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Saturday, May 23

Normalcy is Returning. I See Opportunities...

Every few years the world experiences an unusual event causing society to believe things have permanently changed.  Each of us forms our own unique perspective about these things that shapes our lives.

During my adult life these are the events I remember:

The Internet

My freshman year of college I took a creative writing class.  It was in this class that I first experienced the Internet.  There wasn't much to do online just yet, but I didn't know that then.  Dial-up Internet was all we had, and we didn't know how slow it really was.  AOL chat rooms.  The familiar "You've Got Mail" after connecting to the service.  Being able to read the news online.  Who can argue that this technology that has only been commercially viable for 25 years would change our lives in so many ways?  Today, we watch TV over the Internet, manage our finances online, and shop for groceries, all from the comfort of home.

The Dot-com Bubble

This was the first time I lost money in the stock market.  Like many other investors, I got caught up in rising prices.  I remember a story on the news about Cisco Systems becoming the most valuable company in the world.  $500 Billion market value.  I wanted in and pretty much bought at the very top.  I also bought stock in a defunct operating system and who knows what else.  From the crash I learned invaluable lessons.  I learned that you should never overpay for something.  Patient investors, and even consumers for that matter, will be rewarded... eventually.  I discovered Warren Buffett during this time.  In the grand scheme of things, the money I lost in 2000 was a cheap education that has served me well.  


A terrorist attack on our soil, killing thousands while exposing weak links in our security.  Air travel was grounded.  Stock markets closed.  We were at war.  How did this affect me?  In truth, it barely did.  You see, everyone has a unique perspective in life, and the things going on in mine ensured that 9/11 was barely more than an interesting story on the nightly news.  Not meaning to be insensitive, just pointing out how different people perceive events in their own way.  Within a few weeks of 9/11, and totally unrelated to this tragedy, my life was basically starting over.  I had gone through a traumatic experience and had a renewed hope for what was possible.  Within a year of 9/11 my home situation changed, I had a new job, I was back in school with a new major, I lost my father.  

The Housing Foreclosure Crisis and Recession 

I lost my job during this period.  That's the first thing that comes to mind.  It was somewhat related to and caused by the crisis.  This was also the peak of when I was purchasing foreclosed homes and turning them into rental properties.  I started blogging about my frugal life.  We opened a restaurant.


Relatively speaking, this one has affected basically everyone.  It's the first time in modern history a health scare has shut down the economy, quarantined nearly the entire world, and brought about Depression-era unemployment in a matter of weeks.

How I'm Taking Advantage of the Pandemic

We as a society are resilient.  We bounce back, even if things aren't exactly the same.  After 9/11, the way we fly changed.  But with TSA Precheck and a good knowledge of the rules, it's barely an inconvenience.  After the 2008 crisis, housing recovered. 

There are opportunities for those of us who can see beyond today. 

  • In the stock market, certain sectors have been negatively affected.  I invested a significant sum of money into Vereit.  It's a stock I've owned for years, and it has been cut in half in the last few months.  The company owns single tenant properties, mostly retail.  Think Walgreens, Dollar General, and casual dining restaurants.  They don't own malls or shopping centers, which I think are going to struggle.  Sure, things are going to be rough this year.  But my money is on a recovery.  
  • I am reevaluating my career.  I've been working in the meeting industry since 2012.  There are some things I like about it, but I've never been passionate about the work.  Since this industry will struggle for the foreseeable future, now's the chance to consider something else.
  • I'm looking for opportunities to save money.  The rental car industry is struggling - Hertz just filed for bankruptcy.  I think used cars will be cheaper and plan to buy one soon.  If the housing market also goes down (I don't know that it will), I'd like us to move back closer to the Airbnb.  I just booked a short getaway to Las Vegas.  I'll blog later about how we're saving money.  I'm also looking at cruises.  Now's the time to book a cheap cruise!
I'm choosing to see the opportunities in our current environment, not just the problems.  How can you take advantage of the situation?


  1. Market drop makes it more favorable to convert shares from Tradition IRA to Roth IRA. I am keeping my eyes open for "deals" - if prices are right, I would consider buying/doing things that are more of a want than a need - like bathroom remodel, etc.

    1. I converted to a Roth several years ago, but definitely an opportunity if your account has lost value. I'd really like labor costs for home remodeling to go down in my area. There's a lot of projects I'd prefer to hire out if prices were more reasonable.