How to get fired as a fund manager

Ah, sunshine. Finally, full-blown Spring in London with a bonus that it’s a bank holiday Monday. The children are finally being told to slather themselves in sunscreen, not that I take my own advice. Here's a view of my garden.

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This nice weather makes me want to run away from home for a few months. Back in the early 2000s, when there was actually money to be made in banking, it was acceptable for twenty-something hotshot investment types to take a few months off to pursue kite-surfing or world travelling, and come back for their next gig. Jobs in finance were easy and to get back then.

The trick was to be “let go”, not fired for incompetence. That way you would be paid a parting bonus, usually 3-6 months salary, 12 months if you were lucky. Financial institutions regularly culled the bottom 5-10% of their performers, so managers were always looking for people they could happily and easily say goodbye to.

If you were a young fund manager who wanted to underperform your way to a beach in Barbados. There were 2 mains ways of achieving this:

-Show up inconsistently, miss meetings, be great at keeping on top of things one month and not so good some other month.

-Not execute on your project plan. Push things forward incrementally but not with any boldness.

Hmmm. Now ask yourself these two questions about your own investments.

-Do you show up consistently to manage your investments?

-Do you have a solid and active plan for where you want to be financially, that you push forward consistently?

If the answer to either of those questions is no, then maybe it’s time to rethink your role as your own fund manager. You have two options -- you could either fire yourself, i.e. outsource the role to an outsider, or like any good employer, give yourself a second chance.

For those second chancers (and I’m one of them), here are two suggestions.

-Schedule it. Block time (an hour weekly, or a few hours monthly) to buy/sell/decide on your investments. Block off time like it’s part of your professional calendar.

-Create and execute on a written plan. Just like you would for a project at work, create an investment plan for yourself and consistently move it forward.

I should add that just like I scold my children to put on sunscreen while “forgetting” to do it myself, I should definitely fire myself for how I manage my own finances.