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Are YOU better off now than you were before COVID-19?


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Obviously things have gotten more expensive and in a future pandemic we might simply go to work instead of shutting things down but my question is about how we are doing as individuals.

In my personal case renters kept paying rent, no mortgage and money has accumulated as usual considering I have always lived way below my possibilities.

Your thoughs!

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I’m in much better shape now than I was in 2020.  My combined asset portfolio at the end of 2023 is up over 15% and so far in 2024 I’m up an additional 5%.   I’m a fairly conservative investor and usually buy and hold for the long term.  This philosophy has served me well.  Now that I’m a septuagenarian I’m beginning to reduce my holdings via gifts and donations to charitable organizations.  

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Financially: Maybe, my net worth has finally climbed back up to where it was four years ago.

Relationships: No.  It seems all my friends that I used to meet weekly to socialize at the gay bar are now accustomed to staying home.  We all used to host monthly parties, but now just stay home.  It is hard to even get my single friends to want to go out for dinner, as part of their new routine of self isolation and home delivery.

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I know that everyone’s situation is different, but I was expecting everyone to say yes to this question. The market is up about 45% since Feb 2020. Home prices sky rocketed. Surely many of the people on this forum own substantial amounts of stock and real estate. 
I’m definitely better off, and I include my social life in that statement. Covid was a chance to get very close to people without the distractions of our normally-busy lives. Those bonds have lasted for me.

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Well I’m 4 years older (like everyone else) but feeling my age more now. Still staying active but as I approach 80 in a few years I realize that I will be slowing down. 
As far as this hobby goes I may end up doing more massages and fewer escort sessions. Up to now I have enjoyed the full service approach. 
Financially COVID didn’t impact me at all. My house went up in value but I have no plans to sell it. My pensions weren’t affected and are fully indexed to inflation. 

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I feel better off now in terms of available cash flow but that's entirely because I had not started to collect my pension at the start of the pandemic and was spending accrued savings. Since my pension was a lump sum in the pension fund (and would yield an incrementally higher fortnightly payment the longer I delayed starting to draw it down) my then-and-now comparison is an illusion. I have other tax-exposed investments and a tax-protected pension fund that I know are there but don't factor in to my day-to-day financial situation. In the last four years I haven't been spending all my pension income, and six months ago paid cash for a new[er] car, and have been travelling, including hotel rates I would have blanched at in the past (I'm looking at you, InnDulge) and paying to sit closer to the front of the aeroplane.

Like @Luv2play my pension is CPI indexed, biannually in my case, and my house has increased in value but I'm not planning to sell it so its value is, for now, immaterial. So whether it's real, an illusion or just that I have settled into a new pattern, I feel better off now than I did in 2020.

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9 hours ago, mike carey said:

Like @Luv2play my pension is CPI indexed, biannually in my case, and my house has increased in value but I'm not planning to sell it so its value is, for now, immaterial. So whether it's real, an illusion or just that I have settled into a new pattern, I feel better off now than I did in 2020.

But an Australian told me the pensions there are not really generous.  Like $2000 a month for an individual and $3000 a month for couples.  In US dollars that's 30% less.

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2 minutes ago, augustus said:

But an Australian told me the pensions there are not really generous.  Like $2000 a month for an individual and $3000 a month for couples.  In US dollars that's 30% less.

Yes, the government pension (funded from the current government budget not prior individual contributions, and open to everyone but means tested on a sliding scale based on other income and on assets), is poverty level. I don't qualify for that. Mine is one funded by my lifetime pre-tax contributions, and employer contributions over my career. It started out as a military retirement scheme but was rolled into a fund that complied with the mandatory national superannuation scheme when it was implemented in the 90s.

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In most ways, my situation has largely stayed the same pre- and post-COVID (finances, social, personal, etc.) with one MAJOR difference (on the plus side): I now work exclusively from home. This has been something I've wanted my entire career, and it was only because of COVID that I got it, and honestly, it really is everything I thought it would be. Possibly even better!

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  • 2 weeks later...

I’m also better off financially. My income properties have all doubled in value since 2015. My tenants maintained their payments through the pandemic and I’ve been able to get steady increases as leases renew. My portfolio is well invested and diverse and I have other real estate development investments. Great health and friends. I’m thankful for my good fortune.

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Better and worse.  My retirement savings have appreciated a subsatantial amount.  I have  close to 1 million in equity  in our house.      On the negative side I came down with an autoimmune disease in mid-2022 and my income took a nosedive because my health made working so difficult.  I have started a new business and am looking forward to a great 2024. 

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On 1/26/2024 at 11:00 AM, Bokomaru said:

I know that everyone’s situation is different, but I was expecting everyone to say yes to this question. The market is up about 45% since Feb 2020. Home prices sky rocketed. Surely many of the people on this forum own substantial amounts of stock and real estate. 

I expected the same.  Most posters have in fact said they are substantially better off.  For the reasons you said.  Add me to the club.  Homes:  way up.  Stocks:  way up.

The silver lining on the COVID cloud for me is I learned the joy of gifting.  My net worth was going up so much on paper that I decided to gift a condo to a friend.  I bought it as a favor when he was about to be evicted a few years back.  He was a tenant I didn't want, since he is also a close friend.  So during COVID I said, "WTF?"  Same with my inheritance from my parents, the last of whom died right before COVID.  Gave it away to a sister, and nieces and nephews.  COVID was good to me.  And I was good to people I love.

Why Americans feel pessimistic about their economic future

I know the question was a personal one.  But that article was particularly good in terms of spelling out why so many people feel so stressed.  None of the key phrases surprise me.  Rent:  way up.  Daycare:  more expensive.  Student loans:  coming back.  Expanded child tax credits:  gone.  For families with young kids who don't own homes and have student loans it is very understandable why they are stressed out.  But they are not the ones posting here.

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