May 9, 2009

Preston Manning on Financial Planning

Political parties are marketing machines for winning elections.
---Preston Manning

Knowing how to win an election doesn't mean knowing how to run the country. Or having well-considered ideas. Or being financially prepared to run for office. When Preston Manning made these points at CALU 2009, his slightly squeaky voice reminded me of early Jimmy Stewart.

Preston Who?
You may recall Preston as the leader of the western Canada-based Reform Party. He now runs The Manning Centre for Building Democracy, "a national not-for-profit organization supporting research, educational, and communications initiatives designed to achieve a more democratic society in Canada guided by conservative principles."

Just don't look meaningful French content on their website at this time. Here's what you'll see today:

What's New: Il n'y a pas d'evenements au Centre Manning.
The English site lists five events. You might find the spotty translation from a national organization established back in 2005 surprising, offensive or amusing.

When To Sweat
Preston pointed out that a new Starbucks employee must complete 20-30 hours of training before serving you a coffee. Politicians aren't required to have any training in their core activity, law making. How would you feel if pilot boarding an airplane said "I've never been in one of these before."? Politicians learn on the job, but there's little tolerance for mistakes. Elsewhere, magician David Ben said you can sweat in public or private. But you will sweat.

Preston wants to train future politicians so they know how to make laws in the public interest. 

Financial Planning
Besides preparing politically, those who may run for office should prepare financially too. They need help with financial planning. Besides the normal issues affecting us all, what about the financial impact of
  • maintaining two residences
  • placing assets in a blind trust (as is required for government ministers)
  • drops in personal income while in parliament
  • current investment strategies (e.g., renting space to the government may look suspicious later)
The financial planning should be done now to help prepare candidates who start running for office in 10, 15 or 20 years. Preston acknowledged that CALU members have the skills and knowledge to help future candidates now. 
Plans are nothing; planning is everything.
--- Dwight D Eisenhower
Financial planning isn't glamorous or perfect. It's necessary for the rest of us too. Time zooms past. Our lives are rarely as tumultuous as a politician's, where one slip can ruin a career. If we fail to plan ... you know the rest. 



inheritanceplanninguk said...
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Thicken My Wallet said...

It is always interesting AFTER someone leaves office that they adovcate for better policy making, a more civil discourse in parliament etc. etc. Yet all politicians in the trenches sling mud equally.