Not long after embarking on a very lengthy commercial flight this week, I heard the airline captain say it would take much longer than anticipated in order to reach our destination because of unusually strong headwinds.
My immediate reaction was to worry about making the subsequent connecting flight.
I really thought this delay would disrupt my whole itinerary.
In spite of this, I had another thought. For those airline passengers traveling in the opposite direction these headwinds became tailwinds, and their arrival time would be sooner than anticipated, a real positive.
The same winds, just analyzed from two different perspectives.
This same type of thought process can also be applied to current world events.
For example, most people would agree that both the slowdown in China and the possible collapse of Greece are events that are only delaying the eventual worldwide economic growth that has been so loudly touted; not the liquidity induced sham that we’ve been experiencing the past few years, but real job-created-wage-supplemented-growth with all its bells and whistles.
The majority of people view housing foreclosures and real estate price declines as merely impediments (headwinds) to a better economy, and thus, higher real asset prices. In addition, it seems nearly everyone considers a potential Israel-Iran conflict as just a deterrent to lower gas prices, and they also believe tariff bills and tax increases are simply bumps in the road to a Dow 20,000.
In fact, most analysts, politicians, and pundits-at-large try to dismiss all these obstacles as well.
They announce these obstructions are purely irrelevant events on the onward and upward path of the equity markets. Headwinds be damned, they shout.
Unfortunately, headwinds cannot only slow you down, they can also prevent you from reaching your destination altogether.
With that in mind, by analyzing these aforementioned world events as a tailwind, the picture changes dramatically.
For example, if you think equity prices in the future will be lower not higher, you would view each world crisis as mounting evidence in your favor.
These extremely negative economic events could help to accomplish your outlook of lower equity prices with seemingly no effort whatsoever, just like having the wind at your back.
Moreover, just imagine these destructive economic conditions resulting in a financial hurricane of epic proportions. In that case, look out below.So remember, whether it’s air travel or world events, one person’s headwind can be another person’s tailwind.
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