Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)


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The Hippie Witch Interview About the Spiritual Manifestation Retreat Journey

The focus of this retreat is coming into alignment with your desires and manifesting your own fairytale. Every major religion and belief has related teachings. So how come despite the spread of these teachings are we not all manifesting what exactly we want? The reason is that the Law of Attraction is only one spiritual law of many.

There is the Law of Vibration or Frequency, feeling our way into alignment with our desires. Manifesting or alchemy is the powerful ancient art of co-creating your life on purpose, rather than by default. This includes overriding programming, beliefs and blocks that no longer serve us. On this incredible Goddess of Paris Miracles and Manifesting journey, you will come into alignment with your desires. And most importantly, you will embody abundance. Abundant love, health, joy and wealth is your birthright. Join us at the Goddess of Paris Retreat at claim it! You don't want to miss this by waiting until the last minute.

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Make the commitment now. Those woulda-coulda-shoulda messages broke my heart!! Will that be YOU? I participated in the Bali retreat in and the Belize retreat in The Bali retreat was my first time attending a retreat and I have since attended the Belize retreat hosted by Abiola. I will also be attending her retreat this summer in Paris! Since the Bali retreat, I begin each day seeking guidance from my ancestors. I know my greatest strength comes from within, so I no longer seek the external validation from loved ones.

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I was born on a farm where there was a breeding of ponies and horses. I started climbing in the meadows and in the forest. Then I learned a more "classic" riding to pass my exams and make the all-round riding competition and the horse show. For a long time, the competitions were chained for my greatest pleasure.

At the same time, I have successively worked in the corporate world and as a freelancer. During a few years break with the "world of the horse", I devoted myself to pedagogy teacher and school director and I trained in NLP Neuro Linguistic Programming. I also received a teaching based on self-awareness bodily and energetic and the relationship to others. Through encounters, readings, and listening synchronicities, the horses came back at full gallop Its soothing atmosphere and wide choice of treatments are an invitation to guilt-free pampering.

These treatments will help you embody power, pleasure, passion, abundance and well-being. To complete the mental voyage, a Teck wood terrace opens into lush greenery, allowing you to inhale fresh air during your relaxing getaway. The azure-coloured waters and beige draping provide a calm and soothing ambience. Sparkling chandeliers, expansive views of the verdant grounds create the perfect ambiance to experience Chef Benoist Rambaud's gourmet repertoire.

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Womanifesting is your birthright. Let's tap into the senses and sensual energy for desire creation. Paris is known as the City of Lights and the City of Love!! Today's "Goddess of Paris! If you want your life to be different, you have to do something different. Bask in the sun in a tranquil oasis nestled in a haven of greenery just 40 km from Paris and 15 km from Charles de Gaulle Airport. The elegant simplicity of the interiors complemented by discreetly attentive service will entice even the most experienced traveller.

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Let us know that they are your friends when they book so that we can be sure you are staying together. We look forward to welcoming you! This will be the journey of a lifetime. You are unstoppable. Stop settling already. Let's do this. Abiola was able to pull things out of me I can't even begin to describe what the retreat was like. It was beyond transformational, at least for me.

It was all that I expected and more and all that I needed and more. Abiola's sessions were just complete love and light and very insightful. Where I couldn't see things, she was able to pull things out of me that was like, 'oh yeah. Contributions to our equivalent of the k are actually determined by the employer. Clearly our restrictions will not allow the average Swiss to get anywhere near your figures in that department. But hat helps only a bit. We fare even worse in this department. Basically the property worth is officially determined by an estimator and you are required to declare the amount you would hypothetically earn if you rented your home out, as income!

I wonder what you would propose the average Swiss do in the home equity part of your equation.

The Above Average Person is loosely defined as:

This is where living in Switzerland pays. For such a small country approx. I live in one of the lowest tax regions in Switzerland and pay approximately Until I started my new job I did not have a k. Thus my k will actually grow at a staggering rate by Swiss standards of 19k a year not 20k for silly, technical reasons. Thus I am somewhat lucky in that department. Seem like a lot? Let me explain. At the same time I am paying about 3k more for my apartment because I live in a low tax region. All in all, I am saving approximately 5k a year by my choice of location.

