Increasing the odds

In the world of finance, we have many strategies, many different financial instruments, and thousands of advisors who will be telling you to have a unique way of making a fortune. Some might be the right people with the right tools. Sometimes. Other tools or people can be wrong, are known to be flawed, or come down to a pure gamble.

Every investor has the opportunity to try out all these different ideas, tools, and strategies, as long as he or she has the money to do so, and of course, if he or she is willing to take the risk. But if you don’t see yourself in this category, there is still a way to become an investor. A successful one. And it’s surprisingly simple. No one else put it better than Warren Buffett:

“It’s far better to buy a wonderful company at a fair price than a fair company at a wonderful price.”

While the context of this quote was referring to the topic of value investing, it still includes a simple message: When you invest, you should focus on buying great companies at a fair price.

This simple formula was the reason for Buffett’s success. There are of course a few more points to it, and it all doesn’t guarantee that you will become another super-rich person. But most of these rules are nothing else but common knowledge and by following them you will significantly improve your opportunity to do financially better.

So when I advise investing, I am not promising anybody to become rich. Instead, I am promising to increase the odds. By a large margin.

Increasing your financial well-being without investments puts you back at the odds of a lottery win. That’s 1 in 13,983,816 (according to Google). Now it’s hard to put a number on the odds of becoming rich through investments, but history and statistics put them significantly higher than that. I recommend here a short read to put it a little better into perspective. Better than I could write it here on a lazy Sunday afternoon.

So the message of this post is: When you invest, don’t do it for the promise of becoming rich. Do it for the purpose of increasing your odds to improve your financial well-being. That’s why investing is for everyone.

Keeping things simple

For humans, the world is full of problems and all of these problems require some kind of a solution. The good news is that we as a species already accumulated a vast range of knowledge about most of our every-day problems, and how to solve them.

The bad news is that humans are not only slow learners with inconsistent memory functions. We are also easy to be influenced by others, and unfortunately, these “others” don’t always have our best interests at heart.

Let’s take a look at the concept of investing. As I wrote in my to date most popular article “Nobody wants to get rich slowly“, investing in the stock market is a fairly easy and straightforward process. The modern tools that we have at our disposal, namely easy access to information via the internet, access to the stock market, and to the right products (like ETFs), can help everybody becoming a successful investor.

But of course, everything simple can also be made more complicated. The world of investors today is not only about buying and selling stocks and ETFs, but the financial industry has added countless additional products to the mix. From FOREX trading to CFDs, short-selling, and BitCoins. Things can get pretty complicated.

Keeping things simple

I invest in single stocks and in ETFs only. I don’t trade with foreign currencies, I don’t put bets on the futures market, I don’t purchase digital coins, and I don’t engage in short-selling. Am I losing some opportunities along the way? Possibly. Does it bother me? Not a bit.

I like to keep things simple, and investing per se is a simple process. I do my research and then I purchase shares of a company that I believe has a bright future ahead. If I can’t find enough information about a specific company or can’t focus on one, I will look for an ETF that might cover that specific market group, and I invest in that ETF. That’s it.

It’s pretty rare that I sell any stock unless it made me a significant profit. Even then, I won’t sell the whole position, but probably only some part to free up cash and to buy the next stock or ETF.

My target is to grow my portfolio and to build up my stream of passive income via dividends. Ultimately I want to retire with sufficient passive income to not care about any government money or support from others. I want to be financially free and independent, and I still have plenty of years ahead of me to get there. History taught us that investing in stocks is the single easiest, most reliable process to reach this target.

Impatience and greed

But of course, there are some obstacles along the way, and the biggest ones are our own emotions, namely the feelings of impatience and greed.

Most companies don’t grow overnight, and the perspective of waiting for 2, 3, 5, or even 10 years for a breakthrough and the ultimate success is not easy for everyone. It can feel tempting to try to speed up the process with some CFDs and bets on the future, to hedge against losses with some short-selling options, or to divert some funds into bitcoins with the hope for a quick boost to your net-value.

