Titles should have useful tags. There should be a key word in there that people, twitter, and the search engines all recognize. Not this time. Life doesn’t follow our rules, or maybe life follows our rules in its own way. Over the last few months it has been apparent that something has to change, and change soon. Possibly on demand, life is changing; but, life is changing at its own pace with the swings that any plan always experiences. The stock market is celebrating a record high. The housing and job markets appear to be recovering. Markets are big accumulated statistics. Some individuals will fare better. Some will fare worse. Most will have a mix shifted by the trend. Personally, it is too soon to tell, but the signs are positive.
Writers are known for liking quiet places to write. Mark Twain had a studio in a separate building on his property. A video of Neil Gaiman suggests something similar. I know others who have done the same. It is one reason I like my house and its quiet neighborhood. Yet, it is good to break out of such habits occasionally and see if diving into the world changes the writing or the message. This is such a week. I type from time stolen from amidst a family event. CNBC is on as background. Dishes are clinking in the kitchen as someone else cleans up after breakfast. Conversations, vital or casual, form and morph as topics and participants change. I type with iPod earphones installed and a shuffle of songs adding enough audio to create a white noise substantial enough to let the fingers work their way across the keyboard. I know I’m missing some things, but I hope I’m also creating something.
During musical pauses, financial news leaks in. The market is at it’s record high; but where to invest? They say the recovery has been in the big stocks. That makes sense. The “markets” they refer to are really only the indices, and the indices are heavily influenced by the stocks of the largest companies where the big money lives. Small money, like mine from their point of view, in small companies could double, triple, and probably quadruple without an appreciable change in the news. The commentators suggest looking at the small companies, with all the appropriate waffle words and self-protectionary catch phrases included. “See, we told you it would be rewarding.” “See, we told you it was risky.” If you’ve read my book, or followed this blog for long, you’re aware that I my favorite investing strategy is micro-cap and small-cap Long Term Buy and Hold – and eventually sell to reinvest and live. I like small companies and have more patience and risk tolerance than most. It’s worked before. Logic suggests it will work again.
I don’t know how I managed to get to know so many real estate agents. Many of them are excellent dancers. Lately, during our three and a half minutes of a song, most of them are talking about working longer hours. Some are even making money. I get the impression that’s an adjustment. They remember that’s it’s possible. That’s why they stayed in the business. But, it’s hard to believe its real. One in particular knows my story and passed along the encouraging news that the Seattle market is getting busy, multiple offers are happening – and the important part for me – the real estate recovery appears to be happening quickly, rippling out from downtown Seattle. The guesstimate is that my neighborhood will witness the resurgence within two or three months. That makes for an interesting race with my finances, having my house for sale, and the mortgage company’s imminent foreclosure.
Jobs are happening – at least for some I know. Friends are finding part time work. Some with jobs are getting shifts extended. (Audio interlude: laughter in the background. My family has a sense of humor. Ah. Ha.) More jobs, more hours, means more money flowing, which means more work to do. It is an infectious cycle that can be positive like infectious laughter. Several friends with businesses are finding themselves at the breakpoint. They’ve got enough business to warrant hiring more people, but the profits haven’t risen enough to pay for the extra paychecks. They’ve also reached the personal breakpoint which comes from working past midnight too often. I’m optimistic they’ll break through, in a good way.
My business is improving too. Revenues are up. Time with family requires shifted meetings, and even then the meetings bracket family time. Funding campaigns must be launched. Events must be organized and announced. Marketing books and art create overlapping schedules of invested time that hopefully builds and sustains momentum that results in returns that support the artist and the art. The life of a sole-proprietor and currently underfunded entrepreneur is heavily defined by the lack of opportunities for delegation. But, it’s worth the effort because sufficient reserves are possible – eventually. Sooner is better than later.
The general good news of an improving economy is punctuated with the specific details of individuals from either side of the mean. Some are doing extraordinarily better. Vacations, house projects, new cars happen. Others continue to deal with issues that I’ve recently witnessed. Accumulated debt, decreased wages, long-lingering repercussions of actions that seemed like the right thing to do at the time, won’t always resolve themselves at the pace of the markets.
Life is individual. Life is not the accumulated generalities of national news items. Life is personally episodic. It is the sooner or later timing of those episodes that can mean the difference between luxury, ease, comfort, or variations in struggle. The timing isn’t completely left to chance, so I hope, which is why I see a value to persistence and an acceptance of opportunity. Yet, chance isn’t powerless; and is one reason why I don’t expect complete control. (The power of chance is also why I buy lottery tickets.) Besides, in general things are doing better, and chance can work positive wonders – sooner or later.
Ah, some folks ran off on errands. The tv is off. The sun found a way through the clouds. Good timing.