Instead of telling you how my family is doing OK during the coronavirus crisis, I wanted to share with you how our family is being negatively impacted by the coronavirus. I’ll then provide another update one year into the pandemic.
From going through a logical exercise on how to predict a stock market bottom to providing suggestions on how to better work from home, I have been accused of being too calm and hopeful during this difficult time period. Instead of remaining optimistic, I should wake up from my dreamworld bubble and face the reality that doom is upon us.
Even though I’ve only heard from a few people online who have lost money in their investments (just read all the comments from people who said they were 100% in cash or short before the crash etc), I’m assuming there are some of you out there who are feeling the crunch. Maybe some of you are even a little scared about the future.
If so, I can see how my disposition can irk you. Let me attempt to mix things up.
Note: I originally wrote this post on March 20, 2020. Obviously, things have recovered a great deal since then. However, life is not 100% back to normal.
Finding Joy In The Suffering Of Others
During times of fear and uncertainty, the people who are hurting the most tend to lash out at others, especially online. Civility dissolves into nothingness as strangers attack strangers to help deal with their personal demons.
One of the consistent things I’ve noticed since starting Financial Samurai in 2009 is readers, regular and new, find joy in my suffering and the suffering of others. Because I’m pretty transparent with what decisions I make with my money, when things don’t go well, I thereby enable people to make fun of me or kick me when I’m down.
Below is an example of a reader taking joy in my underperformance as described in a mid-2019 weekly newsletter. In the newsletter, I admit that I was too conservative with my then ~30/70 equity/bond asset allocation. But after a rocky December 2018 and a healthy recovery by the end of 1Q2019, I wanted to take down my risk exposure.
Keeping Things Real
You may find this strange, but one of the reasons why I’m relatively transparent with my finances and financial failures is because it brings some people joy. And bringing joy to others makes me happy.
In the workforce and online, I’ve had to deal with countless bullies. I’ve been called plenty of hateful names. The common denominator all these antagonists have in common is that something is bothering them enough to throw prickly bombs. I feel their pain because I’ve gone through many painful experiences as well.
It is also a human affliction to delight in the suffering of others (schadenfreude). It is much easier to try and bring someone down than it is to take action to improve your situation. Unfortunately, our hyper-competitive world has only increased the amount of schadenfreude.
Hopefully, the difficulties my family is going through will help make you feel better about your situation. Perhaps you will find solace that you are not alone during this time of great hardship.
My goal since starting Financial Samurai in 2009 has always been to educate, entertain, challenge conventional ways of thinking, and make you feel more confident about your finances.
Related: Once You Have F You Money, It’s Hard To Tell Others To F Off
How Our Family Is Being Negatively Affected By The Coronavirus Crisis
1) We lack income stability from full-time jobs.
Not only do we not have jobs that pay us a steady salary with subsidized health care, but we are also going to have a much more difficult time finding jobs if things continue to worsen. If and when employers do decide to hire again, they will first try to hire people who already have jobs to “upgrade” their workforce. Then they’ll look for people who were recently laid off in a relevant field. During a bear market, folks like my wife and me are at the bottom of a thousand-resume pile.
At the beginning of 2020, I had a goal of getting back into the workforce to help increase capital and reduce our $2,380/month health care bill. The dream was to accumulate enough so that my family could comfortably retire in Hawaii by the end of 2022. Thanks to the coronavirus, my dreams have been dashed. I must find another way but I’m uncertain how.
2) We’re still paying for preschool, despite the closure.
Not only do we have to pay the full $1,950/month for the month of March, even though three weeks have been canceled so far, parents are also being asked to pay full tuition for the month of April. The school could be closed for months longer.
I’m assuming there will be some type of compromise, but families who decide to protest may permanently lose their child’s spot once there is a recovery since there is still massive demand to get in. We’re talking 100+ applicants for 2-3 spots.
3) We’re getting hammered financially more than most.
With the S&P 500 down ~30%, our net worth is down by hundreds of thousands of dollars.
If stocks drop any further, a decline in real estate prices may be next. Shockingly, municipal bond funds have also lost multiple years of gains as well. There’s a good chance that by the time the carnage is complete, we could lose well over $1 million.
4) Financial Samurai traffic is down ~20% YoY.
