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COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Discuss issues related to business, finance, taxes, investments, cost of living in different countries, etc.

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momopi
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COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by momopi »

Whoa, it's been quite an exciting roller coaster over the past couple of months. We had a few people tested positive for COVID-19 at work, with one senior employee of another company in same building passing away. They sent Everyone home so we are all working remotely from home now. Looking at all the panic buys and empty store shelves, it's like a watered down dystopian movie. I was hoping for something like Altered Carbon (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Altered_C ... TV_series) ) future but instead, I got empty toilet paper shelves at Costco. =P Not even Soylent Green, ugh. I used to work for a Mormon company and they convinced me into a Prepper. The many buckets of supplies, including toilet paper came in handy. To support local restaurant business & workers I ordered lunch and dinner deliveries from one place for a month. I hope they stay in business.

Here in Southern California we are in the growth stage of COVID-19 cases. The local Kaiser hospital has isolated ward for COVID-19 patents and setup a drive-in test center in the parking lot (by appointment only). Many local businesses in retail, restaurant, entertainment, etc. are all hosed. Travel, hospitality, luxury sectors are also hosed. Don't expect a lot of people buying new iPhones. Outpatient clinics are also laying people off because patients are avoiding the hospital if possible. Disneyland closed for rest of the year. It's punishing for those IG influencers now as their income dries up, but understandable as their sponsors are all bleeding cash.

For people working in industries that are hosed, the $1200 stimulus cheque won't last long. I work in finance industry and can tell you that loan application and mortgage refi business is going through the roof, with people trying to take money out to pay bills. Insurance industry is also up as many people buy life insurance for themselves and their parents/grandparents. Would not be surprised if some a-holes bought insurance policy on grandpa hoping to cash in. As people's bank account dwindle they will cancel non-necessities (cable TV), call their cell phone providers to switch to lower priced plan, sell stuff on craiglist or nextdoor (https://nextdoor.com) to raise cash. Some have already gotten desperate. 2 guys tried to steal stuff from my contractor's truck in the driveway, scared off by the dog. When confronted they claimed that they were going door to door to sell "organic fertilizer". In Irvine, someone tried to carjack in Post Office parking lot but couldn't figure out how to open Tesla door. Currently the police is not even responding to many calls. So be cautious with your safety, but don't go trigger happy with your CCW either (cops will respond to that one).

Landlords are now having to defer rent payments by months or until next year. But like loans, sooner or later you have to repay the money. If the person or business cannot afford to repay next year they will still go out of business. For the workers the government is looking into allowing them to take money out of 401k accounts, which would probably further depress the stock market. Large critical industries/companies will get big chunks of government bailout money, but may end up with partial government ownership (hello big brother!)

Due to changes in consumer behavior, the entire supply chain and infrastructure is being tossed upside down. Farmers are now throwing away fresh produce as their buyers cancelled and prices fell below cost. If you can obtain and preserve the fresh produce, such as freeze-drying and canning, it might be profitable. But demand for freeze dried foods is through the roof so good luck locating the equipment or facility avail. If you're unemployed there are many opportunities in the new supply chain, logistics and delivery business, but going to work also means being exposed. Amazon is franchising delivery truck business: https://logistics.amazon.com

If you're lucky enough to still have a job, consider increasing your 401k contribution and employee stock purchase (if avail). The current down market is a great opportunity for stock/fund investments. If you have no idea what to buy, instead of individual stocks maybe try S&P 500 ETF like SPY and VOO -- ask your financially savvy family or friends. I setup limit orders on SPY $250-$200 in $5 decrements (250-245-240-235-230-225-220-etc). But who knows, it might dip below $200 later this year and you'd wish you didn't take the advice -- I don't have a crystal ball, so invest at your own risk. If you're reading this and think "you should invest in leveraged ETF and options", you don't need my advice. By all means, buy SSO for the bigger ride. If you enjoy bungee jumping try REIT's. Or save your cash for real estate if you think RE market will crash. Many industries and their stocks are hosed, if you invest in a cruise operator they may go bankrupt. But the last shrimp boat afloat will also catch all the shrimp.

At this time I don't really think anyone knows when this will all blow over, but I know the recovery will take much longer. I expect lawsuits against Beijing for mismanagement of the pandemic and I think Xi would rather negotiate to pay some blood money instead of the less attractive alternative exit career. It's like late Qing dynasty playbook where recipients of the money has vested interest in keeping you in power. But this will open a can of worms once it sets a precedent. If people can sue Beijing for mismanagement of pandemic then they can sue their own government for any perceived mismanagement or inaction (to the pandemic) as well. And unlike Beijing most other countries are not moneybags. Once the precedent has been set, other countries will likely over-react to suspected pandemics because they don't want to be sued, and the resulting economic damage from the over-reaction will be costly.

How will the COVID-19 pandemic affect US election? Don't pay too much attention to all the talking heads. Beijing will blame local officials (sacrificial lambs) for mishandling the pandemic, Trump will try to blame Beijing as much as possible, and Democrats will try to blame Trump for his lack of action earlier on. Let's all point fingers at someone else! But only the voting booth results is the final answer.


