Friday, 20 March 2020

Crisis wipe out your winnings? Be wise rather than clever!

Due to the school Holidays, I took leave for a few days to be with all my kids. Initial plan is to go several places for excursions and go to nice restaurants, but due to the Covid-19 outbreak, we decide to stay at home. Health above everything! End of the day, the priority is to be with the kids. Hence, “where” is not so important. It is so heart-warming and joyful to see them playing together filling the house with laughers. But it can be also frustrating with a totally messy house and lots of whining when they do their snatching of toys. 

Two important takeaways:

1) Priority – Although not according to plan, but when we take leave, the priority is to be with kids, and we achieve this priority.  

2) Ups and Downs – even when priority is met, it will never be always smooth sailing. There will always be up and down, be it in life or in stock market. We have to face it with preparations and the right action with a positive attitude. 

I always said, "If you are doing good, do not be too proud and help those who are not doing well; if you are doing badly, do not be too sad and stay positive. Help will come without you even thinking.  Be patient!"

Bible Genesis 41: Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream

In the Bible Genesis Chapter 41; The Egypt King Pharaoh has a dream of 7 fine and well-fed fat cows being chased and eaten by 7 very poor, ugly and gaunt cows. In another dream, he also saw seven heads came up on one stalk, full and good. Then behold, seven heads withered, thin and destroyed by the east wind. The 7 thin heads then devoured the 7 good heads. So the dream was repeated to Pharaoh twice, because the thing is established by God, and God will make it happen shortly.

Joseph, the humble and Holy man of God, interpreted that both dreams have the same meaning. The 7 good cows or heads are 7 years of great plenty, and the 7 ugly and thin heads are 7 years of famine. And the plenty will be forgotten because the famine will deplete the land.

Crisis getting worst each time

Uncle blogger CW mentioned the last few BIG crashes took place 11 years each time. It is a very good analogy.
·       1987 Black Monday October crash.
·       1998 Asian Financial Crisis
·       2009 Great Financial Crisis
·       2020 Corona Virus Crisis
·       Xxxx Global currency Crisis?

More importantly to me is not how long between major crashes, but the magnitude of the crash and its impact become worse each time.

1987 crash impacted lesser countries. Mainly US and the more developed one and did not last too long. 1998 crash impacted a much larger population in Asia. 2009 GFC impacted all major global economies and is one of the worst since the great depression. This Covid-19 induced crash has now spread to almost all the countries in the world. The world cannot cope with this invisible enemy. Not just more lives will be lost, but more jobs will be lost.

The global economy does not look good. The governments intervened by introducing stimulus package to bail out companies. Where do you think the debt stricken US or EU are going to get the money to support the economies? Are the governments really that rich?

The answer: Print and Print and Print more money.

But interest rate is already so low, how to lower further? The next worst thing, will be helicopter money which will lead to Hyper-inflation! Covid-19 is scary and cause economies to crash. But if there is a global currency crisis, the entire global monetary system will collapse. It is then likely to lead to Great Depression 2.0 and the last thing we want, WW3.

Conclusion

It is naïve to think that you are a capable investor when the market is good, thinking that your portfolio will just slope upwards all the time, and how good your financial journey will be. Remembering that the Crisis will be like the Ugly cows that can eat up all your winnings once and for all.

A lot about investment is not just tangible analytical skills, but also the psychological part soft skills. This requires life-experience (or exposure) and lots of reading, which gives us wisdom. With wisdom, we will not be conceited, stay humble, be prepared and be patience for the long-term reward, which most lack. 

Above all, it is even more naïve to put all priority and time on the financial journey. Our life journey is more important. There are relationships and family to be established, friends to make, mountains to climb, rivers to walk etc. All of these requires wisdom and good health, which I believe derives from true righteous living and putting the trust and faith on the right thing!

In the Bible, Joseph suffered a great deal in the early part of his life. He was betrayed by his brothers and was sold as slave. Even when he did well as a servant, he was falsely accused by his master's wife and was put to jail. But all is not lost even when he was in jail. He continue to put faith in God, live righteously without sins and exudes exceptional wisdom. Joseph was release out of jail because God allowed him to rightly interpret the dream for Pharaoh. Eventually Joseph not only become the Prime Minister but also reconcile with his family by forgiving his brothers who sold him as slave. He also got married and led a wonderful life with his life experiences and wisdom. 

If you are clever, you make a lot of money. But if you are wise, you make the most out of life!

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