Banking bonuses – the red herring

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Apart from the fact that Stephen Hester of RBS turned down his bonus a week too late to actually make a positive statement about banking – we are all focused on the wrong thing as usual.

The real story is that changes are happening in our banking sector, jobs are being lost, however that is not necessarily a bad thing if it means that practises are changing. Conversations about how to get out of this financial mess are happening in Europe – maybe a solution will be found.

Meanwhile people are opening their first pay slips since before Christmas and calculating how they can afford to pay for the luxury items they really did not need this Christmas – like the Ipad and Xbox for the children and other gadgets to “make life so much better”.

For the last few years I have diverted money from unnecessary gifts and cards into charitable donations. One year I bought the family gifts from Oxfam that related to who they were as people. My mother likes gardening so I bought a vegetable garden for a family in Africa. My older daughter had wanted to be a vet – so I bought a pair of goats, my younger daughter was still at school and wanted to be a teacher (like me) so I bought an education pack and so on.

Then a few years ago Charlie went travelling when she finished college. As part of her trip she met up with my dear friend Julia in Durban, South Africa and spent some time volunteering at a paediatric AIDS hospital where Julia worked as a palliative care doctor. As part of her work Julia works with an orphanage filled with children left behind after their parents die. The last three years I have spent my Christmas budget on supporting the children there.

Possibly a more noble gesture for Stephen Hester, rather than after considerable media and government pressure, simply turning down a bonus, Stephen Hester might have given the money to some of the charities struggling for donations. In effect all he has done is return the money to the bank. We as shareholders are not going to feel the benefit of this.

I am not sure knocking people like Stephen Hester is productive – he didn’t cause the collapse of RBS, he could be working elsewhere for more money and less negative profile. The anger of the general public is misplaced.

Again by focusing on the things we can change, taking responsibility for the things we can influence and control, we not only improve our results we also improve our mental state. The anger and outrage demonstrated by people towards Hester is a sign of a population that feels powerless and so rages against whatever machine it can find! That is not helpful.

In my new book make More Money From Property (launched on 15th March) I discuss the concept of Active Responsibility and how by focusing on what we want to achieve in our lives we can feel more empowered to make the right decisions. We can identify those things that don’t lead to our goals and change or remove them. We can step back from our over reliance on a system that simply can’t cope! If you would like to pre-order your copy please follow this link if you have thoughts on taking more responsibility for your life or having been follow that philosophy I would love to hear from you.

When have you taken active responsibility? How has it helped you achieve what you wanted?


To our mutual success, wealth and happiness
Vicki – The Property Mermaid

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About the Author:

I am a Property Sourcer, Investor, Entrepreneur and Adventurer. I am passionate about property, scuba diving, and helping people become independently wealthy.