Edition #14: Revenge spending is coming. Should your portfolio change?


written by oz chen

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Hey there. You are the economic recovery.

  • Last week, I talked about the role of psychological distance in personal finance
  • Today, I talk about getting vaccinated, cutting down a tree, the economic recovery, WeWork, and making same day insurance changes.

🌳 Personal updates

A wave of relief washed over me. I got vaccinated on no finer day than April Fools. It pricked even less than the the normal flu shot, and I don’t feel any symptoms. I wanted to celebrate with my vaccination group, but as Covid customs would have it, I got back in my car and silently raised my fist. V Day.

The timing is surreal. Last year, when Covid started, I was going through a breakup. During that time, it helped a ton to do some massive spring cleaning on my yard. I cleared out weeds and shoveled in sand and stone. It was therapeutic.

Spring cleaning came to me this year. The early March winds knocked down big branches. Luckily no one and nothing got hurt. It was a sign. After years of avoidance, I needed to cut down this tree. It was a hard decision because of how grand and old the tree is.

A few mental reframes that helped me with this decision.

  1. We revere size: my girlfriend asked “isn’t if funny we value the life of bigger things, more than smaller things?” This took the edge off for me. Who’s to say a smaller tree isn’t just as important?
  2. Replace vs remove: it’s psychologically easier to think of replacing a tree with smaller fruit trees than just removing one entirely.
  3. Tree removal is common: I talked to other friends who’ve removed trees before, some who have cleared half a dozen or more for their home projects. Before I thought this was a relatively normal part of home renovation, I felt like I was an evil tree cutter. There’s less guilt now.

I’m surprised that instead of feeling like the front yard is empty, I’m perplexed at how such a huge tree (it was the biggest around for blocks) stood there in the first place. Life always finds a way.  

Btw, I’m taking ideas for the best short fruit trees to grow in Los Angeles.
Onto this week’s topic, which has something to do with newness, spring cleaning, and recovery.

Is your portfolio ready for the economic rebound?

The post-pandemic recovery will be uneven, just as the initial economic impact was uneven. Makes sense—it’s not like someone flips a switch and announces the pandemic is over for everyone, all at the same time. (Though that would make for a pretty rad rave).

Which brings to my mind as an investor: Is my portfolio optimized for the economic rebound?

Read this post for a deep dive into how I performed (or not) against the market, and how that impacts my 2021 investing strategy.

💬 Quote of the week

There are reasons to think this recovery could be different. For one thing, the economy was fundamentally healthy when the recession began. There was no housing bubble; household debt was low; banks weren’t sitting on a tower of dubious loans that could collapse at any moment. That means there is no reason, at least in theory, that the economy can’t pick up more or less where it left off.

— Ben Casselman, NYTimes.com

📈 Stock I’m following: WeWork (BowX)

I was surprised when an investor friend told me she was considering WeWork as a recovery play. “You mean the same company that burned money and social graces with megalomaniac Adam Neumann at the helm?”

Here goes the thesis: the post pandemic world will not fully return to office, and some companies will remain  fully remote. WeWork will fill the missing “middle space” of office life between expensive real estate and stuffy work-from-home situations.

We Good Now? is a thrilling read on rise, fall, and potential rise again of WeWork. which is set to IPO at a much more modest $9 billion SPAC deal compared to its prior $50B valuation. And just to make things interesting, former NBA star Shaq is an advisor on the deal.

What do you think of WeWork? Do you think the company will be able to climb of its debt hole and make a compelling rebound?

💸 Money tip of the week: Cover yo’self, before you wreck yo’self

Did you know you can change your insurance coverage on the same day you expect work on your property?

Tree removal is ridden with liabilities. Even though all good contractors are bonded and carry their own insurance, I wanted extra peace of mind in case something happened. All I had to do was open up the Lemonade app, change my coverage, and boom—all done.

This also works for renter’s insurance and just about any other insurance Lemonade offers. If you live with others and are afraid of spilling kombucha on your roomies’ laptop, you can change your policy day of. You know, for all the post-pandemic parties.

I switched to Lemonade after getting a quote and finding out they were $300 cheaper than my other insurance co—plus I could pay my insurance monthly instead of one in lump sum. If you’re interested in home insurance or renter’s insurance, here’s my friend referral link.

Disclosure: I also hold Lemonade (LMND) stock.

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