What Impact Will Brexit Have On Your Children?

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“…the best opportunities lie during the periods of greatest upheaval…and upheaval is fast coming Britain’s way.”

Regardless of which side of the political spectrum you sit on, everyone agrees that Brexit has become something of a mess over the last three years. Since the vote was held in 2016, we have seen two Prime Ministers resign and a host of cabinet ministers and politicians choose to quit or leave their respective parties. The uncertainty has affected everything from retail confidence to the value of the pound. Businesses are hesitating to invest in the future which will have a knock-on effect for the economy.

The issue is less to do with the outcome of Brexit and more to do with the fact that no plan appears to be in place. Whether the UK leaves the EU with a deal to facilitate trade with their old partners or no deal at all is as much the issue as whichever outcome will occur. Certainty, one way or the other, would help – at the moment certainty is non-existent.

Whatever the outcome, it seems most likely that the UK will be without its current trading arrangements for the first time in over 40 years and will need to forge new arrangements going forward. Over the next few years your children may well be transitioning from students into earning a living in this new environment. There is no doubt that there will be some losers as a result of what is about to happen – but there are also going to be some winners – and that part is exciting.

Don’t get me wrong – I’m no fan of Brexit. From a business point of view it makes little sense to tell all your existing customers that you don’t want to deal with them and you’re going to find new customers somewhere else, regardless of the other social issues that may have prompted those who voted leave. What I do know is that the best opportunities lie during the periods of greatest upheaval…and upheaval is fast coming Britain’s way.

Upheaval means change, and change brings with it opportunity. Those who have dominated certain sectors can find themselves suddenly fighting it out on a level playing field when the game changes. The underdog can suddenly find themselves with a competitive advantage where none existed before. At this stage of their lives your teenagers are on the cusp of great opportunity. Many of the world’s most successful entrepreneurs have benefitted at the time of greatest uncertainty. A short look at history will show that.

Both Cornelius Vanderbilt, the American railroad tycoon, and John D Rockefeller, the oil millionaire who went on to become the world’s first billionaire, built their wealth during the turmoil of the American civil war. It’s rumoured that Joseph Kennedy, father of the American President John F Kennedy and, at one point, one of the wealthiest men in America, made a fortune following the stock market crash of 1929 by purchasing assets for a fraction of what they would have cost him in 1928. Even more recently anyone brave enough to have invested in the share market immediately following the Global Financial Crisis of 2008 could have more than doubled their money in the ten years that have passed since.

Economic turmoil is part of the economic cycle – some happen naturally and others, such as Brexit, are created by decisions that are made. Each time uncertainty happens fear and panic can set in. Those who react to the situation will often suffer. However those who embrace it and look beyond the short term will find undreamed of opportunities that may appear almost too good to be true. Our children will have a unique opportunity to do exactly that if we equip them for it.

As a responsible parent, I owe it to my children to see they are ready to embrace these chances when they come – that we aren’t passive parents who leave our children’s future up to the government (look how that’s working out!), the education system or to employers. We must equip our children with the knowledge, the mindset and the resources they need to make the most of the world they will grow up in. Brexit is just a passing phase – but there will be others. Change is happening faster than it ever has in our history – with it comes turmoil, fear and, in some cases, panic. Those young people who take control of their futures and learn how to harness this uncertainty will be in the best position to take advantage of what lies ahead.

You must choose whether you wish for your children to react to this uncertainty or be proactive regarding it. As a parent it’s time to make a decision.

“As a responsible parent I owe it to my children to see they are ready to embrace these chances when they come.”