Instead of Financial Samurai benefitting from fear and uncertainty in the stock market and economy, it looks like more people would rather stay as far away from anything finance-related as possible. It feels better not to look at your finances when they’re getting clobbered, so people don’t.
People also tend to stop trying to educate themselves as it’s simply too painful a time period. With a decline in traffic comes a commensurate decline in revenue. If finance-related companies start shutting down, revenue will decline even further.
One silver lining is that because Google searches for “unemployment benefits” have spiked, so has the increase in book sales for teaching people how to negotiate a severance. In such situations, you want to negotiate a severance well ahead of any tidal wave of layoffs because the people who negotiate first get the largest benefits.
5) Our mountain rental property will be negatively impacted.
The Resort where we own our condominium shut down in the middle of March. The timing is terrible since the snow has been dumping and winter is the highest revenue season of the year. Yet, the HOA dues and mortgage remains fixed. Hopefully, with nobody going, The Resort will lower the monthly HOA/maintenance dues, but I doubt it. This is a double whammy that may last for months.
Thankfully, in mid-June 2020, the Resort finally opened back up. However, visitors are few and far between. I think it’s time for us to go back up mid-week as a family!
6) We have two children under three to protect.
Life was on easy mode when we didn’t have children. We could easily hunker down when it was just the two of us. Now, we’ve got to ensure that our children are continuously fed, protected and loved.
Imagine having a highly energetic 3-year-old that needs 12 hours of non-stop attention. Now imagine having a precious 12-week-old who has not yet fully developed her immune system during a global pandemic. Difficult mode.
There is no downtime for us, only a heightened sense of responsibility. We must also put on brave faces in front of our children and pretend everything is OK. There is no point letting our dismay spill over to our children’s innocent lives.
7) Our parents and in-laws live very far away.
My parents are in their 70s and in Hawaii. My in-laws are in their 70s and in West Virginia and Virginia. If something bad happens to them, we are a day’s travel away, if we’re still allowed to travel.
One of the main reasons why I want to relocate to Hawaii is so that in case of an emergency, I can be by my parent’s side within 30 minutes. When it comes to disasters such as a heart attack, every minute counts.
I’m thankful that at least my parents came to visit for several weeks in December 2019 right when our daughter was born.
8) We have less time to recover financially.
Now that I’m in my 40s, I no longer feel quite as invincible as I did when I was in my 20s and 30s. At 42, I’ve got 20 years less time to recover than someone who is 22.
For all of you still on your path to financial independence in your 20s and 30s, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for to build your passive income investment portfolio and try new things.
9) California is under shelter-in-place.
We’re not allowed to go to restaurants, bars, events, theaters, work, school, etc for an undetermined amount of time. Even if we could go out, almost everything is closed. Even some of the public parks are now closed.
Spending more time at home is great for building a stronger bond with our children. It’s what my wife and I have done since 2017. However, 5 am – 11 pm days can get very tiring after a while, especially when it’s not under your own accord. There’s a reason why so many best friends no longer remain best friends after a long road trip.
Perhaps one of the most difficult things about shelter-in-place is that we don’t know when it will end. Our Governor has said schools might not open until the Fall. The uncertainty is what is most disconcerting. But we will do our part to beat this thing.
As of July 2, 2020, four months in, San Francisco is still under shelter-in-place as a potential second wave hits.
Coronavirus Crisis: The Key Now Is To Survive
The coronavirus crisis is real, even if the stock market is telling us otherwise.
I acknowledge that some folks have it worse than us. And I’m not trying to win the victim Olympics. I’m just sharing what we are currently going through so you know that not everything is sunshine and roses here.
If you’re feeling pain from the coronavirus-induced stock market meltdown, I hope my list of things we’re hurting from helps make you feel a little better about your situation.
Feel free to use me as a punching bag if you’re hurting. I’m used to it. Just try not to be racist because that’s where I draw the line.
We can all agree that eventually, most things will bounce back. The key now is to survive until things do. Review your cash and liquidity situation. Review your asset allocation. Cut down on your monthly burn rate. Support your local businesses. And try to be kind to one another.
No matter how bad things get, so long as there’s electricity and the internet, I will continue writing to help us eventually come out ahead.
Let me leave you with this hilarious video from an Israeli mom of 4 who is trying to cope with school being closed. Sorry to end things on a positive note. But you got to watch the rant. If you’re a parent, it’s the best!
