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Survey: the impact on you of COVID-19

How is the crisis affecting you?

The impact of COVID-19 is profound for everyone, from changing the way we work, who we can visit, where we can go, how we shop and where we eat. The health threat will stay with us for a long time. Some consequences will be permanent, such as good businesses closing or companies deciding they no longer need expensive city offices. How long before we start to travel overseas again, dine in a crowded restaurant or even stay in a hotel?

Firstlinks (and previously as Cuffelinks) has always been a community of investors, and we have shared experiences and opinions in many surveys over the years. Some of our surveys have generated thousands of responses as readers express their passionate views.

So how are you coping in the current crisis? How is your portfolio performing? What are you investing in now? When do you think the crisis will end? What do you think of the Government's response? How has your own life changed?

We have 10 questions which should take about five minutes to complete, and responses will always remain anonymous. We will publish the full results by Monday given how quickly everything about the market and COVID-19 is changing.


Firstlinks poll - the impact of COVID-19


 

52 Comments
Reader comment
April 13, 2020

I'm buying very specific direct listed Australian securities. Those with low debt and good medium/long term outlooks that have been sold off to ridiculously low prices.

Reader comment
April 13, 2020

As a young, 27-year old who is new to investing, I am truly concerned that I missed my chance to secure stocks at discounted prices that became available a couple weeks ago, but have since had V-shaped recoveries. Of the five stocks that I wanted to buy but could not afford, all five doubled in price over about a week to two weeks. Some trebled in price and some more than quadrupled in price. For example, I wanted to buy Marley Spoon (ASX: MMM) at $0.175 but hesitated only for it to recently reach $1.24. This had a major psychological/emotional impact on me as someone who lost a job mid-year 2019 and has been job seeking since then. The money I could have made from Marley Spoon would have immediately removed all my financial stress and insecurity. I am worried I have missed my best chance to invest for perhaps the next decade of my life or perhaps ever.

Kevin
April 13, 2020

That is reality.You get the chance to buy every day.Every day is a step in the dark.There will be crashes in the future,you will probably hesitate again and miss them,don't worry about it.

I have no idea what Marley Spoon is or does. If you think they are a good company with a long term future then why not buy them @$1.24. If they are worth $100 a share in 20 years time what difference will it make if you spent $180 or $1240 to buy 1000 of them,just a bit of maths and Oh well,missed it .

I've watched Afterpay for around 15 months now.I have no intention of ever buying them,I don't think they have a long term future.I will be proved right or wrong,I will have no regrets whatever happens,I made the choice.

I would love to own CSL .I have looked at them and always thought the price was too high.When they have crashed I have put orders in,that is the day they start rising,CSL shareholders must love me.I put an order in at slightly below market.For an at market order it would have cost me 50 cents a share more No regrets at all,that is my fault.

What you could have done does not matter,what you actually do is very important .

Reader comment
April 12, 2020

Being a husband and wife team in a remote community we are extremely careful. We certainly won't be going on any cruises again. We have been on many cruises and have returned sick on at least half of them. I have been saying for years that cruise ships cannot be completely cleaned in a 3 hour turn around from people disembarking to people embarking.

Reader comment
April 12, 2020

I have now been unemployed for over 10 months and have been receiving the JobSeeker payment for about the same amount of time. I have an undergraduate degree, and Honours degree, and I will be finishing another undergraduate scholarship degree in June this year, yet I have not been able to secure even entry-level jobs the whole time. I am now concerned that it will be even harder to secure any form of employment as whatever positions become available will be quickly filled by those who have recently lost their jobs but who still have recent and long-term job experience - these both being far more desirable to employers than having three degrees and 14 year of casual work experience. Because of this, I do not have the money to invest as heavily as I would truly like to at this important time in the Australian and global economy.

Reader comment
April 12, 2020

People don't get reemployed as quickly as they get laid off. Consumers will be short on cash so discretionary spending will be down. People will have learn't to do with less and save in case there is another hiccup not far down the track. In Australia probably 3/4 of GDP ( a lousy metric) is from services which is way to high. We only need so many local, state and federal bureaucrats, so many unemployed, pensioners, benefit recipients, restaurants, bars, hotels, entertainments etc. Someone has to have the cash to kick start the cycle and keep it going

Geoff
April 12, 2020

I entered the sharemarket back in November 1987 immediately after the 'crash', purchasing mainly LIC's which were down by 33%. Within a couple of years I had doubled my investment value as prices rebounded and dividend reinvestment plans became available. I firmly believe the same scenario exists now. If I were 10 years younger (now 70) I would do the same thing again.