And yes, there definitely are opportunities that I might be missing out on. But for me, it’s just not worth the headache, mainly because the trading frame is too short and the risk-reward ratio is not appealing enough for me.

I don’t want to trade stocks daily or even weekly. I don’t want to be forced to follow every single news-flash to be able to quickly react in a fast-paced environment. And I don’t believe in every single new trend is being said to become the next Trillion-$ market. So why would I give myself all these troubles, especially while knowing well that the simple investor approach that I am following now is historically also the most reliable one?

There is also the fact that while most of all these other opportunities in the financial industry offer viable options to make profits, they often also offer the possibility to lose your hard-earned money even beyond the originally invested amount.

Last but not least I am also perfectly aware that the main reason for the financial industry to push and empower a fast-paced environment is because they earn more in commissions and trade fees if their customers are more active.

Do your thing, but keep it simple and keep your emotions in check

I am not saying that people shouldn’t try other investments or explore other potential opportunities in the financial market on their own. Everyone can find a different path to success, and some products and concepts will work better for some than for others.

But no matter what you plan to do, learn from others who walked that path successfully, try to keep things as simple as it gets, and keep your emotions in check.

Investing in Thailand – TISCO.BK

Who would have thought? It’s already February. January didn’t really give us a fresh start into a post-covid era, which some overly optimistic people might have expected, and February doesn’t look any better. Neither does March, but let me write about that next month.

Having said that, the world is adapting to the new conditions. Stock markets are back at all-time highs as investor’s sentiment and perspectives for the future seem to be getting more predictable. So today, let me share with you my opinion on a bright star of the investment world of Thailand. A conservative pick from the world of finance: TISCO.BK

A modern specialist for finance in Thailand

The TISCO Financial Group PCL is a giant in the financial industry of Thailand. The company profile on Reuters says the following:

“TISCO Financial Group Public Company Limited is a Thailand-based holding company engaged in the financial and banking businesses. The Company primarily operates two main activities: commercial banking business and securities business. The Company and its subsidiaries provide banking services, personal loan services, corporate lending services, as well as life and non-life insurance brokerage services. They also offer securities brokerage services, asset management services, cash management services, underwriting services and others.”Source: Reuters

So there you go, nicely summarised their entire activities. The first time I stumbled upon Tisco in Thailand when I bought my first car, financed with a Tisco loan, and insured with Tisco insurance. I didn’t think much about it at that time as an investment, but I was amazed about the modern and easy way the loan was handled.

I would pay my monthly installments via online banking, at any 7/11 shop, or I could instruct them to withdraw the payments directly from my bank account. I could also make additional payments at any time I wanted, which was great as it helped me to pay off the loan much faster than the 6 years that I originally put in the contract. I paid the car back in half of that time and saved interest on top of it.

Stable growth and solid dividend

When purchasing shares, I prefer buying companies that I trust and that I have a positive experience with. So when I started investing in Thailand some 3 years ago, I naturally took a look at Tisco, and I liked what I saw.

The company has not only solid growth and an excellent share performance to show for, but it also pays annual dividends which are almost constantly growing year on year. In 2019 my yield on cost after tax was 5,84%, in 2020 it grew to 7,65%, and I am now very curious about 2021. The dividend is usually being paid out in May each year.

When COVID hit the markets and the stock dropped to levels below 70 THB, I have added to my position, which pushed my average purchasing cost to a mere 75,96 THB per share. So while I do expect the dividend to be reduced in 2021, I might still reach an excellent yield on cost.

Learning from other markets

Tisco is right now my largest holding in the Thai portfolio I manage, and I am confident that I will add more shares whenever I see the market dipping again or even if it would be just stabilizing further. One of the main reasons why I feel so confident about this company is my experience with another German financial giant: The Allianz AG.