Coronavirus Pandemic One Year In
2020 was a doozy of a year. Here’s my 2020 review. For 2021, are are glad to all be healthy. I’m no longer getting sick every month because our son is still not in preschool. Our daughter is one years old and doing great. Further, our investments are up a lot.
We’re tired of the pandemic, but we will forge on and follow safety guidelines. I’m buckled down, trying to build as much wealth as possible until I get vaccinated or until there is herd immunity. Then, it’s GO TIME for enjoying our money and the world to the maximum!
Here are my goals for 2021. Let’s go world!
Why I Failed At Early Retirement: A Love Story
2Q2020 Financial Samurai Review: To The Edge And Back
Readers, how are your finances and your life being negatively affected by the coronavirus crisis? Perhaps we can share our stories so we can make sure people know they are not alone during this time of difficulty.
If you don’t delight in the suffering of others and appreciate my work, then you can support Financial Samurai at no cost by sharing my articles and recommending my newsletter to people you care about.
Sam, been on your site for years now. Appreciate your transparency and honesty and can relate as a 40 something year old that has responsibilities for 3 kids, stay at home mom, parents on both sides, 6 god children and being the only person who draws income or manages money. In the weeks following the covid panic early March, portfolio dropped 7 digits in two weeks! Panic ensued, now we are close to pre-panic levels, but I know we are in for many more months of volatility. Good luck and keep up the good work!
Hey! I just joined and hopefully that helps your numbers for April!!!
Been reading for hours and LOVE what I’ve found so far. This is the time to educate us on how to take advantage of this blip in the market and reassess current portfolios and plan for the next big growth opportunity.
If you’re feeling the “pinch” now, that just proves you’re one of us and gives us hope we can get to where you were, and will be back to soon. Might take a couple years, slow down and enjoy the new challenge!
Do it once, you’re lucky. Do it twice, you got some skills!!
Nice read Sam. Don’t worry about all the haters, you bring more clarity and information than a lot of people and have always enjoyed reading your articles.
This virus has thrown the world on its head and a lot of people have been affected. I haven’t been affected too much as of now, I still report to work every day and my wife was able to work from home. The funny thing is, is as I’ve been actively trying to get away from work through investments and trying to find a way out, I’m not thankful that I’m still in! My wife is going crazy trying to work from home and having the boys (6 &3) home with her full time too.
It’s weird that traffic to your site is down right now, you would think more people would be using this time to learn personal finance right now. That’s the odd world we live in.
Hopefully, things get back to normal sooner than later. Keep those kids close and safe, I know mine are going crazy being at home all day. But thankful that everyone is healthy.
Kenny Yeung says
I feel your pain with preschool. Distance learning is impossible with toddlers with poor attempts at 10 minutes of story time each morning via Zoom when the teachers have poor internet connections and dealing with 25 energetic kids wanting some attention.
Ours has been closed for all but 2 days in March, full tuition of $2650 will not be refunded. April tuition was reduced to $2150 as a gesture of goodwill to parents but no further reductions expected because the owner wants to keep the teachers on payroll. However, it came to light they furloughed most of the staff as one of the parents asked where the other teachers/aids are. I can understand the high tuition with some 1×1 time with each child, especially if they claim all teachers are still being paid. 5 teachers x 8 hours / day = 40 hours of work available. If each kid gets 1 hour, that would be understandable.
After some parents protested, the owner wrote a haphazard letter about begging the landlord for a rent reduction (they actually own the building through another LLC so they refused to lower the rent for themselves) and needing to keep teachers on payroll and not taking a salary for themselves.
Financial Samurai says
Man, I can’t believe they furloughed the staff. They should disclose what percentage of their costs is their rent. The teachers are obviously by far the most important asset.
At least they offered a tuition cut. Ours just told us there will be no tuition in May, but we they are open to donations. That’s fair. I will be donating directly to my two preschool teachers to help with their rent.
