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Gosh, has it really been over 12 months since an unseen, unheard, unknown virus caused never-before-experienced levels of panic and terror?
It now seems oh so long ago but 2020 will forever be remembered as the year in which the world, as we know it – changed.
Mask wearing, travel bans, working from home – these phrases all entered our colloquial mainstream.
I thought it best to revisit some of the lessons which I have learnt from those turbulent days of March and April 2020, more so as a reminder for myself than anything else.
In no particular order, here goes…
Never underestimate the power of the herd. Not just in investing but in literally anything.
The most obvious image at the forefront is the empty shelves of toilet paper in our supermarkets.
We laugh back on it now at the lunacy of such an event (why toilet paper of all things?)
However, it just shows how dominant herd mentality truly is.
99.99% of the time we live separate lives to one another – but 0.01% of the time, everyone’s stars align.
And this causes chaos.
Sentiment is just as powerful.
It’s one thing to feel sorry for strangers on TV, suffering from an unknown disease.
It’s quite another when the same disease affects your entire family.
Thus, the biggest sentiment throughout 2020, is how to survive?
Survival is the most basic of human instincts.
In 2020, we saw the good, the bad and the ugly of human nature.
These natures all manifested through the will to survive to protect ourselves and our loved ones.
Speaking of the good, COVID-19 has spurred some unbelievable inventions and innovations, across multi-faceted disciplines.
From medicine, to finance, to governance, to technology, back to science.
Every industry has been touched by COVID-19, with its timely reminder to evolve.
Through the ages, the best inventions were bred from necessity – fire (to survive), the wheel (to move), the light bulb (to see), the internet (to connect).
I wonder what ground-breaking inventions and innovations COVID-19 will spring forth in the coming years?
It was also an unprecedented time for those in government.
For the first time in a long while, people looked to them to actually lead.
And so we saw two main government policies to come out of this, regarding how to deal with a pandemic.
a) Lockdowns. The virus spreads through human contact. No contact, no spreads.
b) Throw money. To keep economies afloat, trillions were thrown into it. This is the main playbook moving forward.
There will be more pandemics and economic crises in the future, I’d be expecting more of the same.
COVID-19 also cut through between the haves and have-nots.
Traditional blue-collar jobs and those lower paid were decimated.
Most white collar and services jobs however, have arguably come out better.
And it’s also when the phrase “work-from-home” entered our vernacular.
Many employers too, have realized that productivity can be consistent without the need for an office space.
Personally, I’m chuffed that the 4-Hour Workweek has come alive with my being able to work from anywhere.
Whenever there is increased market volatility, there is a corresponding increase in market noise.
Never more apparent than during the craziness of March and April.
It’s insanely hard to filter through the noise and determine what your next move would be.
Everyone quotes March 23rd as the low point in the market. But I remember on March 23rd 2020, no one announced that it was the time to go ALL IN.
In fact, I remember thinking the central bank commitment was probably not enough.
It’s so easy to say “be greedy when others are fearful, and fearful when others are greedy” when the skies are blue – but to continue buying when your portfolio is bleeding profusely, that takes proverbial melons.
I look back on the events that transpired 12 months ago and think thank GOODNESS, 2021 has started off slowly.
I don’t think I’d be able to handle much more.
And it’s so pleasing to see that vaccines have sprung up and that case numbers are low.
It’s also increasingly likely international borders will be (tentatively) back open soon.
But I guess, as a history buff, the biggest lesson for me – is that history is never as exciting as experiencing it first hand.
Bring on the roaring 20’s!
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