Your Retirement Fund Has Gone Up In Smoke

You slave away all your life and then war breaks out

Some years ago I worked in the construction management team at a large manufacturing plant and I came into close and daily contact with the manager of the electrical department. Over coffee one day he told me that he was new to the job, having come out of retirement in sheer necessity. I asked what he has done previously. “I never had to work. I am the son of a very wealthy family who are large property owners and there was no need for me to earn money. We owned all four sides of Independence Square downtown and the rents from the shops lining the square poured in every month.”

The soldiers arrived

“One day armored jeeps and tanks rolled into town and 2 hours later everything was upside down. I was lucky to get away with a shirt on my back and my life in my hands. I had to start working and I was lucky to find this job.”

Present day

Day after day I watch the news on the television and see what’s going on in neighboring Syria. I sometimes imagine myself in such a situation. You have worked hard all your life and built something, whether it is a property portfolio, a stock portfolio, money in the bank. You are 75 years old and thinking about moving into a retirement home. One day a revolution comes to your country or city. It was an innocent looking demonstration at first, perhaps social activists or students demanding something or other. It spread slowly, all the time gaining more and more strength and members. One day you awoke to the fact that it was now a full-scale revolution. It’s time to take action to save yourself and your family.


You look around you and see signs that your once normal world is developing cracks and maybe about to burst or collapse. You head to the bank to draw out your life savings but the bank has run out of money or is scared to open its doors. You want to leave your stricken country but not without your nest-egg. You wait another day or a week and then they close the port, train station and airport and you are now truly stuck.


All services, including the utility companies and your HMO have come to an end, shells are raining down and you are in a blind panic. Soon you are out on the street, together with thousands of others like you. No money, little food, no job and no prospects of an income. You were not an activist on one side or the other, never a politician, never in the military. Your only claim to fame was that the store you owned had a good name for honest trading and good quality goods.

Now what?     


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