Maintenance Man

Age 10

When my Mum used to say “a stitch in time saves nine”. I had absolutely no idea what she was talking about. You see as a child I had never sewn anything or repaired anything. So the idea that you should catch a loose thread early or else it will take much longer to fix in the future, mean’t nothing to me. I’m now 55 and I remember buttons being sewn back on, trouser hems re-stiched and the knees of my jeans being caught with stitches as the merest hole threatened to tear straight across. Clothes had to last longer back then. They needed maintenance.

Age 20

As time goes on we all make our mistakes. Many of which were preventable if we had just taken some action much earlier. I’ve run out of petrol twice in my life. It should have only taken once to teach me that lesson. But on the first occasion I ground to a halt only 100 yards from my chosen petrol station. I got out of the car, bounced the rear end a few times, got back in, re-started the car and made it to the pumps. Having got away with it the first time I hadn’t learnt my lesson. The half mile walk of shame on the second occasion did the re-education job. Maintaining the amount of fuel you have in the car is second nature to us all.

Age 50

I reached age 50 and decided to run again. When I say again, It’s not that I had ever competed in the past. In fact since I was 11 I think the only running I had ever done was the occasional sprint for the bus to school. Sure I knocked a ball around on a 7-a-side pitch for several years, but that didn’t prepare me for the long slog that leads to 10 mile runs. My first run was only 1.65 miles, and I stopped twice! Gradually I could do 3 miles, then 5 miles and so on. As many of you know I have completed a few half-marathons. Today I try to run 2 or 3 times a week, 3 to 4 miles a time to keep fit and keep trim. I’m not training for anything big or trying to make money for charity, although I am running the Manchester Half in a few weeks time. No, it’s just maintenance. Over 2000 miles of maintenance. A stitch in time hopefully.

Rust Never Sleeps.
Neil Young 1979

A Dull Thankless Task
  • Maintenance is inconvenient.
  • Maintenance takes time.
  • Maintenance is repetitive.
  • Maintenance costs money.
  • Maintenance takes you away from the more exciting things that you would rather do.
  • Maintenance never brings any breakthroughs.
  • Maintenance benefits are hard to see.

Way before 9/11 there was a call to fit locks to aircraft flight deck doors. It didn’t happen then. I’ve tried to research who had the vision to recommend the locks, but even Google was no help. If the locks had been fitted back then, would the guy who suggested the door locks be less anonymous now? I don’t think so. You see 9/11 may never have happened if the locks had been fitted. Nobody is ever remembered as being the guy famous for preventing something from happening, that then never happened.

Rest of my days

I have become a maintenance man. That glamour job was never suggested to me as appropriate at any school careers talk. I maintain an ever increasing level of life savings for 185 families. Last week we re-balanced all of our model portfolios. I’m sure you saw the notifications from our wrap providers. It is dull, time-consuming yet essential maintenance. It means our investments don’t get out-of-kilter, it also allows us to get rid of a few laggards and bring in some new opportunities. Just maybe it helps avert a disaster. But if a future disaster has been averted, it would be impossible to tell right now.

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Allan and Sheila copley
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Allan and Sheila copley

Thanks to your excellent maintenance of our finances over more than 10 years we are currently maintaining our tans in Barcelona prior to the Grand Prix. (I’ve run out of petrol once, though Sheila is convinced it’s only a matter of time. I should switch to the cautious petrol plan)
Many thanks, Allan and Sheila

Peter
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Peter

I like doing maintenance especially when there is something to show for, I’ll have a go at most things. However there are certain maintenance jobs I leave to the professionals like plastering and very importantly, personal finance!

Val
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Val

Hi Howard

To my mind it’s not just a matter of “maintenance” more like monitoring, evaluating the situation, making valued professional judgments and most importantly taking necessary actions.

Thank you and all the best
Val

Another Val
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Another Val

Thanks Howard always enjoy reading your blogs! Valuable life lessons we should all apply to our daily lives. Enjoy the cruise!

Phil Dustin
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Phil Dustin

Hello Howard I like the look of the Drax and Cohort companies.   I have set up a spreadsheet to keep better track and I’m surprised that you have kept SSE and Centrica, both the worst performers. Given the manifesto statements about energy prices I’d think things would be getting more difficult, or do they have very good dividends.  Also the American Health and Pharm has been not performing well, again with Trump hitting drug prices and the mess of the state care I’d think this was difficult.  I know that it has been one of your best performers in the… Read more »