Strange times

This week has been one of the most strange we’ve seen in the UK, which considering the fiasco surrounding Brexit is saying something!

I was in a pub after a meeting on Thursday and the TV was on BBC news showing the empty podium and BREAKING across the bottom of the screen. Everyone in the pub was visibly anticipating the announcement. So much so, that the TV volume was put up and the entire pub went silent. Some people who were talking were shushed.

Boris started talking and announced that many people were going to die and that we can expect things to get worse from the Corona Virus in the coming weeks. We had failed to contain the virus and now it was a matter of delaying the spread so our illustrious NHS may survive.

I have never seen anything like it.

I’m also regular on Reddit and people have been talking about how worried they were about losing their income. The people ranged from waiters and kitchen staff in restaurants which will surely be affected, to an airline pilot worried about his whole company going under.

All these people were worried about paying their debts or rents.

I must admit, it suddenly occurred to me that I was in a very lucky position. Although after losing £28k on my investments (locked in my pension) in two weeks, I am not really worried about my finances. I now have 3 months of expenses in a cash savings account. I think once you have achieved this and it becomes normal to you, you begin to think it is normal in wider society. It is clear from this CONVID 19 emergency, which is one I did not foresee using my emergency fund for, that it is unusual to be in such a position.

One year ago, I would have been in the same position as the people on Reddit who were understandably anxious. I had basically zero savings and a huge amount of loans. Thank God I started this FIRE thing back then!

I’m not saying everything will be fine as this is just the beginning and no one knows how it is going to go, but it lets me focus on the important things like my health and that of my girlfriend and our families. Finances, for now, are not a concern.

There is no reason to stop building that fund and I am now going to put as much as possible into my emergency fund for now as we just don’t know where this is heading. I can always dump it into the stock market in a few month time when I’m more sure I won’t need it, but for now, I’m holding fire on investing and saving cash.

It should be noted that I am not panic buying, but fortuitously have 9 toilet rolls in the house. Although Aldi and the Co-op were out, I don’t think there is anything to panic about in that department. Good luck buying pasta though!

2 thoughts on “Strange times

  1. We’ve got two months of supplies and this time of year I’m catching lots of fish. We’ve lost over 400k USD at last count but that’s not significant to us at this point in our financial journey. We are retired, our charity boards are meeting by phone and I skipped our friend’s big St. Pat party last night and church meetings this morning, listened to church on the radio live. I can still run, play tennis and fish outdoors without getting too close to others so self isolation isn’t much different from normal life. We live on two acres with only one neighbor and hundreds of acres of wooded wetlands around us. Our emergency fund cash bucket is good for ten years of expenses. Life is very normal here for us in rural USA. But it’s going to be a strain for people with sketchy or travel and entertainment job situations, kids and bills to pay. And I think city life is maybe scarier since the stores can’t keep stocked shelves. That’s less of a problem here.

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