Geoff Williams says
Thanks for all your great posts Sam! I was down about 10% on net worth, done a bit of buying and now -7% or so, I only had about 20% of net worth directly exposed to stocks. I do have 25% of net worth in a variable annuity with some fund investments; that decision is now looking very good for long-term secure income. I was one of those who felt we were overreacting until I realized we had no flex capacity in our hospitals for beds or ventilators and I learned how awful it was for human lungs to be on a ventilator for 2-3 weeks. I still think we can bring the economy back on line in 2-3 months while managing the case load and protecting the vulnerable and helping with short-term pay for those affected. We have been donating heavily to the Food Bank here in NC and buying from our favorite local restos and grocery stores and tipping the restaurant folks bigtime. I think we will all feel better about taking care of each other after this crisis, will add nurses and doctors to our growing list of Frontline heroes/heroines in our society and my greatest hope is we will get rid of as many stale, dumb, partisan politicians as possible in the next 2-3 elections who only care about themselves and sticking it to their competitors and do not care one bit for people and human progress.
I’ve been a frequent reader for about the last 4 years now. I work in finance and naturally was drawn to the content of your site. My original stumbling upon was due to your posting on dividend stocks vs growth stocks. After reading the posting I then poked around only to discover your financial independence content. Needless to say, I was hooked from that moment. For the last four years I have been following much of your advice and aggressively working toward financial independence. That is, until the last few weeks…
Last July I got engaged to my girlfriend and now fiancée. A few months later we purchase a house and moved in together. My fiancée is self employed and works in the beauty industry. As a result of the coronavirus she can no longer perform her beauty procedure as salons were ordered closed.
I’ll never forget her coming home and joking “well, I’m unemployed” after walking through the door. More so I will never forget how she (or I for that matter) wasn’t nervous or panicked at all by her loss of income. My soon to be wife is a wonderful person but admittedly tends to stress when it comes to her business despite being very successful. I thought to myself “why aren’t either of us nervous”?
Through discussion we both realized that we weren’t nervous for nearly the same reasons. First, we live well below our means and save the rest. While we are both blessed with great careers and are higher earners we live off less than one of our incomes. Secondly we knew that while our budget is already fairly low there are “fun” items built in that could be cut should need be. Finally we have over a years worth of expenses in cash as part of our emergency funds.
I think back to all the small actions we took over the last several years put us in this position. On top of being frugal and saving/investing, more importantly was finding a spouse who shares my same fiscal values and beliefs.
This experience has taught me that FIRE is not just about having independence at a later date. Sometimes, as it is with us, it can be independence from life’s events along the journey. While I’ve had this goal of attaining FIRE for years, in some sense I’ve already done so!
Thank you for all the content you’ve created over the years. I hope if nothing less you understand your work has made a difference in my life for the better. Keep up the great work!
We are all hurting in some way, maybe many ways, but like you, Sam, I am remaining focused on the many positives in my life: excellent health, loving relationships, and financial stability.
I worked in a profession that is crisis based and dangerous, so I am not living in fear, panicking, or future tripping. But I am missing my family and friends. The isolation has been more difficult than I had imagined.
I enjoy your positivity. Please continue being a bright light during this dark time.
Dan B says
Agreed we are all feeling the pain and stress when things change. The uncertainty is really unnerving for those of us who like to follow a routine and have a plan in place! My wife and I began following your writings several years ago as we started on the journey to early retirement. I retired in April of last year at age 56. In 2017 we sold our rental property in the Bay Area and used a 1031 Exchange (allows you to defer capital gains if you buy like property) to purchase 5 single family homes outside California in TX and TN. This was part of plan to provide a diversified income stream outside the the stock market. We tend to be on the conservative side so we have set aside about $35k in cash to support these properties for vacancies, maintenance etc. We’ll see if that is enough.
I also follow the advice of a few wise financial economists who have been saying the equities market was way overvalued and fed by a high greed quotient. Additionally that corporations are way too leveraged in bond debt making them vulnerable to downturns in business.
So we sold mostly out of the stock market in mid 2018 and moved to 80/10/10, Long term treasury fund, equities and cash. The move has paid off as we are up about 10% since Jan 1, 2020 on a $1M portfolio, outside of real estate. I am not conveying this to boast, but to say that the drum beat to de-risk has been pretty loud over the last 18 months. Now that there is a rush to bonds and cash, it looks like time to move in the opposite direction, abet cautiously back into equities.
Thank you for your insights over the years. I always look forward to your emails!
Hopefully you kept your bond balance.
I am retired and learned my lessons in 2002 lost money but made most back by 2007 and went to bonds and have been there all this time. Everyone said I was really stupid and that I couldn’t make money in bonds. I remembered a quote that Will Rodgers when a reporter asked him where he kept his money he told them “in bonds” the reporter told him you can’t make any money that way and he replied to him “ you can if you have enough of them “ . Right now I am feeling pretty good, unless the financial ends.
