Read my other blogs about Corona: Five ways that the Corona virus is affecting my daily life
I blogged about the Corona virus before, this was actually just before the lockdown in Belgium. Goverments were still unclear of what to do and what measures should be taken. Borders were still open and plenty of people were still not aware of how deeply we would be affected.
Belgium is in lockdown for 1 month now, and its still unclear when it will be lifted. So far it has been extended until the beginning of may and most likely it will get a longer extension, although it is not sure yet for how long.
Belgium has implemented the following restrictions:
- The borders are closed with our neighboring countries (France / Netherlands / Luxembourg / Germany) for non essential travel
- Non essential travel inside Belgium is not allowed either, you cannot take the car to visit family, you cannot go to stay in your second home at the sea
- All shops and restaurants are closed apart from the post, supermarkets, the banks, farmacy’s
- While doctors, physiotherapists , .. can still work it has gotten considerably harder to see them for anything non – essential
- Mouth-masks are not obligated since they are required for medical staff and are short on supply
- It does seem like we are at the peek now. Even though the number of infected is still on the rise the most important number is the amount of people that are actually in the hospital, and this number is slowly dropping (the orange line is the actual number of people in the hospital, the red line is the people on intensive care).
#1 In my personal life
While the beginning of the lockdown I focused more on how to not get infected I now focus more on how to cope with my new situation.
- I started running. I go for a 30 minutes run right away after work, I am so happy to live next to a park right now
- I take a walk during lunchtime. Just these two small things are good for my mental health.
- The fact that I cycle has now come in handy, as in week 2 of the lockdown the Government decided you can no longer take cars to go anywhere. I now cycle to family. Sometimes that means cycling trips of 75km. Not something I do often, but this way at least I see 1-3 people / week. Without this I might not see anyone at all. I do take the scenic route when I visit them, that means beautiful trips alongside the river in the sun!
- I go to the supermarket every 10 days now. I have a list where I write down when I run out on something. The last day I do end up eating pasta quite often. It saves me time, lowers the chances of getting infected and will save me money
- I am happy to see the supermarkets are all stocked up so I will no longer be storing the food I bought extra in march for just in case, and will just eat it instead
- I didn’t see my mom in January but I did Skype with her for the first time ever
- I am happy I bought a VR headset last month, I have bought the game beatsaber this month which is a form of light – fitness
- I have some issues at my back and I am unable to see a physiotherapists since its considered non – essential
#2 At work
My work was a bit ahead of the government as I was already working from home before the lockdown. Its now been 1 month that I work from home.
- I usually see my colleagues once or twice per week after work, but now I have not seen them for a while, at the beginning that was quite hard
- I got used to working from home, I feel neutral about it, but I do miss the afterwork events
- Working at home has been extended until the 1st of June for the company globally, no matter what the governments decide
- Since I can’t travel anymore and I get a bonus for travelling I now need to do without that bonus
- I have an apartment in Amsterdam that I use when I go there for work. My work pays for it, but nobody uses it but me. I have been asked to vacate the place. I really don’t mind to do so, although I am not looking forward to moving everything
#3 Personal travel and holidays
By now its quite clear that there will be no travel outside Europe this year, and even inside Europe will be quite unlikely. Perhaps travel inside Belgium will be possible. My sister had already rented a studio at the sea and is quite happy about that now. I really don’t know if I should be planning to rent something in Belgium but I do know that I will need to do it soon .
At least I live only 1 hour from the beach and just 2-3 from the Arden’s so I can always take day trips even if I do not plan any time “away” from home.
In any case I will not be planning any kind of trips outside Belgium.
#4 In my investments
For now it seems that the stock market is stabilizing but its really hard to predict if it will continue to rise or see another sharp drop.
The easiest for me is to just keep buying at the end of the month as usual with the same amount. I am very bad at timing the market and I can’t predict if the end of the recession is in sight or if its just starting. So I will not invest much more then usual for now, since until we know the full extend of the Corona virus I am sure markets will not know any kind of decent rise. For now I plan to invest more in my trusty SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF at the end of the month, even if it performed horribly so far but it will bounce back eventually.
As you know I am also looking for a house by now some of the effects are becoming clear:
- Its not allowed to show any viewings of houses, so right now there is no new houses entering the market
- Banks now predict a drop in housing prices going up to 6% over a period of 2 years! I would be happy if they stabilize already, but a drop would even be nicer!
- Realtors deny there will be a drop and say they have a huge waiting list of people wanting to see houses when the lockdown is over
- While there is a shortage on the market I am tempted to side with the banks. One million people becoming unemployed must have some effect right?
- I wont change my behavior to buy a house. I will just keep looking and not postpone anything. Of course I need to wait until its allowed again.
My last investments, peer to peer loans I am currently deeming to risky to keep. I have been selling off my loans (you will see an update in my monthly update about that). There is probably opportunities out-there as well since there is a lot of cheap loans on the secondary market right now and if I hadn’t lost so much in Grupeer I would be buying now instead of selling. But as I said my risk – limit was reached there so I prefer to walk out. I am also worried that long term we could see some defaults so I prefer to leave the market there now.
Follow me if you are interested to see how much further my portfolio will crash before I hit rock bottom!