Therefore I actually budget about bucks a month for traveling and the purchase of gadgets, gifts, etc. I am left with saving 3k a month 7k of which goes to tax exempt account annually. I am currently thinking of ways to increase my savings a couple of percentage points, but that proves to be a challenge as living expenses in Switzerland are notoriously high. Therefore I am focusing more on the potential to generate side income as one of the benefits of my current job is a 40h work week.

No overtime pay. I will be investing my savings in passive investment funds on major equity indexes e. The U. Got to love the magic of compounding. Furthermore they assume a monthly contributions. Now as I am very safety oriented, I will want to be able to live off of my returns without having to resort to touching the principal, i.

Readers of your blog might be interested in a brilliant site I found numbeo dot com. In my personal situation I could easily live off of 2k a month in Thailand, Portugal or a number of other low cost countries. Pretty cool! Thanks again for your great blog, Sam. And thanks for the many comments and for sharing. I really enjoyed reading it! Please note that the flat I am currently renting is 1. Apologies for the confusion. Welcome, and thanks for sharing your background and details!

This focus will serve you very well in the rest of your life. Thank you for the motivation! I do have one question. Would you recommend I. I would greatly appreciate your thoughts on this matter. I always like legging into my investments in various tranches because you never know when the top or the bottom is.

Therefore, 2 is a better way to go. Aggressive savings will be your primary driving force for net worth growth in the beginning. My spouse still works but has never had a k match. These numbers seem a little flat to me. Even a fairly aggressive saver is going to have a hard time doing that. By contrast, things seem a lot slower in the long run than they should be. I do appreciate the sentiment of the article and it tracks pretty well with who and where I am financially, though.

Obviously, individual circumstances may vary, so someone may have more or less saved than the ranges you show. Have you done an analysis to include college savings in your analysis? A great point on saving to pay for college for our kids. I am trending well above FS standards at 47 so this is more of an observation than a complaint. Blessed with dual income and side business most of my adult life …. BUSY but at least on track. I am 53 years old and the projections are right on for me. I am higher in the home equity but lower in the k.

I made a conscious decision early on to pay down my home mortgage. This made me sleep better at night, but, I realize it was not the wisest financial decision based on how the market has grown. What I am most proud of is I was able to do this while we raised 5 children who went to private grade school and private high school and my wife was able to stay at home while we raised them. We did not take a lot of fancy vacations and always paid cash for things cars included. There is an optimism about them that no matter what happens, they can always find ways to make more money.

This was my favorite line, and I would add to it that those same people are consistent with wealth building endeavors. They are eternal optimists like you said, who add value to the world in meaningful ways for which they can be financially rewarded. I thought that was something to be proud of, but according to you, I should be worth twice that much. I think I will be fine, financially. But I do admire that you push people to save and invest.


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Of course, nobody intentionally invests in enterprises that go bust. Probably one of the most interesting comments I have read in this thread in a while. It goes to show you where you live goes a long way into defining what your targets should be. Enjoy your retirement! Nice article. Here are some info: — My wife and I are both She only started working 2 years ago.

Those are good numbers — you keep that up and you should easily be able to retire by depending on your annual spending. Go me! So your paragraph about the correlation between net worth and home ownership rings true Down Under! I think that there is misconception that you have to buy a home to get wealthy and if you rent then you will stay poor. The reason that homeowners are much richer than renters on average is because homeowners on average have much higher incomes that can financially support expensive homes.

The poorest people with low incomes cannot afford homes and are forced to rent. The lowest income people on average have a lower net worth than the highest income people. I would bet that most high income people own a home and most low income people rent. This generally explains the gap in net worth between a homeowner and a renter.

I am 40 and we are about 1. However, if you divide us separately since we are married, I guess we are below average. Either way, I am happy as we have more than enough to retire soon. The key is, even though we have had over 1M for a few years now total, it was not invested assets. Now we are above 1M in that category too. Furthermore in terms of equity, those numbers seem very low, I am into my 6th year of ownership and have around K of equity in my house. I guess by not obtaining any profit sharing, I am missing out to some degree. I have been maxing or close to maxing each year, I guess it does depend on your company match percentage as well.