Hopefully, people will learn and maintain better sanitation practices from COVID-19. We're fairly lucky that the virus has relatively low fatality rate. But people are getting educated on taking their shoes off when entering the house, wearing a mask in crowded areas (or when you are ill), being more aware of dirty surfaces like ATM buttons, handle bars, door knobs, etc. When COVID-19 blows over, the best thing that can happen is people take these precautions, wash hands, sanitize heavily touched surfaces, wear a mask when they have a cold, etc. and reduce our annual flu deaths.
Last edited by momopi on April 5th, 2020, 9:14 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Winston
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by Winston »

Hi momopi!
Great to see you here again. We have missed you. Hope you hang in there in California.

Too bad you're not here in Taiwan. Everything is running and operating as normal. Nothing is closed really, except for maybe public events.

Why can't the US, which is more advanced than Taiwan in many ways, just do whatever Taiwan did to control the virus? Why is it out of control in the US? Part of me says probably because it's meant to affect the US the most as part of some plan. You can't rule that out Momopi, even if you're anti-conspiracy.

Did you stock up on food? Fortunately, I'm sure you have a lot of savings in the bank to last you for a long time, no matter how long this lasts.

I think the whole thing will blow over soon, since here in Asia, in Japan, Taiwan and China, things are already back to normal. Unless of course, the powers that be in the US want it to go longer. You gotta remember that elites are control freaks and will no doubt take advantage of this opportunity to exercise more controls, whether they planned this or not.

Best of luck to you and your family.
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Yohan
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by Yohan »

Winston wrote:
April 5th, 2020, 9:08 pm

..... in Taiwan. Everything is running and operating as normal. Nothing is closed really, except for maybe public events.

Why can't the US, which is more advanced than Taiwan in many ways, just do whatever Taiwan did to control the virus?

.....

I think the whole thing will blow over soon, since here in Asia, in Japan, Taiwan and China, things are already back to normal.
It's relative, we here in Japan are not back to normal, but I think we are doing much better than USA, UK or EU.

Taiwan has only a few cases.

South Korea has many infected people, over 10.000, however about 6600 already recovered, about 190 patients died.

South Korea made a remarkable good response to the virus threat, as it was facing various virus infections in the past and it has very good medical emergency readiness, reacting quickly.

I think it is because South Korea has emergency laws and its government is acting now as a police state, checking on people and their movements
nonstop.

South Korea has surprisingly plenty of medical materials in stock like high professional protective clothes for medical staff in case of chemical warfare.

There are many medical doctors and nurses on duty who belong to military medical facilities. They can take in a huge number of infected patients.
Military medical staff, doctors and nurses are kept like prisoners, same as their patients, they all cannot leave the hospitals too. Totally isolated.

-----

Here in Japan, it's so 50/50. Despite there are emergency laws, the Japanese government does not have such a special right to force people into such a strict isolation as in South Korea, but medical facilities are also top class.
Japan remains more or less closed for international arrivals from certain regions.

So far in all Japan there are about 4000 known cases, of them about 600 recovered and 90 died.

Infected patients vary by region. Most cases are in the few large international industrial cities, but not in rural areas.
In the province where I am living - about 2 million people totally and in the only one larger city of 800.000 people, so far only 11 cases are confirmed. For me and all others there is little difference to see in our daily life. There are no restrictions.

In Tokyo and some other cities, it is recommended but not enforced, to close down events, disco, bars, cinemas, major large department stores, universities are asking students to stay and study at home and connecting to the university online live by internet, schools for children are anyway still closed because of spring vacation.

We will see, the future remains still unclear. We have to be patient and wait....that's all I can report from Japan.
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Cornfed
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by Cornfed »

OK, but lets say the only thing you have in this world is a few thousand dollars in the bank and a car, what would you advise spending that few thousand dollars on at this time?
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Shemp
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by Shemp »

Cornfed wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 5:45 am
OK, but lets say the only thing you have in this world is a few thousand dollars in the bank and a car, what would you advise spending that few thousand dollars on at this time?
On something that will enable you to earn more money. Could be as simple as enough gasoline in the car to drive to a job interview.
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Cornfed
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by Cornfed »

Shemp wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 8:06 am
Cornfed wrote:
April 7th, 2020, 5:45 am
OK, but lets say the only thing you have in this world is a few thousand dollars in the bank and a car, what would you advise spending that few thousand dollars on at this time?
On something that will enable you to earn more money. Could be as simple as enough gasoline in the car to drive to a job interview.
Eh, there is a lockdown here. I am trying to be serious.
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Winston
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by Winston »

Momopi,
You said some of your coworkers at work got the coronavirus, and one even died. Did you know them? Did you come into contact with them? If so, aren't you at risk for being infected too? Do you have any symptoms? Even if you don't, couldn't you infect your family too?

You are lucky they let you take your work home and do it online. Not everyone can do that. Depends on the nature of your work I guess.
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HappyGuy
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Re: COVID-19 risks and opportunities

Post by HappyGuy »

The hysteria provides some opportunities to watch stupid people in action




Apr 3, 2020 Who STOLE all the masks?

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HappyGuy
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Animals and nature recovering from the Corona lockdowns

Post by HappyGuy »

Apr 23, 2020
Thailand sees record sea turtle hatchlings as coronavirus pandemic clears tourists from beaches

"Happier abroad"? Only true men find happiness
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