4 seaworthy lessons Around the World in Eighty Days could teach you about managing your wealth

Old-fashioned sailboat

While we usually look to the future when setting plans for the rest of our lives, sometimes it can help to look backwards. Indeed, centuries-old stories can teach us valuable life lessons, from Shakespeare’s tragedies warning us of our fatal flaws, to Greek myths teaching us about love, war, and everything in between.

Such can be the case for financial lessons, as well as emotional ones. If you have found managing your wealth challenging since the pandemic, you are likely in the majority. Luckily, one novel, celebrating its 150th birthday this year, can offer valuable lessons on staying the course.

Jules Verne’s Around the World in Eighty Days, originally published in 1873, tells the story of Phileas Fogg, a wealthy yet risk-averse man who attempts to circumvent the globe in 80 days after taking on a £20,000 bet.

Verne’s novel, while outdated in places, holds some timeless truths that could help you manage your wealth in the year ahead. With the cost of living crisis continuing to have an impact on UK households, and market volatility predicted to prevail, it could be helpful to seek guidance as 2023 begins.

Here are three seaworthy lessons Around the World in Eighty Days could teach you about managing your wealth.

1. As the world changes, your opportunities will too

One of the most exciting things about Around the World in Eighty Days is that the novel was written in a time of surging globalisation. Transport innovation was allowing faster, more efficient, and safer international travel, and the worldwide exchange of goods was becoming commonplace.

For Fogg, the opportunity to travel the world in just 80 days seems utterly absurd at first. However, after being informed of a new railway section in India that ostensibly allows travellers to complete a full circle of the globe in this time frame, Fogg accepts a wager of £20,000 to do just that.

In today’s world, our financial opportunities are shifting all the time.

In recent years, your wealth could have been challenged by the freezing or reducing of key tax breaks, including the Lifetime Allowance (LTA) and the Inheritance Tax (IHT) nil-rate bands. These allowance reductions could mean your tax-efficient opportunities are limited in the coming months and years.

More positively, countless investment opportunities have developed within our lifetimes, including the development of tax-efficient investment ISAs in 1999, or the introduction of Pension Freedoms in 2015.

Just as Fogg takes the opportunity to earn his fortune and embark on a new adventure in Verne’s novel, by assessing new financial opportunities that crop up in today’s landscape, you could increase the chances of growing your wealth as the years go by.

2. Adjusting your attitude to risk can help you adapt to new circumstances

When Fogg and his French valet Jean Passepartout set sail to complete their whistle-stop world tour, it requires a big adjustment to Fogg’s attitude to risk.

Previously a careful man unable to withstand even an ounce of discomfort in his sheltered life, Fogg finds himself taking risks he’d never dreamed of.

When embarking on a journey to meet your own wealth goals, there is one step you cannot miss: assessing your attitude to risk.

Your attitude to risk looks at your overall temperament, and how this might affect your willingness to invest your wealth in different ways. Higher-risk financial strategies can provide the potential for greater returns (although these are never guaranteed), while low-risk solutions like keeping your wealth in cash may be secure but typically offer lower returns.

Some questions to ask yourself when considering your attitude to risk include:

  • Am I very careful with my wealth, cautious of making investments for fear of financial loss?
  • Do I easily succumb to financial stress when things aren’t in perfect harmony?
  • Can I emotionally handle short-term volatility affecting my finances in a negative way?

As a result of analysing your attitude to risk and adjusting your financial plan accordingly, you could:

  • Gain ample peace of mind
  • Set realistic, achievable targets for the coming years
  • Invest with confidence
  • Improve your relationship with your wealth.

While Fogg scrapes his way to the finish line by taking many unsavoury risks throughout, your journey to a risk-assessed wealth plan could be more plain sailing. Speak to an Engage Wealth Management financial planner about assessing your attitude to risk this year.

3. If you’re stepping into unchartered territory, it could be wise to bring allies along the way

One of the reasons Around the World in Eighty Days has stood the test of time is that its diverse cast of characters are the perfect example of how teamwork can help you excel.

While Fogg’s financial risks are purely his own, he is joined by his valet Passepartout, and along the way gathers two more allies, Detective Fix and Indian princess Aouda.

Together, they are able to navigate the treacherous path their expedition leads them down, including thwarting arrests, staving off dangerous criminals, and saving each other from kidnappings. Despite some in-fighting, each character makes necessary contributions to the team’s safe return to London in time for the wager to be met.

In a similar way, embarking on a journey to grow your wealth and live the life you deserve should not be done alone. Seeking support from a financial professional who can act as a trusted ally throughout your life means that no matter the unexpected event, you can find a solution together.

Your financial planner can:

  • Help you weather the storm of the cost of living crisis
  • Offer advice to help steer your investment portfolio through choppy waters
  • Assist if and when your journey takes a new turn, such as entering retirement or giving wealth to the next generation
  • Help protect your money from the unexpected, such as an illness or injury, while on your journey.

With the help of your trusted confidant, you can more bravely navigate any unchartered territory you face.

Get in touch

For a review of your financial circumstances, help assessing your attitude to risk, or support with any other financial matter, contact us today.

Email us at [email protected], or call 01273 076 587.

Please note

This blog is for general information only and does not constitute advice. The information is aimed at retail clients only.

Please do not act based on anything you might read in this article. All contents are based on our understanding of HMRC legislation, which is subject to change.

The value of your investment can go down as well as up and you may not get back the full amount you invested. Past performance is not a reliable indicator of future performance.

About the author
Oliver McDonald
Oliver McDonald
Oliver is the managing director and independent financial adviser at Engage Wealth Management.
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