Review of “The Dark Side of Resilience”

In another one of life’s ironies, somebody could label you “not resilient” when in fact you might be “too resilient”. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic and Derek Lusk’s insightful article on “The Dark Side of Resilience” highlights another humbling highlight of our collective human ignorance. Indeed, everyone should be aware of this reminder of a dangerous psychological bias.

Key quotes that resonated with me from the article:

” …[E]xtreme resilience could drive people to become overly persistent with unattainable goals. Although we tend to celebrate individuals who aim high or dream big, it is usually more effective to adjust one’s goals to more achievable levels, which means giving up on others….[P]eople waste an enormous amount of time persisting with unrealistic goals, a phenomenon called the “false hope syndrome.”

…[T]oo much resilience could make people overly tolerant of adversity. At work, this can translate into putting up with boring or demoralizing jobs — and particularly bad bosses — for longer than needed.

…[The goal is to compete between groups not within the team, so,] …choosing resilient leaders is not enough: they must also have integrity and care more about the welfare of their teams than their own personal success.

In sum, there is no doubt that resilience is a useful and highly adaptive trait, especially in the face of traumatic events. However, when taken too far, it may focus individuals on impossible goals and make them unnecessarily tolerant of unpleasant or counterproductive circumstances. This reminds us of Voltaire’s Candide, the sarcastic masterpiece that exposes the absurd consequences of extreme optimism: ‘I have wanted to kill myself a hundred times, but somehow I am still in love with life. This ridiculous weakness is perhaps one of our more stupid melancholy propensities, for is there anything more stupid than to be eager to go on carrying a burden which one would gladly throw away, to loathe one’s very being and yet to hold it fast, to fondle the snake that devours us until it has eaten our hearts away?’”

Bad news for Canadians: No “conflict of interest” rule planned for Canada’s financial advisors

Conflict of Interest

Let’s boil this down quickly – if you’re a Canadian and you do what everyone else does with your savings and investments you will never get ahead. As I explain why let’s look at what is happening in the USA. The USA is moving to execute a fiduciary duty on its financial advisors that includes a “conflict of interest” rule. The “conflict of interest” referred to is the fact that any financial advisor that is not fee-only receives a commission on what they advise their clients to do. In Canada, this is most advisors encountered by Canadians.

As Barrie McKenna writes, commissions put enormous pressure on the advisor to make sales volume targets and even discovers that because of this “…[j]ust to break even, investors typically must generate annual returns of 5 to 8 per cent to cover fees, commissions, trading costs and inflation…” an estimate from Victor Therrien, a mutual fund industry veteran and former executive vice-president of Brandes Investment Partners.

On a similar “conflict of interest” rule move in Canada there is silence. Indeed David Di Paolo and Kara Beitel, partners of Borden Ladner Gervais LLP counsel against it saying “A blanket imposition of a fiduciary standard would ignore the realities of many advisor-client relationships.” In their article they almost completely ignore the “conflict of interest” elephant in the room.

Consumers Union, maker of Consumer Reports magazine, has been advocating for such a rule for some time and further educates us by explaining what a Fiduciary Rule means: http://www.consumerreports.org/money/what-the-heck-is-a-fiduciary/

If you don’t want to wait for this issue to resolve in the public good’s favor, I write about a simple method to grow your investments here: https://textor.ca/2016/08/avoiding-the-doomed-retirement-feeling-how-to-correct-your-investments-in-your-favor/

Many Protests Are NOT Evidence Based

protestThis very articulate oil industry worker explains why anti-oil protests do not make sense in a surprisingly matter of fact and well delivered way.

https://youtu.be/qwCZB97E45M

Personally, I have trouble with being pure black and white / “anti-anything” these days; there is so much misinformation, especially from protest groups. In my youth I got keyed up by all the rhetoric like everyone else but then I learned that most of these people are so widely misinformed that it’s just dangerous to believe them. A film that highlighted this for me was the documentary “Pandora’s Promise”; in it, many key environmentalist figures question some environmental stances as non-evidence based.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pandora%27s_Promise

Planet Money Podcasts for the Canadian Federal Election (#elxn41)

Can politicians “create jobs”? How do they balance the interests of so many stakeholders in a trade deal? What could a “carbon tax” look like? What if politicians only did “what is right” instead of promising things to buy votes? (No-Brainer Economic platform)

Some podcasts from Planet Money that help educate voters and are appropriate for the Canadian federal election.

How Do You Create A Job?
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2011/04/05/135151990/the-tuesday-podcast-how-do-you-create-a-job

Trade Deal Confidential – Behind the scenes of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP)
http://www.npr.org/sections/money/2015/06/26/417851577/episode-635-trade-deal-confidential

The One-Page Plan To Fix Global Warming
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2013/07/12/201502003/episode-472-the-one-page-plan-to-fix-global-warming

The No-Brainer Economic Platform
http://www.npr.org/blogs/money/2012/07/18/156928675/episode-387-the-no-brainer-economic-platform

Commentary of Where We are in History

We are coming into a unique generation, where problems will now be solved by leadership and governance, not by technology. Why? Most of the technology to do what we want to do now exists. This leaves our leaders in somewhat of a pressure cooker; a great leadership sifting whose beginning may be marked by the Occupy Wall Street Movement. (a completely unorganized and ineffective attempt to re-align corporate directors with shareholder interests – their heart was in the right place)

Winter Tires May Finally Be Legislated?

http://maxpixel.freegreatpicture.com/Winter-Tyres-Daecktest-Tires-1242170

It may not be well known, but winter tires are different from all-season tires (AKA, confusingly, mud & snow tires). They are formulated with a different rubber formula making them more pliable in cold weather.  All season tires are much like a hockey puck. Have you ever been hit by a hockey puck at freezing temperatures? Ouch. I know because that’s what my brother said as he went to the hospital for stitches. Winter tires should be mandated. They provide better traction and can stop faster. I know this because I drive by 4×4 trucks in my compact car because they can’t make it up a hill. Driving all four tires does not work if none of them can get traction. This is a public issue since if someone else does not have them and hits you that might have been avoided if they had winter tires. And, shockingly, when you rent a car they all have all-season tires (same with taxis, buses, etc). This is a safety issue. Winter tires are currently legislated in Quebec if the temperature is below -7C (20F). The city of Calgary is looking at legislating them too.

http://www.calgaryherald.com/news/calgary/Council+debate+making+winter+tires+mandatory/9432336/story.html

http://ca.autoblog.com/2011/11/30/getting-to-know-snow-tire-laws-in-your-province/

Update: The CBC Marketplace segment that convinced me to use winter tires. This is also an economic and quality of life issue.

http://www.cbc.ca/marketplace/episodes/2008-episodes/get-a-grip