While I never invested in Allianz (yet), it was always one of those stocks for me that I regretted not having had put money in (I still do). As boring as the business sounds in comparison with Apple or Starbucks, it’s one of the most profitable and reliable business models on the planet. It benefits from amazing profit margins and enjoys customer loyalty beyond what most other businesses can present. Not because of having such great products or services, but simply due to necessity.

If you’re investing in Thailand, Tisco should be at least on your watchlist. Do the due diligence, check the numbers, visit their investor relations website and analyze the chart. Read more articles from professional investors and get your facts straight. But I bet you will like what you see and that the stock will find its way into your portfolio.

DISCLOSURE: I have TISCO.BK in a portfolio that is managed by me.

PS: You might notice minor changes to the blogs layout. I have decided not to purchase the WordPress Premium plan this year to reduce my expenses slightly as my dividends dropped by 11% year on year. Therefore, I swapped to a free layout AND you might have to endure some WordPress commercials every now and then. Sorry for that, I will put things back into place next year.

Investing in Thailand – BDMS.BK

January is already proving to be a challenging month, with COVID still in full expansion mode. This means that we still follow all the protective measures and restrictions which have been put in place to protect the public, including full or partial lockdowns, travel restrictions, mask mandates etc.

Thailand managed the outbreak pretty well so far, but in the last 3 weeks, things also escalated here a little bit with lots of new infections and putting public life once again under pressure.

But every crisis can also be an opportunity, and as promised, I’d like to present one such potential opportunity in the investment world of Thailand on my blog.

The leader in medical services in Thailand

Things need to get worse before they can better, and for investors with some cash on hand, this is a good time to look for undervalued companies that will either recover after the crisis or which might even profit further from it. And one such company is Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS.BK).

You can find more information and investor relations for BDMS right HERE. The company operates hospitals, clinics, and other medical facilities, including the production of pharmaceuticals. The “About Us” section of BDMS describes the company as follows:

“Bangkok Dusit Medical Services (BDMS) is one of the most prestigious hospital networks in the Asia-Pacific region, with 26 hospitals and/or clinical programs out of a total of 48 hospitals across the BDMS network that have been accredited by the Joint Commission International (JCI). We are ranked in the top five private hospital groups globally in terms of Market Capitalization. BDMS offers world-class medical care and treatment to both local and international patients, complemented by the latest medical technology. Our team of qualified doctors and nurses consists of specialists in every field. These health professionals have received training from top medical schools around the world, and they are passionate about providing only top-tier health services to every patient.

I can confirm that the company has not just the reputation of being the best in Thailand, they are the best. I am living in Thailand for almost 10 years now, and I can confirm that whenever I get sick, I wouldn’t consider any other hospital than a BDMS operated hospital or clinic. And it’s the same for every single expat here that I know.

They are modern, clean, the staff is professional, the service amazing, and while they are more expensive than other medical facilities in Thailand, the value is still reasonable. Especially if you have insurance.

The Stock

The stock suffered during the crisis as you can see on the chart, but it’s already on track to recover and I expect it to thrive once the vaccinations across the country begin to take place, probably around March and April this year.

While the hospital will certainly benefit as one of the main distributors for future vaccinations, its business is currently also affected by consumer sentiment, and the lack of medical tourism, which is a very strong contributor to the companies top-line. People from all over the world are coming to Thailand to undergo essential and non-essential treatments, thus the current travel restrictions are a serious drag on the companies revenues. Once the restrictions are lifted, the stock should continue its recovery and get back to a level of around 24 THB, thus implicating a 12% upside on this factor alone.

BDMS is also a dividend payer, with the dividends usually being distributed twice a year in April and in September. In 2020 however, there was only one payment. The last dividend came in at 0,25 THB per share, so the yield was not impressive, and overall the dividend history is not showing any real care for dividend-growth or even small growth consistency.