Josh
April 12, 2020


Destruction of capital, much smaller dividends and further asset price falls are what's coming and if people think the government should pay us all a universal income then we are seriously in lala land.(even though that could happen)
Real assets, crypto currencies and asset valuations that make sense is the future but I feel it's going to take a new great depression and a new monetary system before we get out the other side of this mess.

Reader comment
April 11, 2020

This is my first financial crisis in retirement and it is scary!

Reader comment
April 11, 2020

I'd like to see a focused discussion about Modern Monetary Theory over a couple of issues. Exploring the concept, advantages and disadvantages and most importantly searching for an answer to how do we reset the system so that the level of debt that now exists can be managed, and how do we then stop it getting out of control again. Thanks for seeking feedback.

Reader comment
April 11, 2020

It appears to me that the banks were targeted unfairly earlier this year and should have used the words 'maintenance fee instead of ádvice fee'. Perhaps the cost itself was too high a price. And it was never clearly explained about the technical back-up necessary to implement the requirements of ASIC and the costs involved in proviision,installation and training. Why was this never considered?

Reader comment
April 11, 2020

First links should keep up the mantra of informed information if necessary maybe some extra articles if helpful. There is too much information out there but very little of it is fact or helpful.

Reader comment
April 11, 2020

Please keep up your good work in keeping people updated and perhaps feeling less isolated & more connected. It means a lot when often you may not be told that. I like to read comments after articles as it gives me general consensus on a subject instead of my oft-one-eyed view.

Reader comment
April 10, 2020

It's EXTREMELY difficult to "home school" (by 'remote learning' - my 7yo daughter is at a private school) and work from home at the same time, in fact, it's almost impossible because of the distractions involved of trying to do my work and hers too. But there's NO help from the Government for that. If you're a jobseeker or lost your job, you get $1500 a fortnight, tax free. Not bad, seeing as my wage is $2200 after tax and I work (!) How about help for landlords ? It's too easy for tenants to go and claim they can't pay (they don't), and get a 6 month holiday, but if we defer our loan payments, they are STILL compounding against us ! Most landlords are not "rich", we are mum and dad investors just trying to look after ourselves.

Reader comment
April 10, 2020

I was initially very worried about my investments as I saw incredible figures like $15k gone in a day, from investments that represent 20 years of saving and investing. I also had recently ended a work contract so was - am - out of work at the worst possible time, with employers responding after job applications were submitted that they were no longer hiring. Now I am feeling calmer in recognition of how big this is, health-wise, with the value of my investments taking a back seat, and am thankful that our government, unions, thinktanks, media, etc. are working well to lead Australia through this much better than other places.

Tony Smith
April 10, 2020

Many complain about the tax that has to be paid however as soon as things go wrong they are the first to seek government help. I am pleased the government has been able to assist those who don’t have any back up. It will take a long time to repay government debt and the only logical way will be to tax the free pension income status.

Reader comment
April 10, 2020

The question will be how we as a country deal with the fallout of this unprecedented stimulus - will the political class have the strength to withdraw what has been put in place and what are the measures to pay for the overhead. Also, this pandemic should trigger a review of our thinking on the provision of medical services in Australia.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

Paying off the debt (individual, corporate and govt). It was terrible before Covid19 and it will be massively worse now. It's hard to see how this can be achieved without unprecedented pain for everyone other than the fabulously wealthy! We need to learn from this crisis so we are better prepared for the next one. I hope that we can become a more equitable and caring society. The crisis has shown that just about everyone is more valuable (e.g. health care staff, cleaners, supermarket checkout staff, truck drivers and thousands more) to society than ridiculously paid financiers and stock traders who in many cases are simply gambling not investing. The nation's wealth needs to be shared more fairly and we need to return to a system that provides more security for all workers. No hours contracts, underemployment, the gig economy, fake contractor arrangements and the like are all designed to concentrate wealth and leave ordinary people impoverished and frightened for their future. It's time to wake up and start treating each other as we would like to be treated ourselves.

