Unprecedented events create new experiences. What fun, misadventure, or positive discoveries have you encountered while locked down?
This is another Thought Experiment (Covid-19 edition), conjured by TheSavingNinja (this one was written by Mrs Ninja though – welcome to the scene of Personal Finance blogging, Mrs Ninja 😉 ).
Like many of my peers I too have found myself in a bit of a slump, after having been forced to #StayTheFuckHome, to prevent the spread of the dreaded Corona-virus dubbed Covid-19.
So I figured the latest Saving Ninja thought experiment might be a good way, to get my creative juices flowing again.
Back in February, I attended a large 2-day conference for IT professionals in the Nordic region (in Denmark). Several of my co-workers was concerned about “getting the virus”. At this point, there were no known cases of Covid-19 in Denmark. I told them to #CalmTheFuckDown and stop being such whiny little pussies (those were my exact words).
Two weeks later: Total country lockdown.
It seems yet another one of those so-called 100-year events was upon us (on top of the latest storms and floods, we sure are getting a lot of those lately…).
1 month later: The whole country (the whole world even) has now become a flock of whiny little pussies (I apologize for the foul language, but desperate times you know!?).
At times like these, reading the mainstream media is of little use. Their job is to sell newspapers (or clicks), and there’s nothing like PANIC and MASS-HYSTERIA to catalyst just that. I know I might come off a bit insensitive here, but while I might be moody, anxious, lazy and obnoxious (it happens) there’s one thing that I refuse to be: Afraid.
If you are attacked by a frothing mountain lion/brown bear/tiger/bigfoot or a 5 feet gorilla, you have a good reason to be scared. Your body is going to need the adrenaline to “defend” itself (get the hell out of dodge). If you are attacked by mass-media induced panic and hysteria, adrenaline is of no use to you. This is when you need to remain calm, more than ever. Once you’ve calmed yourself, you can then turn to look at your stock portfolio, because that is going to require you to have some serious calmness in your body 😛
The Covid-19 virus is a health crisis. Because our health system isn’t geared to handle the “added workload” from the Corona patients, the whole country is put on a lockdown and it then becomes an economical crisis (too).
Whether we believe that this is the correct approach to handle this pandemic, is of little importance. We have to suffer the consequences none the less. For the people who loose their loved ones as a result of (either directly or indirectly) this dreaded decease, the effects of the lock down is even worse. They suffer the same restrictions as the rest of the world, on top of their grief. Burials are either postponed (really? Do we have that much freezer space?) or burials take place with only a handful of attendants. I’ve been to a few burials in my time, and I can’t imagine how it must feel, to have to say goodbye to your loved ones under these circumstances. Some don’t even get to say goodbye, because of the restrictions imposed by the governments world wide.
With that perspective, who are we to sit at home, behind our keyboards, and spew pocket philosophy out of our fingers?
The fact of the matter is that people die every day. From all sorts of deceases. We won’t know how many people will end up dieing as a direct effect of a Covid-19 infection. It’s almost as if we’re now living inside a Dan Brown novel (if you haven’t read “Inferno”, I suggest you do so…). At least the virus tend to “favor” the elder part of the population. Maybe we won’t be so lucky with the next one…
It all got a little dark there for a moment, huh?! Let’s try to forget mass-hysteria for a little while, and try to look at the bright side of life! Because, there’s always a bright side, right? Well, usually there is anyway. If you’ve been sitting back, waiting for a stock market dip of major proportions, you’ve just hit the jackpot!
The S&P 500 dipped about 30%, but has since made a remarkably fast recovery, and is now “only” down about 17% from its previous all-time high. Experts can’t seem to agree whether this is a classic case of the bear market rally, or whether this is actually “it” (what do you believe? Feel free to leave me a comment below!). We won’t know for sure (until it’s too late!?), so all we can do is Keep Calm & Carry On. Whatever investment strategy you were pursuing before the crash, should be the one to follow after the crash too. If not, then you don’t have the right strategy 😉
As we all know, I’m heavily invested in a (currently) single retail property whose tenants appear to be fairly recession resilient (we won’t know for sure until it’s too late). There has been several retail chains in Denmark (not my tenants though – fingers crossed), who has proclaimed to their landlords that they don’t intend to pay their rent for the next couple of months. I’d hate to be that landlord, but the lawyers are still fighting that one out, so I’ll be eagerly awaiting the judgement on that one (I don’t believe a tenant has the right to simply NOT pay their rent – even if they’ve lost significant revenue as a result of the lockdown – the governments has vowed to help these tenants pay their rent). We’ll see how that one plays out, but I’m obviously keeping a close watch on this situation, seeing that 80% of my portfolio is invested in this 1 asset. (Update: My two tenants both continued to pay their rent during all the Covid-19 lockdowns).
My ultimate goal is to have a handful of these kind of properties (mixed in with some residential properties as well), so it’s kind of convenient to get this strategy “stress-tested” before I’ve added Property #2 and Property #3 to the portfolio. At least I now know which type of retail stores to shy away from (as in: they are not pandemic-resistant). Who knew to even consider that before this whole ordeal happened?! Lesson learned 😉 (Grocery stores and DIY stores are currently in high demand!).
Anyway, the idea behind this thought experiment, was that I was supposed to share what I had learned – good or bad – during this Covid-19 lockdown…
Lessons Learned (so far…)
- I hate going to work, but I do love the food selection (lunch buffet) @ work
- I do not love the food selection @ home (no lunch buffet!)
- My house gets dusty and dirty really quick, when the whole family is home 24/7!
- We run out of toilet paper unusually fast! (WTF?!)
- I miss doing stuff I never really thought I would miss, like going out to eat at a restaurant (which we rarely did before the lockdown anyway!)
- I miss going to the movies! (happens maybe 3-4 times per year during normal circumstances…)
- I MISS SPORT ON TELEVISION!#()/!”#()!”
- I miss going to the gym (we have a home gym though – but it needs a rowing machine, and the one I want is not currently on sale – and I’m not buying it at full retail price!…)
- I do love spending more time with my daughter though, and she’s having a blast being home every day – she never wants to go back to daycare!
- I’ve never been a garden person, but it sure is nice to have one during times like these! I really feel bad for the people who are forced to stay indoors to protect them selves.
- When this is all over, I think we will be going more out (theater, movies, comedy, concerts, restaurants etc.) than we did before. It’ll cost more, but you only live once, right? 😉
- I miss the non-work related conversations with my colleagues – I’ve realized that a lot of the attraction of a job (besides the paycheck), is just that you get to GO OUT, and get a change of scenery and have some interesting conversations with people, who you do not live with!
- Once I FIRE, I will need “somewhere” to go to, where I can meet people and have said conversations with (I kinda knew that already)…
- I’ve had the urge to call up people, who I normally wouldn’t talk to more than maybe once or twice per year.
- I actually don’t mind being “alone” and “isolated”. What I do mind, is the fact that it’s not by my own choice…
- I MISS SPORTS ON TV!! (oh, I already said that?…)
- I don’t need to travel the world (I’ve seen plenty of it already), as long as I’m somewhere where the weather is nice and you can go outside and walk about, I’m good.
- Life is short. You’ve got to make the most of it, while you still have all options open (I know it’s corny).
I’m sure there’s more lessons (to be) learned, but after 4 weeks of lockdown, I’m truly grateful (thrilled almost) that our prime minister has decided to slowly open our country back up. Today, my daughter is back in her daycare (with new rules and limited options though – like they have to be OUTSIDE, ALL DAY! 😮 ).
While our lives are now slowly returning to “normal”, I don’t think it will ever be quite the same again for any of us…