Stability for your depot and long-term benefits

Overall I regard this stock as a good, but not very exciting opportunity. It’s a solid company with good long-term potential and a boring dividend. But boring is good. Long-term potential sounds great to me. And as it’s slowly making its way back up, for me it definitely is one of those SWAN (sleep well at night) stocks that puts stability and trust in my portfolio.

DISCLOSURE: I am managing a portfolio which owns BDMS.

Portfolio year-end evaluation

As the year is coming to an end, it’s time for a portfolio re-evaluation. I do this every year in order to determine what I did good, bad, or just wrong, and what I can and should do better in the next year.

Keeping a cool head

I wrote it many times. When it comes to investments, you need to keep a cool head and take emotions out of the equation. You need to stick to your thesis and know that you’re in for the long run no matter what. But this is easier said than done.

When your shares are moving up for a while and you see your profits surging by 20%, 30%, or even 50%, you might feel the urge to sell your shares just to make sure that you can actually keep that profit. I call this phenomenon “negative greed”. It’s greed because you want to keep the profits, and you want to make sure that your account gets credited before anything happens to it (like another downturn in the market). But it’s “negative” because once the shares are sold, you have obviously no more shares that could grow even further from there. You secure profits, but you lose chances for more profits.

Similarly, when your shares are moving down, it’s hard to stay cool while watching your account going negative into the double digits. When a recession hits and all you can see is a screen with red numbers on it, thoughts will crawl into your head. Thoughts, that question your decisions, making you wonder whether that whole thing is just a big scam that you fell for, and that you should have better listened to all your non-invested friends who think you’re nuts for being an investor.

On both counts, I did quite well in 2020. While I experienced all the emotions and drags as described above, ultimately I kept a cool head. The only shares I sold were those of Apple (AAPL) after the stock-split. They soared by over 150% and I sold some to be able to buy a few new shares of other companies which I considered to be good opportunities. What did I buy?

New investments

  • Wereldhave – A dutch shopping mall operator who suffered dramatic losses in its share price in recent months and who is due for recovery once this whole Covid drama is over
  • Starbucks – The company is showing over and over again that it’s one of the best in the market. The pandemic didn’t hit it as hard as one would have thought, and it will come out stronger in the aftermath
  • Veolia – After watching a documentary on Netflix about drinking water (the show is called “Explained”, highly recommendable) I decided to start focusing more on water-related investments

I also started a savings plan into an ETF. It’s called “Xtrackers MSCI World Information Technology UCITS ETF 1C” and it’s focused on tech-investments world-wide. 100 Euros a month that have started to flow into this ETF, completely paid by the dividends I receive each month.

One more word about Wereldhave. I had this company in my portfolio in the past, and I sold it at a loss when they cut the dividend and when the covid crisis hit. But I kept it on my watchlist and observed the stock movements on a weekly basis. When I noticed that the stock stopped moving further down (after dropping more than another 50% since the time when I sold them) and the company announced a new management team as well as a full restructuring of their business model, I got back in. The shares are now up 40% since I bought them.

Dividend growth

In terms of dividends, Starbucks and Veolia will contribute to my annual income in 2021 as they both pay stable and each year growing dividends. Wereldhave used to pay a strong dividend until the crisis hit. They canceled all dividends in 2020, and I don’t think the company will be able to pay out any dividends in 2021. I expect them though to start paying dividends again sometime around 2022.

My dividend income shrank in 2020 compared with 2019. This was mainly due to my largest and also most disappointing investment: A company called Aurelius (AULRF). It’s a business development company (BDC) which I purchased back in 2018. It was showing not only superior growth opportunities but also had an amazing dividend yield, and since 2018 it developed into my single largest holding position.

Unfortunately, it also became my most disappointing investment. The share price dropped by almost 70% and the dividend was cut down to zero in 2020. However, in the last couple of weeks recovery started to kick in. My losses are now at -56% and given the recent business reviews, I am quite confident that shares will continue to tick up. Also, the dividend should recover in 2021. But I admit, this one is my single largest nail-biter.

