It’s Monday, March 16, 2020, and what a wild ride these last couple of weeks have been!
Any hope of containing the corona virus outbreak is seemingly futile. If you own stocks, you’re probably tearing your hair out right about now. If you’re in a high-risk category for complications due to the sickness, then you’ve probably got even more to be worried about.
On top of all that, the world’s economies are going to take a hit and fall into recession because of this microscopic pest.
With all this commotion, you may be wondering if it’s time to paint lambs blood over your front doors.
So what can seniors do?
Turns out, there are some bright spots for those willing to make the most of a scary situation.
Looking On The Bright Side
A couple of weeks ago, when this virus hit, the mortgage market became very attractive. 15 and 30 year mortgages on homes got as low as 2.5-2.8%. That’s barely enough to keep up with inflation!
These rates have since bounced back into the 3% ranges, and who knows what will happen this week with the Fed cutting its rates to 0. Its funny how we were expecting rates to start climbing over the last couple of years, now we expect them to remain down for some time.
Chances are that rates in the 2% range will remain rare, but if they hold within the 3% range, then this is an excellent time to buy a house.
In Utah, the housing market looks to remain strong. There is still plenty of pent-up demand and not enough homes being built to satisfy that demand. We may be starting into a recession, but overall, we’re in a much better position than we were back in 2007/2008. I would predict that this will be more mild even than the recession of 2001.
Considering that some homebuilders, especially us, are offering some deals on ready to move-in homes right now, this is definitely a buyers market.
While it does seem like a nasty blow to the stock market right now, keep in mind that these are the times that make people a lot of money. If you’ve ridden this market all the way down, history shows that eventually the market will come back.
If you have money to invest, then there will be some really good deals to be had in the stock market. I defer to Warren Buffet when it comes to my own investments. If you find a company at a price you know is good, don’t try and time the market, just buy at that really good deal and hold long term. A deal is a deal, and this too will pass.
Its not all about the money
Though it is true, recessions and downs in the markets can provide some interesting opportunities for those who are able to take advantage of them, there are some real concerns that should be addressed.
Since we cater to the 55+ market, some of our customers might be in a high-risk category for complications due to this virus.
Since we highly encourage active and social lifestyles, we feel it important to urge extra caution at this time. It’s unlikely that our residents will escape this pandemic, even if they decide to be completely anti-social. It’s likely going to keep spreading and exposing a lot of people. From what we’ve heard, the goal now is to slow it down, so that the health care system doesn’t get overwhelmed all at once.
Because of this, we ask you to take a close look at yourself and your neighbors. Even if you think that you’re fine weathering the virus, keep your neighbors in mind. If you’ve been around people who’ve been sick, even if you’re not showing symptoms yet, please exercise a little more caution around those most vulnerable.
On our part, we’ve met with some residents and decided that our monthly potlucks should also be postponed until this is a little more under control.
We all know proper hygiene. Wash your hands with hot soap and water. This is much more effective than wet wipes and hand sanitizer (which have become scarce, anyway). Since Covid 19 is airborn, limit visits with at risk individuals, and if you are an at-risk individual, please be extra careful. It’s not possible or practical to completely quarantine ourselves till this passes, but please take necessary steps to remain safe.
Luckily, high-risk individuals have better options for staying safe at this time than ever before, especially in our 55+ communities. Since our communities are so friendly, and everyone has been around the block a few times with hardships and other things, we like to think that those living in our communities are fairly level-headed. With this wisdom, often comes compassion.
Among the most crowded places to visit right now are the grocery stores. If you are high risk, and need help with groceries or other needs, check with your neighbors. There are plenty of friendly people in our communities who are healthy and active, and of a lower risk, who would be thrilled to do you a service.
Luckily the hording is settling down too, so grocery stores will be able to catch up on their stock.
Other options are to use online delivery services. Places like Amazon and Walmart can make it so that you rarely have to even visit the grocery stores. Things like social media can also help provide social interaction, which, though it will never fill the need for actual personal interaction, it can make things easier.
With every big pharmacy chasing vaccines for this, it shouldn’t be long before this whole thing is behind us. We dealt with this before when we had Swine Flu, Bird Flu, Zika Virus, and West Nile. We’ll get through this also. Until then, be careful, and take care of yourselves.
Disclaimer: We are not financial or health experts. Please consult your financial advisor before taking any action in the stock market. Also, please defer to experts on public health. The comments expressed here are merely the opinions of the author and are not to be construed as definitive advice.