Max
April 12, 2020

Well said

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

The JobKeeper program is a brilliant political idea because it will make the unemployment numbers look good, making the Prime Minister look like a hero. "Look the unemployment numbers didn't go down as much as we feared!" But in reality, all the people on JobKeeper are being paid by the Government to not be on the dole, so they are not counted as "unemployed" in the statistics.

Lyn
April 10, 2020

Agree. The JobKeeper progam has created 2 classes of unemployed and the P.M. says 'we are in this together'? 
No vested interest except it's wrong as know how I would feel if unemployed & 2 classes of payment. It leaves those who were truly unemployed feeling less worth.
And as for free child-care for all including those still in full employment as before, as a taxpayer I object to that as nothing has changed financially for them. I support free childcare for those who have been put off in order to retain places for when they do return to work & believe that was necessary, again, no vested interest in childcare, no grandchildren etc.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

It bottomed hard and fast; I went and geared to the maximum I could get my hands on because you never see prices this cheap, and if they're cheaper, you can always get more. After four years of the US market being overvalued, this was great.

Mike Finley
April 09, 2020

Sold about 70% of my SMSF shares starting on 23march, at a profit into cash,but lost about 12% of the total value because of the unrealised profits .
Our SMSF has been running for about 25 years through the GFC and other various mini disasters.
The GFC cost me a loss of about 45% (Babcock and Brown,Centro and others),but I managed to build the SMSF up again into dividend self sufficiency. with a lot of nervous loss of sleep and hardwork,
This recent setback has made me fatalistic-I really can't see anyway back because in my opinion,the economy will be so devasted for the medium term, that very few shares will be worth buying for dividend for long time.
The so called growth shares will present opportunities for traders,but not for investors.
My current plan is to spend my small dividends and the cash reserves,unless some unusual buy becomes obvious,then go onto the pension.
Feel quite good about all of this,couldn't tolerate the repeat of all that constant daily nervous tension and worry!

Chris
April 09, 2020

How about some help for landlords ? It all seems too easy for tenants to refuse to pay rent, but as a landlord, even if you defer your loan payments, it's still there in the background, compounding away against you. How about their rent debt compounds against them ? Fair's fair.

Liz
April 09, 2020

I'm a landlady, & dread having to make "an agreement" with either of my 2 lots of tenants, as, being retired, I live off the income that's left after paying the rentals running expenses.
I just can't live on less than the nett amounts that I receive!

Neil
April 10, 2020

Yes I agree Tenants should have to repay rent or at least the interest and strata costs etc. This will put them on an equal footing as owners with mortgages.
It seems that the community views all investors as being very rich when everyone should be investing some of their income

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

As self-funded retirees, I have increased our cash holdings to 5 years living costs from 3 years previously, and factored in a 30 to 50% decline in income over next 5 years. This gives us more peace of mind. Have also reset super pension income to new minimums to preserve amount in Super.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

Learning Excel and about commodities futures trading.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

We are extremely lucky. We have sufficient assets to work because I want to not because I need to. I have been contracting for a number of years and after a short soft period, have plenty of work. And as I was working remotely in a prior role, working from home is not a large change (and actually in some ways preferred). The only downside is not having the ability to have coffee meetings with people.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

Must admit Firstlinks is a great publication but already receiving far too many emails from others. I think it is well targeted and very comprehensive. Always look forward to receiving it. Congratulations.

Daryl Lee
April 09, 2020

Hear Hear to "Must admit Firstlinks is a ............."

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

“Don’t know” can be the only correct answer, the rest are guesses. But I think that damage has a only been a loss of trade, which will be temporary. Consumer patterns could change as people become more risk aware.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

Only time will tell Dollar cost averaging on the way down is my approach combined with switching out of stocks that have held up well into index ETF’s which have fallen significantly

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

No one is going to ring a bell and say the market has now bottomed. Believe now is the time to top up on well capitalised stock with good business fundamentals, strong balance sheet and little debt e.g. Wesfarmers

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

I manage three businesses. Two have seen an uptick in activity and revenue, we are managing WFM arrangements well. The third was a co-working facility in Sydney, we have decided to close it down.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

As a country we need to be more self sufficient across the board. We need to diversify away from China as does the rest of the world. I’m hoping Australians will have learnt about what is really important in life for contentment. Move away from the selfish, opinionated society we had become. I’m not holding my breath though???????