Overall it looks like my dividends year on year will reduce by some 11,60%, and this despite the growth of my total invested cash by 8,99%.

Monthly passive income

The total decline of dividend payments by 11,60% is obviously not great, but overall, my monthly passive income remained largely stable. My total dividend yield on investment came down to 3,22% from 3,97% in the year before. For 2021 I expect it to move back up into the 3,5% to 3,9% range.

Considering the scale of the covid crisis, I see my thesis of investing and putting money to work in the stock market confirmed. And 2021 is almost guaranteed to produce similar or better results, with most stocks set to soar once the vaccine distribution starts kicking in.

What a year

Today is the 14th of November 2020, and what a year this has been! With only 6 weeks to go and all the bad news going on, all I want at this point is for it to end.

Whatever your idea or opinion about the Coronavirus might be, we have to acknowledge plain facts that it had an immense impact on literally the world as a whole. This is beyond anything my generation experienced so far.

Jobs were and are being destroyed, incomes diminished, entire industries shut down, and thousands of people are still dying across the globe. And just to be clear: Whether it’s a direct or indirect count, if the virus triggers the death, then it’s on Covid to me.

Since I am working in the hotel industry, I am directly affected by it. In order for my business to survive, I need to cut expenses, reduce jobs, reduce salaries. It hurts. It’s many tears and many broken hearts. Many tough decisions every single day. And despite having the promise of a vaccine now visible on the horizon, we still have a few more months of pain and suffering ahead.

Also let me share with you this: As a business insider in an executive role, I can tell you here and now that this won’t get better any soon. Even post-covid. For most, the jobs that were cut aren’t coming back. The recovery of the service industry, the largest industry in the world, will take years. In order to survive cost cuts will remain in place until further notice.

Financial independence has never been more important

What I am sharing and trying to explain above is that the world is not going to get really significantly better any soon. And even if, how do we know that there won’t be another outbreak in one, two, or five years from now?

We have learned that there is no such thing as invulnerability. There is no such thing as total job security. And when times get really tough, even the best employers might be forced to make some tough choices to the detriment of employees.

Business owners face even greater risks, especially when they operate on thin margins and have not sufficient funds to survive prolongued periods of time without a regular income.

So what are our choices? How can we financially prepare for such an event?

There aren’t many choices, frankly, and there is no single solution. What we have to do is to create layers of protection. To create multiple income streams. And being invested in the stock market is one such strong layer. Also during the current crisis, it has again shown to be a reliable protection for tough times.

I am not talking about the value of my shares. I am down 25% in my portfolio so far. What I am talking about are dividends, my passive income stream.

Let me compare it with my salary, which is currently being cut by 25%. Next month it will be probably around 30%. At its peak, the cut was at 40%. But my dividends have decreased by only 11% year on year. And while I am not certain about my salary, I am quite confident for my dividends to fully recover next year.

Some of the most reliable dividend companies have not changed their policies and kept paying the same or even increased amounts throughout the crisis. This has again reconfirmed with me that for those who seek financial independence, being invested in the market is essential.

This crisis has been a huge reminder that we need to take responsibility for our financial well-being into our own hands. We can’t always rely on others, not to mention governments.

And it’s not just about the money. It’s about having that pressure off your chest, knowing that you have one more layer of safety, one that will contribute to protecting you and your loved ones when times are tough. This feeling alone is beyond any monetary value.

Will stocks crash if Biden wins?

The presidential election in the US is just around the corner. November is only 3 weeks away. And while early voting has already started in the largest economy in the world, markets around the globe are in full speculation on who might win and how this could effects stocks. The loudest faction is of course the one that is stronger invested. The Republicans. And their argument is the same every four years: If the Democrats win, the economy and stocks will suffer.

