The empty streets and restaurants in Singapore were suddenly brimming with people on Friday night. Orchard Road was once again a hive of activity.
Was the World Health Organisation, which has been fawning over China’s handling of the Covid-19 virus outbreak, about to announce a miracle cure for the flu-like disease?
A quick check on my phone showed nothing of the kind. What’s more, the Singapore government’s DORSCON warning level was still orange.
So, what could explain the unexpected, but nonetheless gratifying, increase in the number of people on the streets of Singapore? Silly me – it was Valentine’s Day, of course. And we all know that the Covid-19 virus doesn’t strike on Valentine’s Day!
Of course, it does. The Covid-19 virus doesn’t respect the day of the week, the month of the year, national boundaries, social demographics or nationalities.
A top priority
But Valentine’s Day is so special for so many people that even the Covid-19 virus is not going to stand in their way. They are going to make celebration a priority, regardless.
My point is that there are some things that are more important than the Covid-19 virus. Sure, the outbreak could slow global economic growth for one or, maybe, two quarters. Some countries might even sink into recession.
But just as Valentine’s Day was a priority for many couples, our financial welfare should be the primary concern for all of us, always. We need to look through, look past and look beyond the Covid-19 virus, which means focussing on the long term.
In 10 or perhaps 20 years’ time, many of us won’t even remember the Covid-19 virus. But we could be paying the price for our procrastination today, especially when we find that we struggle to make ends meet tomorrow.
The viral epidemic could prompt central banks to inject more money into the global economy. That could mean interest rates that were already going to remain lower for longer, go even lower and persist for much longer.
The upshot is that the Covid-19 virus, apart from being a global health risk, could be a risk to our personal financial wellbeing if we let it.
So, don’t stop investing. I have been buying more good shares for my portfolio because I know that my investments today will continue to reward me long after the Covid-19 virus becomes yesterday’s news.
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Disclosure: David Kuo does not own shares in any of the companies mentioned.