Good Times, Bad Times

Perhaps the title of this post should be 'Fat Years, Lean Years'. Remember Joseph's dream of the 7 fat years followed by the 7 lean years?

Prior to this present economic dislocation, investors were earning good returns on their investment. Now, many people are worrying not only about their jobs and mortgages, but agonizing over the devaluation of their overall investment.

A few hours back, a friend called to unload her burden; the worry over a substantial drop in their stock value. I told her that we too incur loss. In fact, EVERYONE I know who has have some kind of investment is loosing money. One colleague's AIG shares dropped from $63 to $3. A relative lost $200k in Lehman minibonds. I can go on and on.

There are days when I am hopeful that the current downturn, like past economic cycles, will not last forever. Then, there are days when I feel battered, almost overwhelmed by the bad news out there.

No one wants to outlive their money. By God's grace, we had been managing our finances well all this while and we were doing fine until the sub-prime crisis which stumped even the experts. We still want to be in control of the situation, yet this economic crisis is just too humongous and complex to handle, even for the US and British governments.

Technical charts aren't so reliable nowadays and there are so many voices out there. Shall we cut losses or what? Experts are still singing the same tune:

- Stay invested and do not succumb to fear and panic selling.
- Invest in for the long term.
- Diversify.
- Buy Low Sell High.
- Rebalance your portfolio regularly to minimize risk.
- Remember that economy moves in cycles, alternating with upturns and downturns.

Well, well, well, the principles sound simple, but they are really hard to follow, and not always true.

I have absolutely no idea what to do next, but am remaining thankful to God for His providence still. He had seen us through a prior downturn before, and if it pleases Him, He will see us through this one again.

We must continue to honour God in all our actions, not succumbing to dubious ways to make money so as to recover loss. There are people doing this, driven by panic and desperation, but we shouldn't participate in anything that's wrong.

Hard times are here, but still, interesting times. I told my elder son; this is such a good experience for him to go through although his portfolio drops about 30%, because he'll recover his loss in due course as he has a longer time horizon to wait out the crisis. This kind of lesson, you'll have to go through it to learn.

Well, regardless of difficult times and seasons, regardless of how we feel, one unchanging truth remains ; GOD IS GOOD, ALL THE TIME! Amen.

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