As many bloggers on Early Retirement, I have my net worth online currently about a quarter of a million dollars , on my site. Currently I save 1. Thanks Financial Sam. Really interesting stats and another well written article as always. This was above the national average, above the London average and far above the average earnings of people my own age at the time. The result is I was way behind the wealth accrual curve when I moved here, and I could instinctively feel it — no need for a spreadsheet.

I was Lucky to have a nice wife and kids that made a happy stable home. I was born with a natural smile and this again made me Luckier than many to move in society and make some very important connections. Above average has a lot to do with what Bill Gates remarked on, in my opinion. Luck can certainly play a role — especially for people who make a lot of money off their primary residence. Every day — people have choices — do I buy a big home or a smalller home? Do I push my k as far as I can or do I buy new furniture this year? Do I drive an old car or brand new SUV? Do I go out to eat or cook at home?

Do I go party with friends or stay at home and study? Do I take a nice expensive vacation to Europe or do a daycation with the family? Do I work that extra shift and save extra money or drink a 6 pk at home and relax? Do I go to the bar to hang out or do I do research about investments and ways to save money online? I find most people make their own luck with good behaviors. Age k contribution Year ————————————- 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 I took the sum and divided by number of years.

I even accounted for that annualized. This is with zero bonds. These results sound cherry picked — you picked some crazy fund which actually did perform but the chances of an employee providing that fund is hard. Sounds great. How long have you been working and investing so I can get some perspective from where you are coming from? How did you get to k in just 6 years? Did you start maxing out the k from day one 12 years ago or did you start with a 0 balance 6 years ago?

You must be a very good investor or I misunderstood your comment about 6 years. And, I believe thats somewhat realistic.

Account Options

The reason why mine is lower is because I had more bonds at a young age. If it was in stocks I think I could of surpassed the higher end.

Unlike most readers and posters, I dont own any other investments. So, I ask myself, should I diversify into other areas, or keep building wealth with the tools I fully understand. In I had 3 homes and I had cashed in my pension and k to put into those homes so that I could be debtfree. I had k income. When the Fed took down our economy in , I got laid off with , other people in my company.

Although I got a 24k severance after only 15 months, I was house rich and cash poor. I could not access the almost k in equity I had in all three properties. There were no jobs in my field for a year and I had to take 8. I am finally back on the top, but I will no longer put all my eggs into one basket. I ended up losing 2 of the properties, and k of equity.

Correction: 52, people. I lost that plus the increase in the fair market value from the original mortgage amount. I think the residential is pretty recession-proof. My values dropped in the crash but the rents did not. I think of the rents like bonds — safe and steady. A hefty represents about a third of the equities, the rest is from some serious banking of any extra dough. The commercial is not recession-proof but is well managed with lots of free CF.

Great post — love this and the above average married couple as I check in on them every few months to keep me motivated and on track! Good question. BUT, the most dangerous thing one can do is extrapolate into the future a high water mark of good times. This analysis is very good overall. While homes can and do cost a bit to maintain,this maintenance and property tax is almost entirely tax deductible under the current laws. If you or your spouse are a realtor,the write off for renovations and maintenance are unlimited. In addition, the income is also reduced once again based on depreciation rate of the property.

One major factor not addressed in this analysis are the taxes paid while deducting from a K. Just my 2 cents.

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Maxing out the K is great, but one of our best ideas was to start a small home based business 14 years ago. This in turn led to another home and so on. I would just challenge the readers to thoroughly consider the tax ramifications and benefits of focusing on post tax savings as opposed to the K only route. I think it would be an eye opener. So I only invested for 30 years but still hit your numbers for a 62 year old guess I made up for some early years of low wages. The only thing you missed with me was on my home….

All other projections were spot on……………. I love reading your stuff! Agree with you John! We used the equity in that home to buy a second property, then a 3rd for a new business. In our 20s and 30s we sacrificed the expensive trips, big wedding, and fancy cars to accelerate our mortgage payments. Our highest mortgage was 6.

