Hard lessons we can learn from this pandemic

The coronavirus has been sweeping the world by storm at the beginning of the year until the WHO finally declared last March 11, 2020, that is already a pandemic. By then, we all know that thousands, if not millions, have been afflicted and killed by this deadly disease.

rainbow after the storm pixabay
Rainbow after a storm. (image credits: pixabay.com)

 

As of this writing, we don’t know when this will end but without a doubt, we all know that “this too shall pass”. Only then will we know the extent and magnitude of this “killer disease” that it will leave us and only by then, hopefully, we would have learned a “painful lesson” from this once in lifetime experience.

For now, hard lessons are already emerging based on the current behavior and reactions of the people all over the world as seen in news and all over social media.

In hindsight, these may look “basic” but that’s the point. The world has been taking these “basics” for granted. It had to take a “pandemic” for the humanity to look at the “priorities in life”.

Lesson #1.

Until there is a cure, the world is “helpless” but not without hope.

Until there is a cure, the world is swept by “fear and panic”.

The behavior of the people is like a herd. We are gripped with a sense of urgency. Everyone troops to the nearest grocery and drugstore for their basic needs.

This “lockdown” is new to us. Will we be able to go out? If not, we need to stock our homes with food & medicines.

How can we earn if we will not work?

Suddenly, we are all stripped of things we do not need. In the “blink of an eye”, all these wants in life mean nothing.

We realized we are not prepared. That is why we react this way. Paramount to us is the basic priorities and necessities in life: good health, family, food, and shelter.

All we care about is “to be protected and not to contract the disease”. Yes, all of us want to be “protected”. It’s all about the preservation of life. That’s why we want to be in good health and live long. We are not prepared to leave this world yet. At least, to most of us, if I must say.

These days, if you are positive with the COVID19, it is just like having the Big C. It’s like being meted out a death sentence. Either you will be pardoned, or you will be executed sooner than later. In a literal sense, this means, either you recover, or you die from COVID19 sooner or later.

We all want to live. This is the cry of humanity these days. And so, we scramble for the basics – have enough food, stay at home, and be with our loved ones.

We learn from this experience what we value in life: good health, family, security.

Lesson #2.

Everybody is reactionary nowadays.

From buying to hoarding supplies, we’ve seen it all.

Heck, even people who don’t post spiritual things in social media are starting to share or post prayerful things. Just like in the recent bushfires in Australia, many atheists started praying.

Some churches are even calling for prayer and fasting of late. Call it spiritual reactionary for it is what it is. Even the prayer for protection found in Psalm 91 is getting viral. It had to take a “pandemic” for the humanity to “bend down on its knees” and seek help from God.

Even many governments in the world enforced strict lockdowns, enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) except for the frontliners and other service providers, for without them, the world will be in chaos.

Only the “basics” have been opened to the public to provide for the basic needs like supermarkets, drugstores, banks and more importantly, clinics and hospitals.

God willing, when we have survived all these days, weeks or months from now, moving forward, we would have been proactive in preparing for the unexpected because really, we can never tell the future.

The best we can do is to be prepared.

This health crisis made us realize the brevity of life.

Unfortunately, we cannot choose when we are going to die but we can choose how we are going to live.

In terms of preparation, we need to consider what are the most important priorities in life:

  1. God

The Bible says:

So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom. (Psalm 90:12 NKJV)

From personal experience, when you are secure in God, there will always be peace in your heart and mind. Not that I am immune to what is happening around me but I claim the Lord’s promise when I seek Him first in my life. Yes, He is my Provider at all times. I am never lacking. Thank God that we have food on the table and money to buy the basic necessities like the essentials to be able to survive since we hardly receive anything from our local government. Does it make me different? I don’t mean it that way but what I do know is that everyone can have peace amidst the crisis if they have God in their lives.

“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10 NKJV)

In everything, there is a purpose. Our God is Sovereign. We may not understand His ways but if we put our faith and complete trust in Him, you can have the peace and security that He will never leave you nor forsake you and all your needs will be met.

How secure are you in these times spiritually? Have you reached out to God through His Son, Jesus Christ? Why don’t you pause for a moment now and say this prayer as if this were your own?

Father God, I repent of my sins. Forgive me for my past sins. I know that you sent your Son, Jesus Christ, to die for my sins and and rose again on the third day, to defeat evil and save me from the eternal fires of hell. I now accept Jesus in my life as my personal Lord and Savior. Thank you for the promise of eternal life through your Son, Jesus which I am claiming now. From this day, I surrender my life to you Lord Jesus and I give up my old sinful ways, and serve you for the rest of my life. In Jesus’ name, amen.

If you prayed this short prayer, God has a promise to you and He cannot be mocked for He is not a liar (Numbers 23:19 NKJV). Here is His promise:

For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. (John 3:16 NKJV).

  1. Security

Recently, the IMF declared also a global economic recession. This means that global markets everywhere are in dire financial straits.

One noticeable thing is that this was not caused by a financial crisis but a health crisis.

