I, like every other financial adviser, have been getting panic calls about what people should do during this pandemic and market crash. Should they sell, should they buy? Those are the easy questions. The ones that are far more difficult to answer are the ones like: How do I pay my rent? What about the car payments? The worst one being: how am I going to buy groceries?
It is particularly depressing to get these comments from the same people who told me they were too young to worry about saving, they didn’t have enough to save, pretty well an excuse you can think of, as to why they couldn’t be interested in their money. Believe me, there is absolutely no satisfaction in hearing someone say, “I should have listened your course/suggestion/offer of help.”
It always fascinates me that negative situations, thoughts, and actions, come so naturally. I think it is because, DESTROYING takes so much less energy than CREATING. And destroying seems to be more fun. It is more fun to tear down a house than it is to build one. I can always get more volunteers to do a tear out, than I can an install. I get satisfaction from fixing a broken window. But I get just as much satisfaction from the sound of breaking glass when I throw a scrap window into the dumpster. It might also have to do with, when you are destroying something, you don’t have to care. You can just do what you want. Creating something takes concentration, attention, accuracy. When you Create, you have to invest more of yourself and pay more attention. This definitely holds true for Financial situations.
Spending money is fun, and very easy. You can just “tap”. You don’t even have to count bills or change. Buying something is really fun. As a matter of fact, people do it just to make themselves feel better.
Saving money, or building an emergency fund, or a portfolio, or flipping a house, require concentration, attention, accuracy, and time. They are also not the most fun. BUT, what about right now?? Is stressing over how you’re going to pay your bills FUN?? Would life not be way less stressful if your biggest worry right NOW, was about your Portfolio performance, and not about paying everyday bills?? What are you going to do about it?
When we get back to some sort of normal, it will never be the same as before, are you going to fall back on old habits and thinking? Or are you going to start preparing for the next time?
The saddest comment I heard was from a young lady who was honestly worried about the restaurants closing. She said “What am I going to do, if the restaurants close?? I have no idea how to cook anything.” She didn’t even know where to start to make “KD”. This is in total contrast to my older friends who say, “I have enough basics to be able to cook for the next 3 weeks. It won’t be fancy but it will be good food.”
For my friends who have portfolios, I will tell you what I am doing. If prices are well below breakeven, HOLD. Losses are always hard to recover. Right now, losses are just on paper (or the monitor screen). Things are definitely low, but I am not sure they are at the bottom. Prices seldom go up as fast as they come down, so there is no need for panic buying either. This last week was a good example. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were up days. Looks like it might be recovering. Then came Friday.
NOBODY knows what will happen in the next 3 weeks! I doubt that ANYONE KNOWS what will happen in the next 3 months!! Right now, you need cash to look after bills and food. You need cash supporting your debit card. Investments cannot be used to buy groceries without changing them into CASH first. AS SOON AS YOU DO SELL YOU HAVE MADE YOUR LOSSES REAL! Once people start going to work again, and businesses are opening, it will be time to look at buying.
I am putting together a list of what stocks I will be looking at. I will share the list. For right now, do what the Health unit says, stay home, wash your hands, and keep a social distance (love that term). If looking at your investmensts causes stress, STOP LOOKING! The market can be described as like a man climbing a staircase, while playing with a yo-yo. A couple of weeks ago, he fell down and rolled down a couple of stairs. He will get up and start climbing again.
Now would be a good time get some reading/listening/viewing done of things, that will make you more employable, Financially aware, or effective. (Check out my blog posts for example.) It will make the time go faster. There is a new section on the site REAL ESTATE. My listings, and other properties of interest, will featured there. Contact me for more information on them. Hope you all stay well.