Even with the steep recent decline how does the Cumulative bond return compare to the S&p 500 return over the past 10 year period.
Thank you Financial Samurai for an honest and open post – I hope things work out for you and you get to Hawaii in the next few years. SF is still a wonderful place to live with lots to offer and things will rebound sooner than later. I’ve been going through very similar emotions and actually finding myself reading more of your articles in this downturn and holding my breath patiently – your financial analyses have been really helpful to me in making some critical decisions – so keep those posts coming!
If it makes you feel better, I’m an ICU physician with no paid leave, no hazard pay, no child care while the kids are out of school, and inadequate PPE in an underserved safety net hospital. I wish I were retired. I just come home every day hoping I don’t infect my family. All healthcare workers are stretched so thin to maximize profits that there is literally no room in the system to accommodate an increase in capacity let alone a pandemic. It used to be 2 patients per nurse, then 3, then 4. We haven’t had an increase in nurses or physicians but I have personally witnessed a 4 fold increase in administrative personnel within my own academic department in 3 years. I hope all this leads to some serious reform. The corporatization of education and healthcare will be the death of us.
I feel ya. Have a spouse working in LTC facility and they have a patient that tested positive for COVID-19. Unlike other businesses, they need to keep operating and health care workers need to keep showing up for work. I got a brother doing ER in a COVID-19 tent. He’s self isolated from his family so after working in a hot zone, he can’t even see his family. No hazard pay, no leave. Just like armed services, there is a duty to serve. It does bug me a little that delivery drivers and warehouse workers are demanding double pay while healthcare workers don’t think about trying to capitalize on a crisis and the high demand for their skills (well most of them). On top of that, we crossed 7 figures in paper losses. But we’ll get through it.
When times get tough, the tough get going. I’ve followed you a long time and you’re the best of the best, Sam. Thank you for sharing the negative considerations of this scourge. We retired at the end of February and it’s been tough sledding. Your recommendations are right on. Thank you for putting yourself out there. You’re a scrapper, a fighter, a toughie. . .and a winner. We WILL bounce back. We have to do so. What’s the alternative? God’s blessings on you and yours!
“For all of you still on your path to financial independence in your 20s and 30s, this is the moment you’ve been waiting for to build your passive income investment portfolio and try new things.”
Sam– In a massive stroke of luck, this statement captures exactly where a lot of my peers and I are at right now. Your site is a wealth of knowledge and full of useful resources, but would you consider providing a specialized guide/play-book of sorts (like your “Ranking the Best Passive Income Investments” article) through the lens of today’s unique situation sometime in the next few weeks/months? …Or would that article stand without many amendments?
All the best Samurai.
I have 3 little ones with a fourth coming ion June. We live down in San Jose. Like you, I grew up in Hawaii (McKinley HS).
Love what you do with this site and sharing your thoughts on all these matters.
Hi Sam – another great post. Just to address your comment of “not being racist,” I’m not sure if that is alluding to people using the Chinese as a scapegoat based on the origin of this virus, or just a generality, but allow me to opine anyways: I think there will also be even more increased tension between generations, rather than versus Chinese. In many young people’s eyes we are essentially shutting down the economy to fight a virus that MOSTLY (not absolutely) affects/kills those who are elderly and likely were to die soon anyway. I think the generation of gig-workers and millennial/Gen Z who suffer as the virus’s effects reverberate throughout the economy could cause some serious civil unrest old vs. young. Let me conclude with the fact that I hope I am dead wrong…that neither Chinese-Americans nor the elderly are scapegoated. Although I also hope that we are wary of mortgaging the future for the now, because it could cause irreversible damage that some won’t live to suffer through.
I actually don’t think so, or maybe there already is tension and this won’t change that. It might create some empathy, if they see our elders pass away.
The snowflake generation were over-helicoptered. They’ve lived in peacetime, or at least where war has been so far away from their doorstep. Our parents and grandparents (I’m Gen X) lived through world wars and the Cold War, plus all other kinds of global stress.
The snowflakes meanwhile are now perpetually offended and spent a week arguing about what to call the virus instead of actually solving problems. Last week in my part of town instead of staying at home they were having a real laugh at the local bars and cafes.
