segunda-feira, 24 de agosto de 2020

Version 2.112

Marco is a hurricane. Houston is getting ready, I have been receiving notifications from local authorities, since I am still on their mailing list. Yesterday, on my weekly conversation with my Houston girlfriends, I asked them if they were ready for the storms. One of them, who had stayed with me during Harvey, said that she couldn't even escape to my house, since I had moved. I told her that she could, she just needed to drive to Memphis ahead of the storm. But maybe things will be OK, since Marco's landfall has supposedly moved further east, so Houston would get the dryer side. Then, they'll get Laura, so hopefully that storm will not be too bad.

I am concerned with the smaller towns, which may not have the resources to take care of everyone. I don't think the Federal government is working too well by now. FEMA is probably falling apart, but we've had enough storms for people to know that things are not working well. Plus, in the U.S. most people do not expect that the government will take care of them, especially now. I certainly don't. Most Americans take risk seriously because there are so many natural disasters.

Perhaps it is because of that that I feel safe here. I know that bad things will happen, but there is enough information for me to manage my risk, plus I try to be conservative with how I manage my money. I understand that the reason why I pay less in taxes is because more of the responsibility of managing some of the bad things has fallen on me -- that is the underlying social contract in the United States, but not everyone is like me. I also believe that there is a luck factor. Perhaps nothing bad enough has happened to me to knock me out, but that does not mean that it will not happen. 

When I think about Portugal, I have no idea how to manage risk. Jobs don't pay well and taxes are high, so you are limited as far as how much you can save for a rainy day. Plus, the assumption is that you don't really need to save as much, since taxes are higher because more of the burden of managing risk falls on public institutions. But when you see people dying in retirement facilities of preventable causes and nobody gets fired or new processes get implemented to prevent similar situations from repeating themselves, then how can you trust the system? At least in America, you know that there will be a lawsuit and some people will lose their jobs.

This week, I received an email on behalf of the Portuguese authorities incentivizing emigrants to invest in Portugal. The current state of affairs is not conducive to sinking money in a corrupt country: if the authorities do not feel the need to protect the life of the most vulnerable, then what assurance do I have that they will look after my investment interests? I cannot afford to make mistakes. I have no family to look after me when I am old, so I will need to save and invest adequately to ensure that I can pay someone to look after me, preferably someone who remembers that I need to drink water.


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