I had poor parents, worked through university and came out with 6K in loans at 9. I do think there are a couple of factors that are not mentioned that can have huge impacts on the numbers. Marriage, divorce, kids, health issues and job loss. All of those can positively or negatively skew the numbers. Definitely think being DINKS double income, no kids played a huge factor in paying off our first house quickly.

I am stunned at how precisely it projected my 45 year old financial numbers. I mean really stunned. So I thought I was a total freak outlier in my financial position. But Sam nailed my numbers at the high end step by step. If there is one thing that should be taught every year of school so it is never forgotten — it is the amazing power of compound interest.

It does the work for you. Also, wouldnt it have made sense to have saved less in ? I love this post on net worth. Obviously I would prefer to hit that goal even sooner. My wife and I now live well below our means and save like crazy, so I think is very feasible now. Keep up the good work, Financial Samurai! May I ask you why you think the economy is so bad when stocks in real estate or at record highs? Also, you can take the K figures and use them as your total savings if you wish. I have to agree with you with the economy. There are jobs out there if you are willing to look and accept lower salaries.

Love this article and your others. Do you happen to have a post that addresses those of us that completed graduate education or years for a PhD? Now we have good careers and are maxing out the Ks, IRAs, paying down the house, and contributing to liquid savings; but, we still are behind in your charts when looking at where we should be optimally at age So would you not count the years of grad school in which we were paid, but very little as years worked?

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And what about postdocs in which we were also getting very little at first? The thing we must all face is death at some unknown point. So, give you spent so much more time than average going to school, your goal should be to try and live and work as long as possible! Count everything pre-tax.

When I first started keeping track of net worth I did pre and post, post gets so freaking complicated and quickly as you add more assets and trade different accounts and move through different tax brackets that myself as well as any evaluation of Forbes lists really only talk in terms of pre-tax. I am Canadian so the realities here are much different. First off, we can graduate with minimal debt provided you have an average summer job that will cover a lot of your tuitons and you are fortunate to be able to stay at home during your studies. Secondly, a lot of our weatlh is tied into real estate either investement or primary residence , especially in bigger cities.

I still have financial goals that I hope to achieve to keep my net worth increasing. A large amount for the amounts above have been allocated to the pre-tax contributions. The PV of the tax cost is probably more realistically the net worth as that represents such a large portion of the analysis. As someone who has recently discovered the FI community, these numbers provide a great guideline to track against. After putting myself through college I had a negative net worth in my early 20s. Upon getting a job in my field, I promised myself that I would never put myself in that situation again and I started saving what I could while paying down my loans.

I am currently 28 years old and my Vanguard accounts just crossed the k mark for the first time today! Comparing my own spreadsheet to the numbers above I will cross above the average by 35 if I can maintain my current level of saving. Another problem is the money needed for basic living. Most people in Canada live in large urban centres where the cost of living is not cheap.

Good luck having your parents come anywhere close to footing the bill these days, especially if they are trying to keep up with the wealth curve shown in this article. Sam, looking at your chart 53 our NW after 30 years of working is approximately that of a 65 year old. No debt. It may be scary, so please try and negotiate a fat severance package. Just a quick comment from a 53 year old who has worked hard, invested wisely on my own and been somewhat lucky as well as challenged by the circumstance life brings.

Sam is spot on. I read the article s and continue to learn yes, I still allow myself to learn. If I would have been reading this 25 years ago I also might have thought Sam is unrealistic. Not saving early, investing early. Yes, dividends have been reinvested. I could have probably bought a car…gone on an expensive vacation…. I changed jobs 25 years ago. Could have withdrawn the money…spent it on something I wanted at the time. Like I said, please invest early. I could go on with more examples but hopefully you get the point. Spend your time in a positive manner and trying to figure out solutions and looking for opportunities.

Actually, great for you. Money is certainly not everything. But having grown up with little, I can tell you that I feel better knowing with certainty that my finances with outlive me. I try to find the balance that allows great memories to be created for my family and yet not live outside of our means. Best of luck. You may need some. But you can make it happen. Trust me, I did. You can as well. I have to say I think your comment hit the spot.

