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Honestly, how did we miss this?
Old 03-23-2020, 09:24 PM   #1
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Honestly, how did we miss this?

In January many youtube videos of Chinese journalists reporting on this who suddenly disappeared. Then the videos of people being locked into their houses. This is before any change in S&P 500. Some poker players figured out the market would tank and have made millions shorting the markets. See around mid February when they stated this would happen. Conclusion: we need to pay more attention to disparate news sources

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/3...68/index5.html
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:30 PM   #2
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Originally Posted by accountingsucks View Post
In January many youtube videos of Chinese journalists reporting on this who suddenly disappeared. Then the videos of people being locked into their houses. This is before any change in S&P 500. Some poker players figured out the market would tank and have made millions shorting the markets. See around mid February when they stated this would happen. Conclusion: we need to pay more attention to disparate news sources

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/3...68/index5.html
Actually, I posted here on ER.org in early Feb that I was buying puts on the market...you need to pay more attention to the stock threads.
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Old 03-23-2020, 09:46 PM   #3
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Actually, I posted here on ER.org in early Feb that I was buying puts on the market...you need to pay more attention to the stock threads.
+1

There were a number who predicted what was going to happen. I made a decision to do nothing past securing a cash position to tide us over 5-7 years. Should I have sold most of my equities? Don't know now, come back in 5-7 years.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:02 PM   #4
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Originally Posted by accountingsucks View Post
In January many youtube videos of Chinese journalists reporting on this who suddenly disappeared. Then the videos of people being locked into their houses. This is before any change in S&P 500. Some poker players figured out the market would tank and have made millions shorting the markets. See around mid February when they stated this would happen. Conclusion: we need to pay more attention to disparate news sources

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/3...68/index5.html
I sorta asked this question in this posting - https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ng-102794.html

If you read through it (especially starting at post #21), a high ranking CDC person started sounding the alarm in February, and it spooked the market briefly. This story was covered by a number of notable news sources.

I thought the thread was a good discussion.
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:15 PM   #5
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Actually, I posted here on ER.org in early Feb that I was buying puts on the market...you need to pay more attention to the stock threads.
Yes you did, and I looked, but was stuck by inertia.
Maybe next time I'll be as quick and smart, after all third times a charm
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Old 03-23-2020, 10:42 PM   #6
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The information was out there. The media mostly did not pay attention to it or portrayed it as something restricted to China. If you went looking for it, the cell phone videos and other leaked stuff was truly horrifying. I hope I never see anything like it ever again. A little knowledge of the history of the Spanish Flu pandemic was all that was needed to connect the dots, and as a student of history I have actually read a couple of books on the subject.

So why didn't people connect the dots? Mostly two reasons, in my opinion. First, the market was extremely complacent in the beginning of the year and so were investors. It did not seem to matter what the news was, everyone wanted to buy. Oddly enough they all seemed to want to buy the same ever smaller group of stocks, a hallmark of late stages of a bull. But regardless of facts on the ground, everyone wanted to buy and if you did not you quickly got left behind. The masses of clueless young investors who had never seen more than a brief correction did not help.

Second, when the virus inevitably escaped China and started up elsewhere, there appears to have been mass normalcy bias going on. People have evolved to expect that today will look like yesterday and tomorrow will look like today. As a result, we often do not react immediately to large changes in the state of the world. We take time to adjust to a big change and act accordingly. As a result, if you did not see the videos, etc. early on and only realized that things might be awry in the second half of february, you probably did not have enough time to make the mental leap to realize the change in the state of the world. I can tell you that it took about 3 weeks of being terrified of what I was seeing and reading in China before I took action. Just seems to be the way we are wired.
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Old 03-24-2020, 01:26 AM   #7
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I couldn't figure out why the market was melting up when the pandemic was clearly coming here.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:01 AM   #8
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I hate the stupid expression "FOMO" but that was part of it for me. I'm not a market timer, like most here, and was both happy to ride the upwards stuff while worried I'd pull the trigger too early.

Could just have easily been in a situation where the market capped 30k and crashed far less if things hadn't gone quite so bad here.

I think a lot of us are thinking "Damn I ignored the warning signs" for so long, but then so did many people who do this all day everyday and are supposed to be better.

So, I have to be happy to keep my blinders on, ride it out, and let my planning work for me. I sold a little the first week enough to buffer my cash for over 5 years for our fully loaded spending, and even then I erased 6 months of gains on that money with a grimace at the time.

I also know from 2008/09 I could easily screw up deciding when to buy back in. Had no clue then, if I'd sold and had to rebuy then I'd have waited too long.
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Old 03-24-2020, 04:59 AM   #9
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This pandemic was a failure of imagination at all levels. WHO, CDC, Feds, Congress, Hospitals, Governors and Public School system. As a result, they were all behind the curve making plans and policy and clear communications only when the crisis was self evident.

With DW, I kept my worst fears to myself. Got her in January to agree to postpone planned trips to Hawaii and summer cruise in the Baltic (on Princess Emerald no less). She thought I was over reacting. Our AA was roughly right for our early retirement - but following our roll to an IRA in January I took enough LTCG in February to cover expenses for the year - would have done that with or without the virus.

DW jumped at the suggestion to visit family in AZ and PA during February. I came back from AZ early and she stayed - putting her 87 yo father in ICU for a gastro bleed (6 pints of blood low) and delaying her return home. She came back two weeks ago - just in time to avoid the crazy. While she was gone, I topped off our hurricane supplies, bought the pistol and ammo I have wanted forever, and started buying supplies for all of the house projects planned to keep me occupied for a few months.