So it’s a wake-up call, maybe for us all.
The “snowflakes” kicked off secondary school with Columbine, ended it with 9/11, graduated college at the start of the great recession, and now will endure Coronavirus. So I think your point about peacetime and overprotection misses.
Another great article Sam, I also enjoy reading the comments as much as your writing! I took $300k out of the market, stopped contributing and reallocated the remaining balance to 60/40 in 2017 and missed most of the Trump rally and S&P highs and def had FOMO going in to 2020. We invested in passive MF real estate syndications through an individual sponsor with proven track record through 2008, very conservative underwriting and high cash reserves. I feel confident at this point, but honestly don’t know where this is going…rent default will be our biggest enemy. We are both still working FT and have cash in the bank ready to deploy into VTSAX when the knot in my stomach starts to lighten. There’s no way we would be in this position if it wasn’t for Financial Samurai, never underestimate how much we appreciate you!!
Financial Samurai says
Glad you are in a strong position through this crash! Hopefully the government will help folks who are most impacted with a strong UBI program that puts money directly in people’s pockets. Rents are a risk, but they tend to be the last to fall.
Sam – As many have shared, thank you for your sincere transparency. While, there is a gain for your effort in maintaining Financial Samurai, for me & many others, your articles have presented insightful appreciation on Financial Planning & Investment. Please continue to lead us. For all those who leave comments, at the end of the articles, thank you to y’all too. You have been an equal teacher to me & others. I find a family in here.
As a background, am 45 years with 17-20 years for retirement. As I work for a state government with pension plan, just started 4 & 1/2 years ago, that will provide decent pension from age 60 onwards, have been primarily exposed to equities in the market. My goal is not to need the investment portfolio to meet our retirement needs. My wife maximizes her 401k and I maximize my ROTH 403B and 457. The later 2 are tax deferred. We have a 14 year-old whom we have been contributing to 529 since she was 3 years. Looking at her portfolio, love compounding average:) Her portfolio has been equities centered too.
Our portfolio has dropped by 28.4% since the market peak. To be precise, abt $300K:( Not fun. There have been many times that I have kicked myself hard that I could have been lesser equity centered. Water under the bridge. I regularly look at the last 100 years market trend and comfort myself:)
Am actively considering selling all or good chunk of the portfolio and redeploying when the market softens further. If this happens, at least, I have better opportunity to redeem my losses. Will love yours and others thoughts.
Btw, I work in a Health System where we are actively screening and treating Covid-19 patients. Have had health workers be impacted and quarantined. While, they certainly speak & exhibit their fears rightfully, My respect for my colleagues has gone up multiple levels.
Frugal Bazooka says
Your blog typically permeates w Spockian logic and in these uncertain times, logic can be comforting so thanks for that.
Suddenly we’re living in a precarious world and I’m guessing few of us have had time to fully process exactly where this will go esp on the financial side.
Our portfolio has taken a 6 figure hit, but I learned a valuable lesson over the past 3 weeks: some bond funds lose just as much and as fast as any stock based funds. The jokes on me, since I thought I was being conservative w my 60/40 bonds to stocks allocation. I’m suddenly much better versed in truly conservative bonds, but tuition for that lesson alone was equivalent to 8 years at Harvard. Despite the pain of losing so much money I’m upping positions in a few dividend stocks and high yield dividend mutual funds. I won’t give up on the US stock market no matter what happens…investing in the market has allowed me to pay off my house, buy new cars, loan friends and family money, go on ridiculous vacations and gain peace of mind financially that my job could never give me. I owe the stock market a lot and whether it comes back right away or not, I’m buying…much slower than before, but buying nonetheless.
Live long and prosper!
Financial Samurai says
Hey man, joke is on me too as I thought holding AA-municipal bonds would hold up like a rock during a bear market. I did not anticipate local governments shutting down to combat a virus and therefore, hurt local revenue!
I won’t give up either. Just learn and recalibrate for the future.
I do feel like a lot of us were defensive positioned because we are reading these sites. We all heard how much cash Buffett had, etc. Wuhan virus is truly a black swan event, but even without it we were due a correction. I think the “set it and forget it” life index fund 401k holders that are put into a 401k by employers are the ones that had no wee inkling at all. No one I work with has looked at their 401k. They weren’t looking before this either, so maybe don’t know. Ignorance is bliss.