I especially agree with the last paragraph. Money certainly is not everything in life, but it is good be financially sound and know that you will always have enough to live on and then maybe alittle more. At the end of the day, we are given one life on this earth and we should enjoy it and like you said, create memories. Its all about achieving that balance between enjoying life and living responsibly and within your means. And there are so many ways people can do this by trying to enjoy the simple things in life.

One anecdote of this is how many of us point out and in many cases rightly so that expenses have increased while real take home pay has generally increased. Again, just an observation. Coming from someone who is on target with the above benchmarks, I would say to take it with a grain of salt. Similarly, he is free to define metrics in the way he sees fit and using the statistics to which he is privy. To touch on the student debt issue; One of the biggest mass-crimes of the last few decades in my opinion is the phenomenon of the educational system allowing individuals to pursue degrees that are not financially viable with little-to-no guidance up-front.

By that I mean that when you are contemplating pursuing a degree in any field, it should be mandatory that you are told how much that education is going to cost you vs. It should be no secret that an engineering degree will, on average, command a higher starting income than a communication degree. At many institutions especially private , these degrees cost relatively the same, which does not make much sense to me. I am not saying that no one should pursue these degrees, merely that someone should approach it with eyes wide open. I think we would have far fewer people in the debt plight that has become commonplace if they were made to acknowledge this up front.

Okay, John. You lost me at 3. It is statements like this that give Millennials a bad name. However, it is entirely fair to say that the educational system fails individuals when it comes to pursuing certain degrees and their associated loans. HR departments are knocking people out of their systems based on their education. Interviewees are getting ranked, in part, by the name of the school they got their degree from.

Getting a bachelors degree used to be something to be proud of, and something that would set you apart as a candidate. Now, getting a bachelors degree is the expectation. To get ahead, you have to have a masters degree. I should have clarified. Generally, when making an investment, there is full disclosure of the ramifications of the investment, i. I just mean that when you decide to pursue the degree, the loan company should provide similar information. People who advocate freedom of choice without the same zealousness for creating an aware population to make same choice scare me. People deserve a choice, but they also deserve to be informed when making a choice.

If there was a doorway that said 'go here for a better life' over it, and you were free to walk through it, but there was a spiked pit on the other side of said door, you would probably make a different decision based on your level of knowledge of that part of the situation. Full disclosure, I am a finance major, and made a good choice with the help of my parents who informed me of all my options when I went to school, but a lot of people don't have that leg up.

You are obviously a very intelligent young man. Your views are expressed in a very clear and articulate manner. As a Baby Boomer, I clearly recognize the generational differences between my generation and Millennials. Millennials seem less reliant on independent thinking and more on group-think. I know, painting with too wide of a brush, but there are certain inhibitors that impact [some in] either generation from moving forward in a productive way.

Active listening is a critical aspect of learning. Millennials were the first generation to grow up with computers in the home and classroom, which, in my opinion, has hampered their growth socially. My face-to-face conversations with Millennial tenants involve virtually no eye contact and plenty of texting.


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Conversely, there are plenty of examples of people from my generation that are poor listeners, which has hampered their ability to make sound decisions. It is difficult to conflate the pursuit of a degree — and all that it entails — to the choices people made during the subprime mortgage crises. The only similarity is that both groups had plenty of information to make an informed decision, but were they listening? During the subprime mortgage crises, people of all shapes, sizes and age groups made choices that were facilitated primarily by greed.

I was very concerned that one of my properties sold at a percent profit after two years of ownership. Did I know about the banks reckless behavior in issuing stated income home loans, no; or, the subprime lending and lack of government oversight, no. All I knew is that no one should receive that type of return on a property after two years of ownership, which prompted me to sell my entire real estate portfolio and sit on the fence — for two years — until I gained a better understanding of what was actually happening to the housing market.

A college friend of mine in his mids leveraged 80 percent of his net worth to participate in this market; he lost most of his retirement. Both were fully informed as to their debt obligations, but nonetheless, made poor decisions. I must say, though, both of them took personal responsibility for their actions — no excuses, they learned from the experience and moved forward. Blaming circumstances or others for bad decisions will most certainly handicap one form moving forward.

