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What Could be The New ‘Normal’?

Veteran international investor John Corey comments

Be thankful that the pandemic has not been worse. While there have been many missteps, it clearly could have been worse. And, we have not seen the end of this crisis. Each of us, individually plus collectively, is shifting to a 'new normal' way to operate until the virus is (hopefully) better controlled. We live in hope that a vaccine will be widely available in the next 12 to 24 months. It is highly unlikely we will return entirely to what was once 'normal' after this period. Why commute to work if much of those tasks can be done from home? We want to meet and engage with others. We just do not need to move en-masse twice a day, five days a week as commuters.

When you survey the physical landscape around you, despite the rising worldwide death toll, the actual impact on most people and businesses has been financial. Even that has been dampened by government action. We do not really know how to count the full costs at this point. For some of course, there has been a personal tragedy. Whenever someone loses a person close to them, it is unfortunate and obviously heartbreaking but the circle of life continues.

Where do we go from here? Let's be honest, no one can predict the future. Without being able to predict the future accurately, I can say it will still likely look a lot like the past. Life for the majority has not stopped, lockdowns aside, but it has changed. Some individuals will need to adjust more than others. Some business sectors, families and individuals will see a future that looks nothing like their past.

Of course we will continue to require food, shelter and clothing. So what does this mean for landlords and investors? If anyone thinks they know, be wary. Many people have a view, a perspective or a belief that motivates them. Much of religion is nothing more than a faith in things that cannot be factually proven. Faith, hope, and ideas have tremendous power. People will take action based on these thoughts. They act as if their views are facts rather than unground conclusions. A human condition is to then look for 'facts' which confirm the story that we are telling ourselves. Selective listening and echo chambers come to mind.

Listen to what people say, think, and believe. Their ideas motivate them to take a specific action. None of these people can predict the future. Look for the questions which are being asked. What else is missing? Where are the gaps? Ask, 'What is going on here?' rather than what you should do.

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