In Praise of Donald and Hillary

It’s the eve of the American election and never in history have two more disdained, disliked and dishonourable candidates been the choice that America has to make. Trump’s slogan, “Make America Great Again” is ironic in that really, when it comes to the Commander in Chief, in having to vote for either of these two you’re starting at Ground Zero. You can “Make America Great” by ensuring that it’s starting at the bottom in terms of Presidents. Whichever way it goes, it’s not going to be a happy outcome, with almost half the people in disgust at their fellow countrymen for voting for the alternative. It’s America’s own version of the Brexit referendum.

I like to tell myself I’m a passive investor, but I do keep half an eye on things that I believe might affect my portfolio. Back at the start of this year I decided it was time to sell up on both my American and European index funds on the basis that there was just too much uncertainty ahead in both markets. I’m of the firm belief these days that politics is an increasing sideshow to a rampant capitalism that just bullies its way on with things, ignoring political boundaries and exploiting the rule of (tax) law at every opportunity. To this end, I switched out of the index funds and into Global Dividend funds, telling myself that the vast majority of the big players in these investments were either American or European capitalist behemoths anyway. I’d still be heavily invested in both the European and American markets, just more biased into the bigger corporate players within them. Through these investments I have my money where my mouth is, except my mouth is usually mouthing off scornfully about how Google, Amazon, Starbucks and the rest are swerving their tax paying duty to society while governments seem powerless to stop them. Yes, I admit, even when it comes to me, money talks and bullshit walks (to quote the legendary Bobbi Fleckman), and it would be more accurate to state that I’m putting my money where my mouth isn’t.

One thing I will say about both Trump and Hillary is that they’re NOT really good adverts for retirement, but they’re both great adverts for pensioners. Both are nearing seventy and carry themselves as if they were forty years younger. They’re a fantastic poster boy and girl for the notion that an exciting and stimulating job keeps you energised, intellectually sharp (well….) and physically ahead of many, if not most of your peers. After my experience of “retirement” it was this stimulation that I missed most from work. The demand to perform to the best of your ability in order to meet challenges and opportunities that are externally imposed as opposed to internally invented are very different things. Both Donald and Hillary must be under tonnes of pressure and stress but it seems to me that, on the whole, they’re both loving the challenge. When people talk about the stress of the workplace there’s always a negative aspect to the debate, but there’s a positive side to it too. It was that side that I missed in my year out.

I watch both candidates performing and find myself divided between hoping that I’m still as engaged and switched on as I approach seventy, and hoping that I’ve actually settled myself better to the prospect of old age than these two! I heard that Hillary’s schedule yesterday was something like starting at seven in the morning campaigning in Florida before flying to a rally in Massachusetts, then onto another one in New Hampshire before heading down to Pennsylvania where she’d attend a Bruce Springsteen concert before heading to another midnight rally in some other state! I mean, really, wouldn’t she have preferred a night in with a cup of tea and a good book? Donald had a similar itinerary. It exhausted me just listening to it and hats off to both of them for keeping it up.

When we wake up tomorrow, one of these pensioners is going to be leader of the free world. I’ll be waking up and possibly reflecting on my little life and what choices I have ahead of me when I reach pensionable age. Both Hillary and Donald are demonstrating that retirement isn’t necessarily the best choice for your later years and I tip my hat to both of them for (if nothing else!) showing a positive side to pensionable age that isn’t often on display in our culture.

6 thoughts on “In Praise of Donald and Hillary

  1. They’re a fantastic poster boy and girl for the notion that an exciting and stimulating job keeps you energised, intellectually sharp (well….) and physically ahead of many, if not most of your peers.

    Crikey. Hadn’t realised they were both pensioners. In which case there’s another takeaway from working for too long. It makes you into a narcissistic twat of the first order 😉

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  2. “The demand to perform to the best of your ability in order to meet challenges and opportunities that are externally imposed as opposed to internally invented are very different things.”

    I think for many who have been in any kind of job where there are such challenges and pressures, this is something they would miss. I know I would.

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  3. “The demand to perform to the best of your ability in order to meet challenges and opportunities that are externally imposed as opposed to internally invented are very different things.”

    well thats the difference between an extrovert and an introvert i think..

    i.e. an extrovert likes the former, an introvert likes the latter

    I would venture you are an extrovert and ermine is an introvert, hence your equal but opposite views on the subject of employment.

    I’m using the extrovert/introvert terms in the true sense here, i.e. extrinsic vs intrinsic motivation, not that one of you is gregarious and the other shy

    It did also blow my mind when I clocked that both the trumpmeister and clinton were 70. But clinton did collapse a week or two ago I seem to remember. And I have a feeling DT may be chemically enhanced shall we say.. that sort of thing can give you quite a lift. I’ve heard it said that you’re only as young as the woman you feel – so by that rationale, Trump is forever a teenager?

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  4. You might be pleased to hear that neither Google nor Amazon pay a dividend, so they’re very unlikely to be in your global dividend fund and your money is where your mouth is.

    Don’t mouth off in Starbucks though. 🙂 It *does* pay a dividend, and it’s been growing fast enough to make it worth owning for US income exposure.

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  5. Wow, something new and interesting written about the US election race. Kudos!

    It’s mad they are both that old, Donald does look a bit plastic in places but Clinton actually looks fairly naturally aged gracefully or whatever you want to call it!

    I don’t think I could hack their schedules now let alone in another 35 years time so like you say fair play to them.

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