Ancient History Lessons – Pompeii: Life and Death

I wonder if you have managed to get tickets for the Pompeii exhibition at the British Museum. Its a good exhibition, though much will be very familiar. It seemed to me that one of the main themes of the exhibition was that life has not really changed that much from AD79. Life for those living in Pompeii at the time had many similarities to our own, indeed one might say, that barring the evolved communication systems and utilities, daily life was more or less the same.

Certainly we don’t have slavery in the same way, though we are all aware of the human traffic around the world. One might also argue that many are enslaved to their mortgages and debts and unfulfilled jobs. Women have the vote yet we are aware of the many inequalities in our own rather advanced society, let alone those in cultures where difference is less tolerated.

Why do I bring this to your attention? well, apart from the fact that you really should try to get over to the British Museum (become a member for free access to the exhibition and a very good lunch) the point I am trying to make rather laboriously, is that life doesn’t change as much as we think it does, indeed change is slow. Not technological change, but social change.  Business is about providing services and goods that people want. Investing is about participating in those enterprises. So when a business fails to provide what people want or need, its outlook is fairly bleak. This may be due to a change in technology (Polaroid) or it may be simply failing to realise what you “do”. Again Polaroid.

Back to Pompeii, as a financial planner, my job is not about predicting the next eruption (ok the link is tenuous). My job is to help you prepare for the future. If you decide to live at the foot of a volcano, then this carries additional risk, you may or may not experience an eruption, but are you prepared if there is one? Selecting investments from a sea of options that can blow up and go horribly wrong, should not be taken lightly. Sure you may get lucky, the San Andreas fault has not yet swallowed the West coast of the US and yes there is a good chance you will inherit money, or win the lottery, or come up with the next brilliant idea for an app on itunes. However, it would be wise to have a more prudent plan as well. There are really two costs to taking good advice – the cost of taking it, and the cost of not taking it.

Dominic Thomas – Solomons IFA