The Grenville Phillips Column – Pay for Fun and Make Investments

If you have an extra $50 to spend, then you can take someone to the cinema to experience 3 hours of the Avengers: EndGame.  If you had an extra $500 to spend, then you could have taken someone to experience about 3 hours of the Buju concert.  With either option, you know that you are paying for fun.

If you had the extra money, then you would not likely be disappointed that you spent it, regardless of how hard you worked for it.  You had it, you spent it, and you enjoyed yourself.  If you had not spent it on fun, then you would probably have spent it on something else, or given it to someone in need.

Since you will have extra money sometime, why not use some of it to get more money?  With the additional money, you can: pay off your debts, help more people in need, and pay for a lot more fun.  So, what can you legally do with an extra $50 or $500 to get more money?

You can play the lottery. However, you will likely lose all of your money quickly.  You can invest it in someone else’s business.  However, they if they desperately needed your investment to keep going, then there may be structural problems with that business, and you may lose that investment.  You can invest it in your own business, but if your business is not yet profitable enough to pay your monthly expenses, then a return should not be expected.

There are steps that you can take to make it probable that any extra money you invest will make more money.  Before investing in any product, ask yourself these two questions.  1)  Are similar products selling well now?  2)  Is it likely that your product will sell when you are ready to bring it to the market?  Once the answer to both of those questions is yes, then ask yourself one more question.  3)  What is likely to cause you to lose all of your money.

Let us test a few money-making ideas.  What about planting, cultivating and selling beans?  Are beans selling now?  Yes.  Will beans likely sell in 2 months when they are reaped?  Yes.  What will probably cause you to lose all of your money invested in this venture?  Crop thefts by monkeys and humans is very likely, and you can do little about it at this time.  So let us think of another product.

What about investing in building a house to sell?  Are houses selling well now?  No, the housing market is depressed.  Will the house likely sell in one year after it is constructed?  No.  The market is likely to continue to be depressed while the economy is under BERT/IMF management.  Note that if the housing market were not depressed, you could have grown your $50 or $500 investment – we will address how in the next article.

What about an example that will work?  That is the challenge.  Before I tested the ideas, I thought that both of them were worthy investments.  However, the test showed that while both ideas are good, they are just not wise investments at this time.

Every product has customers.  One challenge is to identify those who are willing to purchase your produce before you invest in it.  The euphoria of coming-up with a good idea leads many to make an emotional decision.  They then prematurely invest their money and lose it.  Testing the idea with the questions reduces the risk that you will make an emotional decision.

You can reduce the risk of failure by selecting a product from what you normally purchase in one week, and making a business out of it.  For example, you probably eat breakfast, lunch and dinner.  Since everyone needs to eat to survive, food will sell today and tomorrow.

How can you lose your money with food?  Preparing food that most people: will not like, cannot afford, or is inconvenient to purchase will likely do it.  Since these risks are generally within your control, the next step is to design a business that avoids these risks.

Grenville Phillips II is a Chartered Structural Engineer and President of Solutions Barbados.  He can be reached at

113 thoughts on “The Grenville Phillips Column – Pay for Fun and Make Investments

  1. “@ William

    Of course you are right. A simple explanation: a post office balanced sheet bank, funding small businesses, would enfranchise many of those small self-employed people and, most important, liberate them from the foreign owned banks.
    Bds$50m of the $1000m foreign reserves to fund turning the 18 post offices in to banks would be the most exciting thing we have done since Nov 30, 1966.”


    Can you imagine the above Neanderthal proposal is emanating from the brain of a man who fancies himself as a ‘literary’ guru on ‘modern’ economics and finance?

    Does this ‘fully-retired’ financial peripatetic messiah take time out of his busy life to walk the ‘High Streets’ of London (and indeed all ‘towns’ in the UK) to observe the relics of his long dead proposal?

    All the major banks (and retailers/shops) are shedding their physical presence on the High Streets and moving to cyberspace and this ICT Luddite wants to resurrect the banking and post office dead in Barbados.

    The banks in the UK are literally forcing people to do their banking over the Internet while the remaining post offices- in order to survive financially in this brave new world of ICT- are ‘diversifying their services like processing applications for passport, driver and vehicle licensing renewals.

    The self-acclaimed messiah might have had his nanosecond of publicity during the recently aired “Stephen Lawrence Murder” mystery on the BBC where the name ‘Hal Austin’ appeared at the top of a Newspaper clipping but to extend this journalistic adventure into the world of modern banking and business might just be “a bridge too far” in trying to take the mickey out of naïve Bajans.

  2. A happy Saturday morning to all in Barbados and those outside of Barbados. May your God give you a peaceful (piece full) and restful day.

  3. “All the major banks (and retailers/shops) are shedding their physical presence on the High Streets and moving to cyberspace and this ICT Luddite wants to resurrect the banking and post office dead in Barbados.”

    can’t get any modern, this era ideas from asses with their mentalities still mired in the 1950s, they were the lost generation…drowned in mindwash.

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