I would be more afraid of not learning from those mistakes. Our generation millenials are maturing in a vastly different time than the previous generations. Cost of living is at record highs, wages have barely moved in the last two decades, and student loans is an abomination that I think will seriously mess up my generation in the future. Even my dad told me his generation had it much easier. Am I complaining about it? Definitely not. Sure I worked hard, but I got lucky as well.

After getting a few decent bonuses in my early years , I subsequently invested that at the beginning of the current bull market. Nowadays, from the aftermath of , my bonuses are negligible. Are you a perfect example of a millennial who is doing well and has it good? Yes, of course there will be those who are still struggling. But even in the struggle, the access and technology we have is still amazing. Congrats on your progress! Apparently the whiners and the winners are at odds among the Millennial generation. I agree that the Millennials have challenges, but so did many other generational groups; remember the stock market crash of ?

The difference is that previous generations had two things working in their favor: grit and critical thinking skills. Millennials, in large measure, have neither one of these skills to help them survive. In , my wife and I had recently graduated with professional degrees and begun working, and we had a negative net worth.

Our home is rapidly appreciating in value, one of our cars a is paid off, our weighted average interest rate is 2. Our parents did not pay for our educations and I just work part time. We did several things to make this happen:. In our opinion, wealth building is more about what you do with your income than how much money you make. Well done Dustin! I like what you say about wealth building as more about what you DO with your income rather than how much you make.

There are some folks who discredit my progress or what I write because of the income I made while working in finance. But the fundamentals of finance are the same, and it is often times HARDER to stay in good shape or spend more frugally if you have more money to spend.

It sounds like you have properly mapped out your finances and are tracking things well. See: Track Everything! When did living with parents become a bad thing? My wife and I lived with my parents for almost a year before moving into our first home. Each of our children lived with my wife and me after college. Our first grandchild was born while his parents were living in my house. We were happy to have the company and they were able to save money.

I think living at home for several years after college is totally fine. Especially if you can save money and use that money to buy a home. I would also be wary of painting an entire generation as lazy. Millennials by definition have higher healthcare costs, record student loan debt, a challenging job market, etc. These decisions are mine, and I own them. I just know that these statistics, as they relate to the younger generation, are far off — especially when compared to other studies that report on the same numbers. Take it from someone quite a bit further down the lifeline than you are and with a grain of salt!!

I love the mix and it has yielded long term results. Perhaps others can do it better than I have!! Quite a few young motivated folks here and a mix of whiners too … claiming the bar is too high at the ripe old age of something. I have made a lot of mistakes and am not the smartest guy in the room, but I am motivated, hardworking, and very very persistent.

If you think the charts are tough at 25 and are complaining about it … cry to mommy and go home. I am and have been about 2. No inheritance, no family money, no free ride in college but please try to dismiss me and whine about your problems. Shut up and work whiners. To the rest … congrats.. Same here. Grew up in a dingy 1BR apt on the wrong side of the tracks. Paid for my own school, and cars, and everything from 16 junior in HS on. But I am also going to let everyone on a secret — get married to a great partner.

Life is easier with a teammate who has your back and vice versa. Best financial decision accept that she might be a cost center, but whatever i ever made was to marry someone who shared the same values and goals and stuck it out through think and thin. When you buy a ticket, you may pay a small booking fee, perhaps 75p.

After leaving your bank account, that 75p takes an extraordinary financial journey. It starts with London-based Trainline. That company is owned by another, which is owned by another and so on. Five companies up and your brave little 75p skips off to the tax haven of Jersey, then back again to London, where it passes through five more companies, then back to Jersey, then over to Luxembourg, another tax haven. Higher up still, it passes through three or more impenetrable companies in the Cayman Islands, then joins a multitude of other rivulets and streams entering the US, where, 20 or so companies after starting, it flows to KKR, a giant US investment firm.