Bad news:unfortunately I think we have more to go.
Anecdotal evidence on the ground take it for what you will:
-I have seen a lot of people going to bank and maxing out their cash advance. Anywhere from 700 dollars to 10k. Whatever they can get. Perhaps because of last go round when credit card companies cut credit lines drastically and suddenly, they are getting ahead of the game.
-People are also withdrawing large amounts of cash. Not a great idea in this day and age. But they are taking out 10k-20k. Be warned cash in very dirty. Other countries are cleaning theirs now. Not USA.
-Met a lady today who was driving from Marin to Colorado. She got out in the nick of time. She is buying an RV and going to live on a friends land for a year. Has six months food supply.
-Bullion and bullets are sold out on line.
-I have heard from medical professionals across the country they are dangerously close to being at zero supplies. Some asking a major company to donate rain ponchos for when they run out of hospital gowns. That’s desperate to me and we are nowhere near peak virus.
-Met many managers telling me they are going to work to lay off people. Imho, Pick up what work you can now so that you can maybe more easily find a job when this is over. Job losses in places like Florida expected to be around 400k. This is going to be devestating. All we need at this point is a major natural disaster.
This all says to me we have a way to go. A lot of these people have gone super defensive-investing way more resources and money than most of us would. So we are not the most defensive by a long shot. These people won’t come out of their hideouts for a long time. For the common person though…a lot of people are still denying reality. Think this isn’t bad. Overblown hype. I see a lot of normalcy biases being held hard. When the average Joe finally gets it, things will fall further.
Do what you can now and be patient. Cut expenses (Like your day care). There will be opportunity but not now.
Let’s keep sharing information and see how we can get out of this as best we can. I feel like we are on our own. I don’t see a lot of community spirit and kindness out there right now. I see people going to places sick, endangering others and not caring, stealing supplies and in general just being selfish or astonishingly complacent. I can see this leading towards attitudes like “I don’t have to pay my rent for half my lease term” “I can max out my cc and walk away because government said so”. This will lead to more losses.
Be defensive, but not too.
Be less reactionary. If all really goes wonky, bullion and bullets probably won’t save you anyway.
Be realistic. The world might not ever really be the same. This may not be a v recovery. We weren’t probably being realistic about the market before this all happened anyway.
I was in college during the ‘08 bust so this is my first experience with something of this magnitude. I am grateful for having found FS and was able to learn as much as I have thus far and before this debacle. About 1-1.5 years ago I changed advisors and went from a 95-5 to a 50-50 stock/bond allocation. Last week I couldn’t take it anymore and the fear overcame me, I liquidated my equities. My portfolio is down about 15%.
I work in oil & gas, one thing not everyone may be aware of is the hit the industry is taking in the midst of this. WTI was around $60 at the beginning of the year and closed yesterday around $19, and still dropping. Our industry is getting absolutely destroyed. Juggling the market meltdown and how it as affected my retirement, along with coming to the realization that I will more than likely lose my job in the coming months that I’ve had for almost a decade has been mentally exhausting. Not only will I lose my job, I will most likely not ever get it back since I believe American Oil & Gas is finished, forcing me towards a career change. I had never been to worried about making a future career change but giving the path the economy is heading down my anxiety is starting to tick up.
Financially we are doing ok, I’m well aware better than many. Our house is almost paid off, we have over 50% equity in a rental (Our governor just announced people can’t get evicted during this virus ordeal, inviting all to not pay rent) , and have $125k cash in the bank. But the thought of going jobless in the near future heading into a recession is quite daunting to think about.
I am 33 with a 4 yro, 2yro, and newborn at home. My wife is a part time nurse who was going to quit her job after maternity leave to stay home with our children, but now that all may change as we will not be able to afford health insurance if I lose my job, (we are currently on her insurance, I was going to pick it up cash out of pocket if she left her job, as I work contract)
Sam, I love the optimism and insight. There’s plenty of negativity on the net and in the media. I appreciate this write up, but take no joy in hearing of your families trials.
Hope you and your family stay healthy and safe through all of this.
Financial Samurai says
I’m glad you went 50/50 before the crash. And, I don’t blame you for liquidating your equities given the industry you are in.
Stay well and what a blessing to have your family! Whenever I feel stressed about money, I just spend time with my kids and feel so happy.