Greed, for lack of a better word

Why are protesters concentrating on Wall Street, when we are all to blame for greed?

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hy are people occupying Wall Street anyway? Why not Main Street? Or why not East Island Highway, or Memorial Avenue for that matter?

Not to pick on any particular street, but my point is: greed is everywhere. We have all fallen victim to it on occasion, and I’m willing to bet that many of us have been perpetrators of it as well.

We may not want to admit it or realize it, but at times it gets the better of us. It is human nature.

So what is the difference?

In my opinion, it goes back to the 1989 movie entitled Wall Street, and the words of Gordon Gheko as played by Michael Douglas. This may sound harsh, but in my opinion many on Wall Street still believe that “Greed is good.”

Why else would they, after bringing the global financial system to its knees in 2008, seemingly feel no remorse? Why else would they, after being bailed out by governments and avoiding what should have amounted to bankruptcy, unemployment, and possibly poverty, be paying themselves big bonuses again.

Why are they back to their old tricks?

The suits on Wall Street are quick to point out that they are not entirely to blame for the financial crisis of 2008. Governments, for example, should share in the blame, because they introduced policies aimed at increasing home ownership so that more Americans could achieve the dream of owning their own homes. And it is true that these policies, which encouraged easy credit, were contributing factors.

But — there is a major difference.

While ill-conceived, at least these policies were enacted with good intentions, and not out of greed. And more importantly, these actions were not criminal.

Unfortunately though, many on Wall Street feel that because everyone was doing it, that it wasn’t really that bad.

But it has gotten to the point where practically everyone believes that there has to be some serious change.

People have had enough.

Hopefully this won’t just fade away, and politicians will get the message and actually do something.

If the movement continues to strengthen, some day they may act, if for no better reason than out of their own greed for power.

But even so, we would be naïve to believe that we can eradicate greed, and that someday soon we’ll all be able to freely seek advice and conduct business with others without having to worry about ulterior motives.

We can, as individuals, find ways of structuring our business relationships in ways that alleviate the need to worry about the motivations of those we are doing business with.

This approach, by the way, can work very well when dealing with a financial advisor.

So much has been written about ‘finding an advisor you can trust.’ But really, while trust is important in any business relationship, maybe you would be better off structuring a relationship with your financial advisor whereby you would not have any reason not to trust him or her.

Please feel free to call or e-mail if you would like to know more.

Jim Grant, CFP (Certified Financial Planner) is a Financial Advisor with Raymond James Ltd (RJL). This  article   expresses the opinions of the author and not necessarily those of Raymond James Ltd. This article is for information only.  Securities are offered through Raymond James Ltd., member Canadian Investor Protection Fund. Insurance and estate planning offered through Raymond James Financial Planning Ltd., not member Canadian Investor Protecion Fund.

For more information feel free to call Jim at 250-594-1100, or email at jim.grant@raymondjames.ca. and/or visit www.jimgrant.ca.