Safety in vigilance amid the Brexit upheaval

The outlook is at best uncertain, at worst, worrying. No one knows what will come next. There you go, I just stated the obvious. But it needs stating. The effect of Brexit is cascading across markets and continents, affecting us all in some way, and emotions are running high. This is when people tend to panic. Don’t. Instead keep calm and carry on. Use it as an opportunity to be prepared – for anything.

Financial fear. That’s why Brexit won. And why Trump might, too.

And with elections in Spain and Italy due between now and the US’s November vote, there’s plenty more opportunity for rebellion against the establishment and the chaos it causes.

This is class war.

The have-nots are fed up and won’t take it any more.

And who can blame them? Fear is crippling, debilitating. And there are a lot of financially fragile folk around – 700 million people still live in extreme poverty on less than $2 a day, according to the World Bank.

In the UK, a KPMG report from last year estimated that 6 million live hand to mouth. Little wonder they voted out. Because status quo isn’t helping them. It’s stripping them of dignity and any well-being. The problem is that voting out doesn’t mean they’ll get any of that back.

Money problems wear you down, every second of every minute of every day. You can’t switch off, sleep or relax.

One survey in the US found that people feared money problems more than death. You can see why – we all know what money can do for us, the fun that can be had, the peace of mind that goes with knowing you can afford a good life. But financial impotence – it’s worse than death. Because you can’t live.

None of us here is a pensioner who cannot afford to heat our home or eat a balanced meal. And it’s the over 65s who swayed the vote. But why? It’s not nostalgia, but the need for a dignified life, I believe. I don’t want to find myself in their shoes, and neither should you.

And so, this is why I’m saying it is a great time to:

Prepare for the worst

We’re wired to be pessimists, so this shouldn’t be too hard. Money talk among expats includes: Do I stay in the UK housing market? If yes, do I pay off mortgages as quickly as possible with the exchange rate being so favourable? The bottom line is that you need to think things through with the worst outcome in mind: not being able to access returns on, or liquidate, investments in the UK and possibly elsewhere for some time, watching the value of your stocks and shares dive, while keeping up all payments due. What does this mean to your financial well-being? Is there anything you can do to mitigate a financial squeeze? If there is, do it now.

Take stock

Last week I wrote about doing this. Again, the time is now. My feeling is that if an investment is wrong for you, it’s wrong. It’s easy to get sucked into wanting to claw back on losses. It rarely works out that way. The biggest losers are usually people who hold on, then, close to a new low, end up bailing with even bigger losses.

Think long term

Stocks and shares go up and down. If you’ve bought into sectors you believe in and have really checked out the companies, just stick with it.

Keep investing

Sounds a bit mad after what I’ve just said, but if you’ve followed the three tips above, you’ll be looking at the right kind of thing for you.

Personal finance fears drive a lot of decisions. All of which have consequences – not always of seismic proportions. But with the US presidential elections not too far away, and with a reported 47 per cent of middle class America not able to find $400 if they need to cover an emergency expense – anything can happen, and most likely will. So, be prepared.

Nima Abu Wardeh describes herself using three words: Person. Parent. Pupil. Each day she works out which one gets priority, sharing her journey on You can reach her at

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