Of course we cannot predict the future, but if the past is any lesson, then it’s safe to assume that the comments shared by Republicans are at least misleading, and this is easy to proof. Let’s look at the economies of the last presidents in the US:

Blue stands obviously for Democrats, and red for Republicans. The full article can be found HERE with my thanks to Fortune.com

These numbers give a very clear indication on what kind of leadership inspires growth and success. And it’s not a Republican leadership. Looking at these facts as an investor I certainly support the Biden campaign to emerge victorious, to help the US economy to get back on track, and I don’t worry about my portfolio if Biden gets his turn. If anything, I expect things to improve significantly.

This may take a little longer

A few of us were looking forward to seeing the stock markets recover during the last quarter of 2020, which started only 12 days ago. But as we are moving into the 38th week of this year, there is little reason to believe that the markets will start to rise again any soon.

Many businesses have been scaled down, people furloughed, budgets cut, investments deferred, assets repurposed. A vaccine for the virus seems still far off, but even if we would get it tomorrow, it will take more than a few months to get to where things were before. How long? Nobody knows.

Be greedy when others are fearful

Following the advice of Warren Buffett, investors should get greedy when others are fearful. The meaning behind this is of course that when stock prices are in free fall, it usually is a good time to be looking out for good bargains. But is the market now really already fearful? Is it a good time to be looking out for bargains?

The truth is that nobody really knows. Some shares may fall again. Others may rise. Some may be easier to analyze than others. But the universal rule remains valid in good and in bad times: There is no such thing as a bad time to invest in good companies.

My approach during this time remains the same as previously. I keep investing. I am buying companies that I believe to have a solid business, that will survive the current and future challenges, that continue paying dividends, and which I believe to continue doing all this for years to come.

While looking for the right companies at a good price, I also stick to my split-investment strategy. I am not putting all my money immediately into one stock, but invest only a limited amount first, and add to the position again a few months later on.

Following this strategy, I may not fully benefit from a stock price increase, but I limit my risk and have the opportunity to purchase more shares at a lower price in the event the stock price may fall.

Being greedy has never been good advice. Not being scared and having a strategy is in my opinion a better approach.

Nobody knows what the future holds

When you wake up in the morning, you never really know what the day will bring you. You might have a schedule. Some appointments. Places to go. People to meet. Things to do. But there is no guarantee that all these things will indeed happen.

A person you wanted to meet might cancel the appointment. The place you wanted to go might become not accessible for some reason. And the things you wanted to do might become less of a priority as the day evolves.

The same goes for any business, and of course, for stock investments.

We never know what will happen in the stock market. While promising news about some stocks you bought might have prevailed in the market during the last week and made you feel very confident of future gains and profits on your investment, a single unexpected event can turn everything around.

Hope can turn to fear. Smiles to tears. And instead of counting your imaginary wealth, you might scramble to think about how to manage the next rent payment.

Benefits of having a plan

This is where strategy and planning comes into play. Of course we cannot predict the future. Nobody can. But we can put systems and strategies in place to help us mitigate potential challenges and at the same time offer us the chance to take advantage of potential opportunities.

Those strategies to name a few include:

  • Having an emergency fund of 3 months or more of your regular income/expenses
  • Having an investment thesis, an investment plan
  • Diversifying investments across countries, industries, and currencies
  • Having a good mix of dividend-paying stocks and growth stocks
  • Being calm
  • Being patient
  • Having some investment cash ready on the side
  • Not being scared to sell a stock at a loss when the story behind it doesn’t match your investment thesis anymore
  • Not being scared to buy more shares of a company that is losing value, but that perfectly fits your investment thesis

Taking the time to plan ahead, and to continue working on this plan as we learn, as markets and industries develop, and as challenges arise while opportunities pop-up on unexpected fronts makes all the difference between successful investors and gamblers.

Breaking Rules

Nothing is as it should be this year. 2020 will go down in history as one of the worst years for my generations (X / Y – I am right on the brink).

