The weekly review...

Welcome to the weekly review. In case you like reading this review, could I ask a favour?
Each week, forward my email to another friend of yours who could benefit from it.


During this last month, I talked about the failed IPO of We Work. Well, this week, their founder-CEO got politely asked to leave the company. As SoftBank, the private investment fund who put in £10b into We Work, was adamant they wanted to take back control, they removed the ex-CEO from the board and took all his voting rights. Well, this removal of rights happened to be in exchange of a departure fee... of $1.7b 🤑. In the corporate world, that is called a parachute... Time for us all to assess if we have any in case of a freefall...

Get my weekly reviews to your mailbox at the end of each week.

You will never have enough education. Here I share my views of the financial market in general, and from time to time, how to profit from it.

If you like the content of this blog, make sure you read Out of the Rat Race, the book as you will find many eye opening facts and stories which I gathered over 25 years of learning.

Leave your details to receive my weekly review 
We Respect Your Privacy & Information

With a $1.7b parachute, the ex-CEO of We Work could fall from the stratosphere and still land smoothly on a cosy pool-side bed. His great-great-great grand-son would land as smoothly too. Somehow, most of us do not have much of a corporate parachute. I thought I had one. I worked a lot and sacrificed many cumulated years of family time and holidays for it, which I will never get back. Only to discover, when came the unfortunate time that I needed the parachute, that somebody else sabotaged it. Ouppsss... Free fall!

It's not easy to build your parachute. How do you prepare for the unknown?

As my corporate parachute did not give me much protection into the future (so far), I am happy that I slowly but surely built for myself and my family, a kind of personal parachute. So far, this one seems to keep me relatively safe during the long fall from what appears to be a huge sky-dive. I had learnt at a very young age that the social parachute (the one offered by the government) would never be one for me, so I had to build one for myself.

That brings me to the more important point, which is not the parachute itself, but the mindset and right conditions for building your own private parachute.

From a very young age, I often seeked reassurances (a kind of safety belt, if not a parachute) to justify taking a more rewarding but also more risky route into the future. I think one is more likely to take such risks if one has absolutely nothing to lose, or if one is constantly convinced of a safe parachute anyway. I never thought I had nothing to lose, as I always thought I had a lot. When I was 12 years old and I had stashed away 200 Francs (€30) after years of savings, I already thought I had a lot of savings and safety for my future. You want more stupid reassurances? Here's a small list:

  • When I resigned from my first job at 25, to then "take part in a start-up project", I thought that I had saved enough money to sustain living on kebabs for a few years, so I allowed myself to take this risk. Let me tell you that I did not necessarily calculate well that eating kebabs is not the biggest necessity on earth.
  • When I decided to move my family to the U.K. and start all over again, I thought I had already made it (if you read my book, you probably know it was a total illusion at that stage), so I believed that the risk was covered. Three months into it, I stared at the abyss!
  • And when I decided to buy a huge mansion in Spain on a jumbo mortgage, I did it because I was sure that I had ten times more coming from the success of my company, and my share of this success. It took 15 years to slowly realise, deception after deception, that paper money is not money, and minority control is no control...
If I had known, I would never have bought this Spanish mansion and all the associated trouble at the height of the 2007 property bubble. But the only thing I knew then was that I had built enough personal parachutes to cope with the risk. I was safer than safe, and this investment in property was also safer than safe. From the start and this leap of faith into "building interesting projects", it was the reassurance that the risk was covered which triggered what happened next, in a snowballing effect, that has not even yet reached its peak 25 years later.

I moved to the UK in the worst possible conditions. I bought a mansion in the worst market ever seen in decades, in the worst hit country (well apart from Greece it could not have been much worse). And I made so many other stupidly risky bets. In the end, I managed to turn right most of the 'low-educated' bets I made, because I would not allow them to turn bad. That fighting spirit is undeniably extremely important to build and keep going.

But had I not thought very deep inside myself that I was somehow covered by a safe parachute (multiply by Pi!), I would probably not have taken all these risks. The consequence is that I would not have enjoyed any of the rewards. Before you ask, the rewards are not all financial in nature. It is important and gratifying to have financial rewards, but it cannot be always the case that you end-up on the winning side. As I explained many times, ultimately, the Journey is what matters. And at least in my case, to start and then run the journey on the right track, it was the feeling of a safe parachute which mattered most.

Build your own idea of a parachute so that you can leverage your life to its maximum potential.

To your journey!

<< back to the blog posts...