KKR owns or part-owns more than real, solid companies including the car-sharing firm Lyft, Sonos audio systems and Trainline. None of this is remotely illegal. In our age of financialisation, this is increasingly how business is done. I n , Boris Johnson, then the mayor of London, stood under an umbrella by a busy road, his blond hair whiffling in the wind. We are back to the idea of London as the engine of the economy. Is he right? Or is London the centre of a financialising machine that sucks power and money away from the peripheries? Can an oversized City of London and the rest of Britain prosper alongside each other?

Or, for the regions to prosper, must the City of London be humbled? This is perhaps the defining economic question of our times. It is a question ultimately bigger than Brexit. Under PFI, instead of the government building and paying for projects such as schools or hospitals directly, they get private firms to borrow the money in the City to finance their construction, under a deal that the government will pay them back over, say, 25 years, with interest and extra goodies.

Cynics see PFI as an expensive way for successive governments to hide their borrowing and spending, by outsourcing it all to the private sector. The pipework is complex but the overall pattern is clear. Money flows from police budgets in Scotland, up through these financialised pipelines and into the City, posh parts of London and the south-east and offshore. Along the way, profits are being made and distributed and tax is avoided. But there is a bigger issue than tax here. This fits a wider pattern.

I have looked at several PFI corporate structures: each has a similarly convoluted financial architecture, and each involves a rain of payments from British regions including poorer parts of London into this central-London-focused financial nexus, overseas and offshore. And PFI is just one component of a larger picture. To visualise what is going on, I like to imagine old white men in top hats manipulating a Heath-Robinson-like contraption of spindly pipework perched on top of the economy, vacuuming up coins and notes and IOUs from the pockets of those underneath: the workers and users of private care homes, sexual abuse referral centres, schools, hospitals, prisons — and, of course, those of us paying mortgages on expensive homes.

All are unconsciously paying tribute into this great invisible extractive machinery. That at least must be a net benefit, surely? Not so. The core value of finance to our economy comes not from the jobs and billionaires it creates, but from the services it provides. It is all deepening the finance curse. Finance is a great geographical sorting machine, dividing us into offshore winners and onshore losers.

But it is also a sorting machine for race, gender, disability and vulnerability — taking value from those suffering reduced public services or wage cuts, and from groups made up disproportionately of women, non-white people, the elderly and the vulnerable — and delivering it to the City.

It is a generational sorting machine too, as PFI, risky shadow banking profits and financialised games help the winners to jam today, with the bills sent to our kids. This hidden tide of money flows constantly from the tired, the weak, the vulnerable huddled masses across Britain, up through these invisible filigree pipelines to a relatively small number of white European or North American men in Mayfair, Chelsea, Jersey, Geneva, the Caymans or New York. This is the finance curse in action. Why are the protests so muted? Otherwise, all that money will whoosh off to Geneva or Hong Kong.

After Brexit, it will be even more urgent to stay competitive. Sink or swim. Do or decline. Many people in Britain, it is true, are ambivalent about all this. They rightly fret that the City is a global money-laundering paradise, harming other nations, but whisper it quietly they like the hot money and oligarchs it attracts to our shores. There is a trade-off, they think, between doing the right thing and preserving our prosperity.

Some do understand that if other countries follow suit with this competitiveness agenda, a race to the bottom ensues, leading to ever-lower corporate taxes, laxer financial regulation, greater secrecy, looser controls on financial crime and so on. The only answer to a race to the bottom, they gloomily conclude, is to agree some sort of multilateral armistice to get countries to co-operate and collaborate in not doing this stuff. But that is like herding squirrels on a trampoline: each country wants to out-compete the others, so there will be cheating on any deal.

And it is hard to mobilise voters on this complex, distant global stuff. So, they sigh, we are stuck in this ugly race to the bottom. But there is some tremendous good news here: these people are all flat wrong. The competitiveness agenda, driving us into this race, is intellectual nonsense resting on elementary fallacies, lazy assumptions and confusions.

And this is for a few simple reasons. To get a taste of this, ponder the difference between a failed company, such as Carillion, and a failed state, such as Syria. Even more to the point, the finance curse shows us that if too much finance harms your economy, then pursuing more finance through the competitiveness agenda will make things worse.

Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements) Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)
Swimming Against the Tide of Opinion: Self-Esteem Built to Last (FT Press Delivers Elements)

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