Smells Like Retirement and This Damn Virus

Got to admit, I never saw nor planned for anything like this Corona Virus thing.  As I write this, I have been home with my wife for about a month.  We go out to get food, to walk or run three miles a day…and that is about it.  Never experienced anything like this…bet you haven’t either.  Oh…and I lost about a third of my wealth in the past few weeks…but have already made up about half of that loss.  No telling what is still ahead, health wise and wealth wise.  For now…it is all ok…hope the same for you.

This is really the first time in my entire life that I have had the time to really think about things…and to get after some things that I have long put off.  First thing I did was to write a new book…a book that has been running around inside my head for quite some time.  It has already been professionally edited and it is on way to be published.  More about that down the road.

I have also been having at the organizing I have long promised myself I would do.  Making good progress at it…lots more to do.

The third thing I’ve done is to re-establish some great habits that I lost somewhere along the way.  I have been getting eight hours sleep a night.  I lift weights every day.  I stretch each day.  Linda and I walk or run three miles or more each day…staying away from others as we do so. Been getting more sun than I am use to (I have a tendency for skin cancer so have to be careful about that one).  Have kept my weight at what the doctors tell me is an ideal weight for me.  Adding in proper vitamins and supplements on a daily basis.  Been relaxing in the pool with Linda a time or two a day…and we are well aware how lucky we are to have a pool.

I’ve been all over my stock market equity positions to make sure I am well positioned for whatever comes next.  Pulled enough cash out to either use as needed or bottom feed if I can actually figure out what the bottom might be for the stock market…I suspect there will be several…so I am buying each time I see significant drops and buying equities I have always wanted but thought were just too high priced before the big recent drop.  By the way…I think I really have bought some bargains so far, but it is often like trying to catch a falling knife.  I managed to buy two positions that then fell so far that I am now holding them with significant losses…so, like all portfolios, some good news and some not so good.

I had recently been in China and noticed a company there that was apparently doing great.  I bought a bunch of their stock…Luckin Coffee (LK).  A lot of their stock.  Well, that has turned into a disaster.  They have admitted accounting fraud and the stock lost nearly 90%…and as of this writing they have been suspended from the stock exchange until questions are answered.  I am not a stock market nor international finance genius, so decided in this time of needed caution to be very cautious when it comes to China.  I had a bunch of other China based stocks and sold them all.  When I can finally get convinced that they are providing truthful data to the world, I will be happy to re-invest.  For now…they scared me off.  By the way, if you have never been to China, you would not believe the growth curve they are on…building everywhere at rapid pace.  I would love to be able to invest in their future…just need to be able to do so confidently.

So…learned that lesson the hard way.  However, the virus has taught me several other lessons.  I was not adequately prepared for this lock down.  I was not hugely unprepared, but I could have done better.  Additionally, I did not get out of the starting blocks quickly enough when there was enough information on the table for me to look at and decide to act first and fast.  I ended up acting second and slowly.  It has all worked out in the end, but at the cost of worry and concern and some shortages in the pantry.  The good news…we’ve done no hoarding and that Spam in the back of the pantry will finally be put to use.

This next thing I am going to say is personal and has nothing what-so-ever to do with the friends, family or fellow citizens of the world that are suffering from or who have died from this horrible disease. Their situation breaks my heart and I pray for them.  I feel the same way for those who now have no job and no way to pay their bills.  However, outside of those obvious major league downsides…what I have found is that I needed this time out.  No, I don’t like having my freedom heavily restricted.  Don’t like that we had to shut down our business (while still paying rent and other expenses).  Hate that we can not travel.  But it has brought about a calm in me that I have never experienced.  I am thinking better than ever.  I feel renewed (and a bit scared and concerned like most of the rest of the world).  I am more thankful than ever.  My wife and I have been married for 50 years and I doubt we have ever had a month with fewer disagreements.  I also see clearly how our public officials have an almost impossible job to do and how anything anyone does on either side of the political fence is immediately slammed by the other side for political reasons.  It is painfully clear that our future politicians need to pass one test they are never given…can they work well with others?  We need Washington and all other political venues pointed in one direction right now and united for the good of the people who put them in office…and I sure hope that happens.  So far, not so much.

So I will end this rambling by saying this…no matter how bad this gets…and it has gotten really bad really quick already…we will all be best served by making the best of a bad situation.  It is a time for getting creative, organizing ourselves in a way that makes the future easier for us and doing all we can to stay healthy.  It is a time to be quick to help those who need our help.  It is also a time to insist that our elected officials work together for the good of all of us, so you and I can look at our elected officials with pride and appreciation instead of disgust and anger.

Good luck to you and to all of us.  Quite the surprise for one and all…and a wake up call for myself and many.  Aloha.