Sunday, November 17, 2019

Many of us have been holding our collective breaths watching the impact of Brexit on our 401ks, investment portfolios and other areas of our personal and business finances.

And we cast an eye across the world with concern if Israel’s economy will be hit after last Friday’s British referendum to leave the 28-nation European Union (EU).

As we entered mid-week, the good news was that on Wednesday’s day of trading, American stocks were already showing a recovery. And in a Jewish News Service article covering the Brexit vote, Dr. Oded Eran, the former Israeli ambassador to the EU, said that “nothing is going to happen right away (in terms of Israel’s economy).”

The referendum also resulted in the resignation of British Prime Minister David Cameron, himself a good friend of Israel. Israel’s leadership, starting from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on down, has expressed regret over his decision.

There is concern among Israelis and American Jews that the loss of Britain’s voice at the EU table could hurt Israel’s economic voice there. The EU has not been short of criticism toward Israel and it did pass a difficult regulation labeling products manufactured in Judea and Samaria.

A need exists for Israel to continue looking for and enhancing trade with other emerging markets, including China, Russia, India and even parts of Africa.

But closer to home, it’s disturbing to see how any nation’s referendum outside of the U.S. can potentially impact our own family budgets and incomes.

And if the timing couldn’t be worse, a 23-cent-per-gallon gas tax increase prior to the upcoming July 4th holiday doesn’t help our families’ pocketbooks either.

There are summer expenses associated with camp or travel. In the coming days, stores will begin stocking school supplies and back-to-school clothing. Also, those first tuition checks will be due before we know it. We understand that it isn’t easy sometimes to catch our personal financial breath. If we’ve learned anything this past week, it is how the troubles of nations half a world away can, like an earthquake’s aftershock, rumble through our own homes and communities.

Many of us will be taking belt-tightening measures where necessary during these times of world financial instability. How can we not look ahead with some degree of caution?

It’s with a bit of irony that the Brexit vote happened when it did. Despite our July 4th celebration of 240 years of independence, Britain is still taxing on the financial lives of its former colonies.

Enjoy the holiday and the summer…prudently.