargaining.  I use to halve the initial asking price and then trade.  Now that’s what the markets can do for us too.  Demand dictates price.  Simple really.

Then my son got himself invited by a group of local kids, and I mean locals, to play soccer with them on the beach!!  He loved it.  My daughter ran in the waves and I swam in the sea to clear the sinus.

Have a good weekend




The harsh realities of growing old:  Memo to me when I’m 75


These points appeared in Personal Finance a few months ago.  Many of you might not have read them and anyway, they are good to read again and to maybe save and actually do it.  I kept the article with the aim of putting some in my emails and I will list a few each week of what I thought were great ones.  You can read / save / delete etc.


  1. Tell my children to tell me if they believe I am suffering from dementia.


  1. Accept that there will be times of loneliness, so don’t talk endlessly to strangers.  They will listen only out of politeness because they will not want to offend the elderly.


  1. Always give grandchildren chocolate cake for breakfast


  1. Sell my motor car or employ a driver as soon as I need assistance to stand up or I forget why I was out driving in the first place


  1. Don’t scale down my medical scheme option to save money, rather do without something else.



Have a good weekend



Continuing with a few of the harsh realities of growing old:  Memo to me when I’m 75


  • Don’t try to organize your children in their own homes; let them organize you.


  • If it doesn’t matter, don’t make an issue out of it.  [Personally, I think that applies far younger than 75 – KM]


  • Given your age, you will probably be forgetful.  Write things down and don’t repeat yourself.


  • Pursue photography, or woodwork, or birding, or knitting, or golf, or other interests to make yourself more socially interactive and acceptable.  Also try to be reasonably up to date with current affairs.  [Some of the above points are half tongue-in-cheek.  This one is actually worth taking seriously – KM]


  • Your children have grown older and wiser.  Don’t reject their ideas, respect them.  They will be more up to date than yours.  And financial advice might be more appropriate in the environment of the time.  [And I’ll be here for another 20 years – then aged 65 – and then hopefully my son will be up to speed and be there for you if he wants my business!! – KM]


My Multi-sport sporting outing last Sunday – ?  Well as usual it was done on no training so I took strain.  But the speed that some guys ride along single tracks through trees is frightening; one wrong move and its tickets.  I have a client – who will read this – who is pathetically good on a bicycle.  He told me this week that my turn will come with those trees.  I think I need lessons from him.