Highest unemployment as far as I can remember across the globe. People are restricted to travel between countries, in some areas even between cities. Foodbanks, charities, and NGOs are stepping up and doing what they can to get people through hard times, even in the richest and most developed nations. Medical supplies are running short, equipment gets scarce. And governments are printing cash for people like there is no tomorrow.

Every weakness of our economic systems has been exposed by now. The mantra of a small government and an unhinged economy has been crushed to pieces. Whether it’s Germany, the US, UK or Thailand: Without government support it would all collapse.

It’s a terrible situation, but we will get through this, as humanity always did. There is light at the end of the tunnel, and I am confident that we will thrive again once this is all over.

And having said that, as bad as it is, it’s also a great lesson and experience for us. Instead of lamenting and complaining, we have right now the opportunity to analyze the situation and to think about how we can handle a similar occurrence in the future. Because we know that this wasn’t the first, and certainly won’t be the last pandemic that we will have to deal with.

Financial independence should grab more spotlight than ever before

The current situation showed lots of weakness in the structure of our society, especially to those who are in the rat race. As the crisis triggered massive unemployment, salary cuts, and put people in danger of losing access to their basic needs like shelter, food, and healthcare, it has never been more obvious that the rules we follow are flawed.

People are talking about jobs, minimum wages, worker protections. Protections from evictions, free medical support, and other measures to help all of us getting through the challenges of the pandemic. And it’s all good and right. We need to work, we need to have our rights protected, and we need a framework of rules to make sure those in power don’t abuse those who are not in a position to protect themselves.

Unfortunately, the same rules that protect us are also the rules that limit our opportunities. They push us into the rat race, into the dependence on people who employ us, and on governments that care for us. We give away some parts of our freedom and receive in return limited protection that helps us to make it through the days ahead.

But those who really want to get at least a slice of their freedom back, they got to break out of the rules and take ownership of their future. It’s especially situations like the current crisi, when financial independence becomes more important than ever.

Being financially independent means that you can afford to have a shelter without relying on the government, that you can put food on the table without relying on charities, and that your health is protected. Financial independence is not about getting rich. It’s about freedom.

The steps for reaching financial independence are only a few:

  • Earning as much as you can
  • Spending as little as possible
  • Saving and investing the surplus
  • Building passive income

Only four steps that explain it all. Simple and while not easy, definitely achievable with the right mind-set, plan and determination. And the benefits are immense. Not only may it allow you to retire early from your regular job. Achieving financial freedom will also empower you to pursue other paths and passions which you might have not considered previously due to financial commitments that couldn’t be neglected.

Even more importantly though, it will also prepare you for hardships, and situations as we are experiencing right now. It’s undeniable that those who build up emergency funds that cover 6-12 months of expenses, or who have passive income streams, are significantly less worried while the virus is causing panic and havoc across the world.

The FIRE movement is just a smart thing to do

When you explain the idea of financial independence and the FIRE movement to people who never thought about it, you will hardly find anyone who would disagree with it these days. There is nothing about massive unemployment, stagnant wages, and deteriorating economic conditions that would encourage people to go back to the old days.

And this is not a one-off event. It will happen again. Maybe it will be another virus. Maybe something else. But we know that hard ships are part of the equation throughout our lives. So wouldn’t it be a smart thing to do something about it? To prepare for it?

As my readers know, I am promoting investing in stocks. And surely, many companies got in trouble and had to cut or reduce their dividends, hence also impacting my passive income. But what this crisis showed me clearly is that while there is no 100% protection in this kind of environment, the odds are still clearly favouring investors over regular workers.

I work in the hardest hit industry of the pandemic: I am a hotel manager. And while my salary was cut by up to 40% as my hotel had to close for a few months, my passive dividend-income went down only by 9% on average year to date so far, and I expect it to remain on that level.

If you ever had doubts whether FIRE is for you, these doubts should be gone by now. And whether you invest in stocks or real estate, or any other way that generates passive income streams, it should be (or become) a part of your plan.