As a consultant, I tend to read as much as I can get my hands on – particularly when it comes to the flow on effects of "the virus" and New Zealand's unique position in the world at the moment.
It is always good to hear from experts, particularly when it comes to understanding and responding to turbulent times. And it is here that the banks (BNZ and ANZ in particular) do a really good job of allowing their economists and finance experts to speak with their clients and the public at large. After attending an economic briefing on Friday, I spent a good portion of the past few days updating my understanding of the local and international economic scenes.
One thing that has caught my eye of late, apart from the outcomes of historically low interest rates and printing money, is the optimism against a backdrop of tangible uncertainty. Markets continue their upward trend while fundamental foundations supply chain and production supply are incredibly challenged.
There are many contributors to market trends, but it was interesting to hear and read that economists are regularly receiving updates on (and emphasising) "vaccine roll out" as if this is the key to both normality and (therefore) economic sustainability. True, the vaccine gives hope, but wouldn't "efficacy" be a much better indicator of future possibilities than "roll out"?
It is very much early days for the Covid vaccines, and this is not a commentary on whether to "vax" or not. I am pro-vaccination and more than likely will line up once it is available to me (I am less confident that I will get to do that until well into 2022, but that is another article for another time).
However, with a virus that is already showing aptitude for mutating and behaving in ways that are unprecedented, there is risk that the current vaccines could have reduced efficacy in future - what happens to the economic confidence should that happen? All this does is render additional uncertainty into an already uncertain landscape.
But as the Peter Drucker quote goes "Trying to predict the future is like trying to drive down a country road at night with no lights while looking out the back window". In fact, no one can say how things will pan out, more so given the volatility of our current times. But it is safe to say that we will have to be ready for further change and ensure that our systems and resources are sufficiently in place to mitigate risk.
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Positive changes will come (such as the travel bubble) and so too will negative ones but the best thing that we can do is gather as much information as we can from experts and people with access to good data. So, with that in mind, now is as good a time as any to expand your network and gather information so that you can be in the best position to make good decisions. Talk to your banker, talk to your accountant and test what they have to say.
In that way you will both be up to date, but also more informed.