During this time it was amazing how many friends and strangers still wanted to shake hands. Refused and talked about social distancing or elbow bumps. Facebook posts and neighborhood discussions indicated a hard core hard headed group who were not concerned - its just the flu. Amazing.

On the other hand, living in Florida with all of the hurricanes, it seemed that the snowbirds were the ones panic buying with the out of state license plates prevalent in the parking lot.

DW is a news hound and we are on the same page now.

All of us are in for a nasty sad lesson in exponential growth in this country. 10% increase a day is roughly doubling each week - we should overtake China in number of Covid-19 reported within two weeks.

Have yet to figure out how to volunteer to help others. DW has asthma and therefore at a high risk of complications. At the moment, sending checks and talking calmly on the phone with family, and at a distance with neighbors, seems to be the best we can do.
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Old 03-24-2020, 05:59 AM   #10
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A sobering read here, from last September (just before COVID-19 broke out in Wuhan) - by Laurie Garrett (she consulted on the movie 'Contagion')

"It’s hard to know what, shy of a genuinely devastating pandemic of killer influenza or some currently unknown microbe, will motivate global leaders to take microscopic threats seriously."

The World Knows an Apocalyptic Pandemic Is Coming
But nobody is interested in doing anything about it.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:11 AM   #11
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I'm not a market timer, like most here, and was both happy to ride the upwards stuff while worried I'd pull the trigger too early.

Seems to be a lot of market timers are raising their heads now but I never got the impression most here are timers. In fact whenever someone suggested market timing many pounded home the evils of market timing. Perhaps those just had the loudest voice.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:12 AM   #12
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Up until recently, people did not think what happened in Italy could happen here.

If an alarm was sounded, it was called fear-mongering.
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:21 AM   #13
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Actually, I posted here on ER.org in early Feb that I was buying puts on the market...you need to pay more attention to the stock threads.
I was paying attention and I was right there with you! ....Just not as much TP
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:35 AM   #14
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Up until recently, people did not think what happened in Italy could happen here.

If an alarm was sounded, it was called fear-mongering.
The power of the human mind is incredible (and I mean this seriously). Lots of people myself included were sounding alarm back in February. You are on this forum all the time, I don't recall you telling me I was fear mongering; but maybe you thought it. Think about it...maybe you were thinking people were fear mongering or you heard it on the news and you agreed with that sentiment?

Here are some times it was mentioned by me (lots of others as well,I just searched my own posts):

Feb 18th:
https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2372313


Feb 19th.
https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2373138

https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2377212

Here is a thread started by yours truly from March 2nd. 92 people replied to the poll. 69 commented. Only 10% were willing to sell and not Stay the course or buy. https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ce-102406.html

Here is a post from me on 2/27
https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ml#post2377212
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Old 03-24-2020, 06:46 AM   #15
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Actually, I posted here on ER.org in early Feb that I was buying puts on the market...you need to pay more attention to the stock threads.
That was really unwise. Because I have it on good authority that you can't time the market...
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:02 AM   #16
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Originally Posted by accountingsucks View Post
In January many youtube videos of Chinese journalists reporting on this who suddenly disappeared. Then the videos of people being locked into their houses. This is before any change in S&P 500. Some poker players figured out the market would tank and have made millions shorting the markets. See around mid February when they stated this would happen. Conclusion: we need to pay more attention to disparate news sources

https://forumserver.twoplustwo.com/3...68/index5.html

I didn't miss it. I knew about it before it was mentioned in the US.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:13 AM   #17
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My spouse and I were saying in January to everyone who would listen that this could be really bad....the operative word being "could". It really depended on the response around the world, and so with a few key decisions altered or just made a little earlier, this could have fizzled out or at least been greatly slowed. We were also much more focused on the public health aspects than the financial markets, unfortunately.

Basically, no one saw it coming because, like almost everything else, it wasn't a 100% sure thing until it actually happened.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:18 AM   #18
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Part of this is not knowing how people would react, and I think alot of this is due to how things are being portrayed in the media without concrete data. I saw reports of this earlier
as well. But to me, the question (in terms of impact to my investments) was not whether there is a health issue but will this cause mass hysteria? My guess was wrong or at least not enough to change my investment thesis.

For those who have such foresight, would anybody like to guess how many actual deaths will occur this year due to COVID-19 and whether or not it will be higher than the flu season?

To give some context, there are 6077 current deaths in Italy (very negative scenario) and I believe they are just peaking and it is estimated that 25k people died due to the flu in 2017 in Italy.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:30 AM   #19
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Seems to be a lot of market timers are raising their heads now but I never got the impression most here are timers. In fact whenever someone suggested market timing many pounded home the evils of market timing. Perhaps those just had the loudest voice.
As aerides noted, market timing has big risks so generally it is a bad idea. Even now, I sold at the right time, but that is not sufficient. I still have to buy back in at the right time. But I really am not a market timer. I generally hold a core allocation and dabble less and less in individual issues. My actions s over the last three months are quite uncharacteristic of how I manage my portfolio.
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Old 03-24-2020, 07:34 AM   #20
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Here is a thread started by yours truly from March 2nd. 92 people replied to the poll. 69 commented. Only 10% were willing to sell and not Stay the course or buy. https://www.early-retirement.org/for...ce-102406.html
Iím not sure what your point is. Many folks here are staying the course because they are invested for the very long term, and already had sufficient short term funds and fixed income going into this, so didnít feel the need to sell stocks. Why the surprise?
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