Is it Safe?
One of the most terrifying movies I have ever sat through is the Marathon Man which stars Sir Lawrence Oliver as a crazed Nazi dentist hiding jewels and Dustin Hoffman as a pawn in the entire scheme, and in this movie there is a set of scenes where the crazed Nazi dentist torments the Dustin Hoffman character with a hobby drill, drilling his teeth and the only question he keeps asking is “Is it safe?”. Just recollecting this scene puts chills up my spine, but it is actually a good metaphor for the current financial crisis.
At the macro level governments have no idea whether “It is safe” and they really don’t know what the answer to the question is, but in fact this movie is an even stronger metaphor at the Personal Finance level.
Is it safe? What does that mean? Is our money safe? Is our job safe? Is our lifestyle safe? Is what safe? Is our economy safe? Is my credit safe? Is my RRSP safe? Is it safe to retire? Is my house safe? (to paraphrase a frantic Dustin Hoffman), the question without context is very hard to answer, and there is the harder part, what is the answer? Is it safe? I have no idea, but I think we are all fighting to find out “Is it safe?”. I hope we are safe, but I guess we really won’t know what the question means and what the answer is, for a while.
Are you safe?