Reader comments
April 09, 2020

I think people will continue to congregate in metropolitan cities, we re social creatures. But the traditional office space will change and the rise of co-working type facilities will continue. Where and how we work will change. Philosophically perhaps we will be a kinder species, cherish the time we have with family, enjoy travel and culture we get to experience, maybe even realise our limitations and vulnerability... call me a dreamer!

Reader feedback
April 09, 2020

Firstlinks is an excellent source of information

Reader feedback
April 09, 2020

Rregardless of the crisis you should publish more! Can I suggest a broader range of viewpoints... you have proven to be a diligent editor and your panel is excellent. But as an avid reader of your content I am keen to be stretched, who else do you know? What divergent/contrarian investor views could you add into the mix?

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

Within the range of possible reactions to Covid, we have implemented our chosen strategy well. There are other models for reaction that IMHO would have been better (eg Holland). Time will tell who is right.

Stan
April 09, 2020

Netherlands population 17.3 M.cases 21000, daily increase about 1000,deaths 2255
Australia 24.6 M. cases 6000,daily increase about 100 (max was 400),deaths 50
(From John Hopkins daily update)

Chris
April 09, 2020

Europe was an awful reaction model because it essentially had open borders, thanks to the EU and in particular, Merkel. At least here, we have "tyranny of distance" that has worked well", at least in SA / NT and TAS. If the NSW politicians had actually done the right thing with the cruise ships, it would likely have resulted in FAR fewer infections.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

There has been a general overreaction in terms of inconsistent police action that has no relevance to actual disease transmission. isolation of vulnerable people could have achieved same result.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

Accessing superannuation early is very dangerous. Only the poor will do it, which makes that policy even worse. So they are extracting super after it has been hit by the largest sell-off of the last 50+ years, and that money will never go back in. My rough calculations are that $20k was worth $25k 3 months ago (35% sell off). So already it's a bad decision. AND for a 35 year old that $20k compounded at 8% would be worth $185k at retirement. It is a monumental error in policy.

Ros
April 09, 2020

Yes, it makes no sense at all if they want self-funded retirees.

Trevor
April 09, 2020

Regarding Self Funded Retirement, the Government confiscates money by using low interest rates, so anyone having Bank Hybrid products receives less, Hybrid values fall, less income for retirees.
Pity any retiree who had bank shares to part fund retirement living expenses. Stopping dividends, what a plan. It is just to prevent the Government having to bail out the Banks again. As for the banks capitalising interest of held over home loans, putting a hold on loans only prevents loans becoming impaired, meaning the Banks would have to raise more Capital, foreclose on housing mortgages and bring on the much awaited housing price falls. All in favour of Banks, who would have thought.
Of course, the Banks may Capitalise the dividends forgone when they begin paying them. Will they still declare Profits/Losses and state the dividends that they would have payed, but now, on a gentle word from the Government, now choose not to pay?

Ruth
April 11, 2020

I disagree because I have doubts about whether they will ever see the money. Our super savings represent a honey pot and there have been so many changes over my lifetime (I am 60) it is impossible for me to believe they will not dip into it when it comes time to repair the budget. Each individual's situation is different, but for some, grabbing it now may be best for them, if they put it to a worthwhile purpose.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

I am not a fan of the coalition government but feel that they have abandoned their ideology for the well being of the country. I particularly like the Jobkeeper program.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

My view is recovery depends on the date of peak infection, which I think is still uncertain. It may have been in the last week or may be in the next few months.

Reader comment
April 09, 2020

I can’t understand why his rebound. The data is disastrous and the 1st wave isn’t even half way thru, let alone the 2nd and 3rd.

IGNATIUS RASIAH
April 09, 2020

I am part pensioner getting the least amount of money from Centrelink. My income is mostly from my shares. Government is advising banks to reduce dividends. They should then give a universal pension to everyone who meets the requirements.

Jan
April 09, 2020

I have most of my money in cash but with no interest income on cash and share prices 20% down and no idea where the bottom will be, buying shares is not appealing at present. So, I am solely reliant on income from dividends. The decision by many companies to defer dividends is an absolute disaster for me Like many self-funded retirees, I face the prospect of real income destruction, and little hope of recouping the losses.

 

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