These days, everybody wants to hold on to cash. Yes, “cash is king” at this time. Everybody wants to be liquid in times of emergency. We want to be prepared for the basics: regular food on the table, financial supply and health coverage or protection for us and our family or loved ones.

This is the kind of security we need nowadays especially if the ECQ will be prolonged for a few more weeks, if not months.

That is the rationale for the government financial stimulus happening in many parts of the world. The marginalized sector, the poor, homeless or unemployed, needed financial assistance, to sustain their lives.

These are the basic securities in life and it’s all about sustaining lives. We need money to put food on the table (this means, we should have it); We need money in case of health emergencies these days (this means, we have to be prepared to pay our hospital bills or worse case scenario, funeral expenses).

If we are not prepared for these things, we need to continue to work. How? We need to be creative in doing things these days. I have seen hardworking people who continue to work from home and sell their products or services because if they stop, their income will stop but their expenses will continue. Most notable these days are those who prepare food and provide food deliveries. I know, many companies are crippled and the domino effect is that many jobs were cut off temporarily or worse, permanently because these businesses cannot afford to continue esp. if the business is not essential these days.

We don’t have a choice but to do better after this lockdown or ECQ. For now, we can only pray and rely for help from our governments and the companies we work for.

Lesson # 3.

As of this writing, we don’t know if the ECQ will be extended. If it were up to me, I will support the government if 1) it sees the need to extend this, if only to “flatten the curve” meaning, the result will be less reported Covid cases until it is no longer viral and more importantly, until a “cure or vaccine” has been made; and 2) if it will do everything in its power to help the people, esp. those who are less able in life.

As it were, we are just on the defensive. That is why, a cure or a vaccine will change everything on the offensive to finally end this pandemic.

While I submit to the belief that “this too shall pass”, it is not easy.

What can we do during this time while waiting?

For those who have the extra money to spend, take advantage of the financial market situation in your own country. Financial markets are tumbling down these days. These means that equities are trading less for their real prices. In other words, they are really cheap for lack of a better term. It is understandable if people will doubt investing in stocks nowadays because that is the herd mindset these days. What if the stock market crashed? What if this company closed down?

In the local scene, that is, the Philippines, do you think that blue chip companies like the SM Group of companies, the Ayala Group of companies, Jollibee, the Metrobank Group or even PLDT will close down?

Even in the US, do you think that Facebook, Amazon, Google or even Netflix will close down due to the current financial crisis?

Because if you don’t think so, then this is the opportunity to buy these local or global stocks.

In local parlance, “matira ang matibay”. There is no direct English translation but in context, it is close to only the fittest will survive and we are talking here of blue chip companies in the Philippines and trillion or billion dollar companies in the US. In short, we are looking at stable companies that are supposed to last even after this pandemic.

As Warren Buffet always say,

“Be fearful when others are greedy, be greedy when others are fearful.”

At this time, almost everyone is fearful which is understandable but if you will study the global financial markets and how it reacted during the time of pandemic, the natural course is see the market go down and rise when all this is over. The proof is in Google. Yes, just google it and you will see what I am talking about. Everything became positive within the 1st 12 months after the end of the pandemic has been declared. That is short term profit for you trading wise. But even if this becomes prolonged, why not secure an investment with guaranteed protection? This way, even if the market is down, you are guaranteed protection or coverage for your loved ones. This gives you financial security esp. for your family. It’s not yet too late to secure a financial product from your trusted financial advisor and have a peace of mind that you need esp. at this time.

On a personal note, I believe that this augurs well for only the brave ones. So, take advantage of the bear market these days.

I do not expect that everything will be normalized right after the “lockdown” or ECQ has been lifted. It will take time to recover.

I hope that we will not take things for granted after this has passed on. I have already mentioned the priorities in life.

Seek God first in your life. (Matthew 6:33)

Secure yourself and your family. Prepare for the inevitable and the unexpected so you will not be reactive in all aspects, financially, physically and spiritually.

How? For starters, start preparing your emergency fund if you have not done it yet. An ideal emergency fund is saving up your average monthly expenses times (x) 6 to 12 months. This means that your emergency fund should hold up for six (6) to twelve (12) months. After which, you can go up the ladder of financial securities in terms of basic insurances and investments.

This year, 2020, is very different and that is an understatement.

The world or even my own country, the Philippines, has seen a lot of major events in the world in the first quarter alone.

The Australia bushfires.

The Taal volcano eruption.

Heck, even the tragic death of Kobe Bryant affected the world.

And now this, the coronavirus pandemic.

I still submit to the belief that there is a reason for this disruption. (click this link)

Be grateful if you survived this pandemic.

Be better prepared NOW and when you come out “alive and kicking” after this pandemic.

 

This author is an expert in the field of Health, Insurance & Investments. He is an accomplished Financial Advisor; an MDRT qualifier; a Certified Investment Solicitor; a Certified Health Specialist; and an experienced Real Estate Broker. He has been in this “self-employed” business for close to 20 years as of this writing. Currently, he is aspiring to be a Certified Investment Specialist. 

Follow him at Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. @iamronniereyes

 

 

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