What Makes Life Rich in Times of Crisis

What Makes Life Rich in Times of Crisis

Financial expert Elisabeth Tester discusses with Manuel Gerber and Thomas Stauffer, partner at Gerber Stauffer Fine Arts, the question “What makes my life rich?” at a panel moderated by Claudia Holfert and organized by the “Women in ETF” network in cooperation with SIX.

What would you say: what makes your life rich? At the "Women in ETF" summer event at the end of September, “friends and family” and “freedom” ranked distinctly higher than “financial security”. Spoiler: No one from the mostly female audience considered the partner the biggest enrichment to their lives – a result that was acknowledged in the room with quiet smiles.  

Even before this result of the introductory survey, the three experts on the panel had actually been on the same page: the definition of prosperity will not change even after Corona. “At the latest as soon as a vaccine is available, we will all fall back into our old consumption and behavior patterns,” said Elisabeth Tester, former correspondent for “Finanz und Wirtschaft” in China. She also pointed out the growing gap between the poor and the rich due to Corona.

The other panel participants supported Tester’s pessimistic post-corona predictions. Manuel Gerber, partner at Gerber Stauffer Fine Arts, considered the purchase of a painting often to be driven by the short-term excitement over a successful “deal” rather than by a lifelong pleasure in its beauty.  And his business partner Thomas Stauffer regretted that art frequently becomes a luxurious trophy, “similar to a Rolex or a Patek Philippe.”

The subsequent live survey among the audience showed that 40% of the roughly 50 participants mainly have a job in order to be able to afford luxury and holidays (30% love their job, though). This result thus seemed to answer the question of the evening. Is the return to immaterial values, which was much vaunted during the pandemic, really only a “public relations coup” and “fairy tale”?

The event ended on a reconciliatory note: When asked, panel participants said that the birth of their children or the get together with loyal friends belong to the most valuable moments of their lives. The follow-up questions from the audience ranged from the freedom of speech in China to the possibility of making a contribution to society by investing in art. Yet enriching discussions are actually rarely (only) about the money.