March 2020 Update – Coronavirus??

It’s March 21, 2020 and it feels like the world is on fire. Coronavirus has received to much press over the last few weeks it’s insane. My investment portfolio has taken such a huge hit. Things are happening at my company that make me wonder what’s going to be happening down the line.

My honest belief is that we can only control so many things over the course of a day. We should focus on maximizing our time and adapting as best we can. 24 hours are in a day, work usually will take 8-10 of them, sleeping roughly 8 hours. So that leaves 8 good hours to become Superman and try to accomplish everything else.

Some days over the past month I’ve been fairly amazing at this. Work 8 hours, commute an hr 20 minutes, go to the gym, make dinner, walk the dog, take an hour to let things wind down and be done with it. Others like the last week have been especially challenging.

In the last 2 weeks here are some of the things that have gone down that direct or indirectly affect me.
1. Employer is closing some of our locations permanently, resulting in hundreds of jobs being lost. That’s pre-coronavirus closures.
2. Our company temporarily closing all of its stores directly as a result of COVID-19, hopefully for only 2 weeks but I wonder if it will be longer.
3. My 401k/ Roth IRA took a huge hit dropping from a combined total high last month of $80k down to $55k currently. The $25k drop is a lot to swallow. I also have seen videos about the creash of 1987, lived through 2001, worked in banking during 2008/2009. None of this is too surprising. I know it will pass at some point. Last Monday the Dow dropped 3000 points, the highest single day point drop ever and highest % drop since 1987.
4. Two of my kickball friends were recently hospitalized. They’re getting tested for the Coronavirus after one developed a fever and was likely exposed to it. I hope the healthier one is safe and they both test negative. Doesn’t look super promising now though.
5. Bars, restaurants, many retail establishments in the state are just flat out closed.
6. Working from home – Not quite used to it. really, it’s been an adjustment for real. 8 days in so far, no end in sight. They say another week but my gut tells me it’s going to be a lot longer. I really need a vacation soon, have almost 3 weeks of time to use.
7. Oil is at record low prices. I hear it’s due to a pricing war between the Saudis and the Russians. Russia wants to get the price of oil down to hurt US shale / fracking companies that are heavily leveraged by debt. Gas in some states is below $1.00 in certain states. Without a 32 mile round trip drive each day, a tank of gas could easily lasting me 3 weeks.
8. The Federal Reserve lowered interest rates again, this time to .2%, on Jan 30th it was 1.6%. That’s less than 2 months we saw a huge drop. Great if you’re buying a house but the prices of those are expected to plummet next.
9. My home state of New York is getting a whole lot of attention right now related to the Coronavirus. On one hand they are testing more people than most other states in the nation and in some cases more than other countries. The downside is the total number of positive cases is also a lot higher. I’m worried about my relatives who either are or are close to being senior citizens.
10. Two people I know in the food service industry lost their jobs, one got a personal call from the CEO. Another is a bartender / gogo dancer and works a bunch of side jobs as he gets his acting career off the ground. I also wonder about two people I know in the airline industry. One for American and another for Southwest. These are turbulent times.

There are no shortages of conspiracy theorists who think this is all orchestrated by the ultra wealthy to acquire assets at a steeply low price. Others think it’s going to be the end of life in the United States for a while. One of my friends was trying to get me to drive cross country to be with other people in the event of a state or area-wide quarantine. Logistically it just didn’t make sense for me to drive 24-26 hours each way with a dog while still having day job responsibilities.

So onto my financial update….

As of 3/21/2020:
401k: $52,533.78
Roth IRA: $3,193.40
HSA: $651.46
Total Retirement: $56,378.64

Car Loan: $3,756.09
Car Warranty: $129.25
iPhone 11 Pro: $1,011.04
Credit Card: $1,028.33
Total Debt: $5,924.71

Up to this date I haven’t made any significant changes to my investment portfolio. My initial thought was to contribute in my 401k only up to the match and boost my emergency fund or pay down debts. I haven’t graduated to that point yet. If I start having doubt of my future employment, this could definitely change.

Timing of things is always very interesting. As I write this I’m watching a video from Joseph Carlson – Divident Cuts: My Response. One of the images in about 21:15 shows the length of time of recoveries from collapse.
1987 – Black Monday – 22 Months (-36% 2 Month decline)
2001-2001 – Post 9/11 Attaches – 48 Months (-38% 33 Month decline)
2007-2008 – Financial crisis – 48 Months (-54% 17 Month decline)
I wouldn’t call it greed, but there is definitely a part of me that likes to think mathetmatically.

Benefits of continuing my current path:
1. Buy stocks at a huge discount / use dollar cost averaging in my favor
2. Max out my 401k contribution limit for Tax Year 2020
3. Make up for lost time in a way since I waited until 30 until I started this current investment portfolio. Could’ve done it in my 20s but I was broke.

Downsides to current path:
1. Almost no emergency fund savings – I do have things I can sell quickly for cash like Camera, iPad, high end laptop if needed. Plus I have access to several lines of credit.
2. Still have car payment obligations outstanding in the event of a job loss. $545/mo is still a big chunk of my disposable income right now. If I were to contribute only up to the match the car payment would be gone in 3 months.
3. Not saving for moving. I don’t really like my apartment complex much. It’s familiar but it’s also old. My neighbor just moved after being here a year. Every other place I’ve reviewed is either super congested, way too expensive, not particularly safe, or has a lot of bad reviews.
4. Not saving for a house. If I ever want to buy again I will need help with a down payment. Hard to put any money aside for that currently. Plus thinking things are going to drop a bit in the coming month.

There are also rumors that we are going to be getting checks from the Federal government based on our income in 2018. I’m not really one to ask for a handout but definitely would use that money wisely. Most likely an emergency fund since $140 isn’t cutting it.

One day I hope to be able to look back on this perid and laugh about it. Right now we aren’t there yet. I’m hopeful though, have seen so many outpourings of support to one another online. I do work almost 7 days a week now in some capacity. Becoming as indispensable as possible and hope that helps a little more with job security. My schedule is too irregular for me to get a 2nd W-2 type job. Random gigs on the other hand would be a definite possibility. Or generating more content / finding a way to monitize it. Shit, even $100/wk would be something.

I’m up to my 13th Debt Free Alpha video on YouTube, published a few days ago. Trying to do 1 video per week and improve how I present information. Whenever I rush them the quality is really really bad, but I’m still learning.

So my readers I ask you this question. How has the economic downtown / coronavirus impacted you? What are you afraid of? What are you excited about? Know anyone severely impacted?

*Off-topic* – I was recently watching a video by Alex Becker, (Why Making Money Online Is Bull%^@! he was speaking about why most people don’t have what it takes to become an entrepreneur.

One of the key takeaways was most people who work for someone else give that employer the hours where their mind is the sharpest.

Another was that their dopamine levels are all fucked up. Essentially being addicted to their phone, video games, and other things that give them a quick dopamine hit but don’t really move their lives forward. A lot of people who are successful in business are driven by pain, suffering, and fear.

The other one that resonated with me was that most people think they don’t have the skills needed to succeed in business instead of focusing on the right output quickly and consistently over time. Trying to be mindful of strategies that will help me become a six-figure income level and get me to the next level in terms of lifestyle.