Sooner or later all of this good work is going to pay off. That’s the conventional wisdom. That wisdom doesn’t come with calendar dates but other deadlines in my life do. The foreclosure calendar continues to mark off dates. The later part of sooner or later eventually becomes soon. When is that? That uncertainty exists for many financially distressed people. There’s even a study about that, and I was chosen as a subject. How do unemployed people handle uncertainty and does social class make a difference? I look forward to the scholarly results. In the meantime, I know that uncertainty requires a strong mental gear box that’s ready to shift emotions to the extremes of high or low anytime during the day; and if necessary, a good steering control to miss the biggest potholes.
A friend echoed the sentiment I expressed in a post (The Day Before). Any given breath can be the divide between a troubled past and a positive present followed by a promising future. Every email, phone call, facebook message, chance meeting can be the moment when “I don’t know how I’m going to get through this” becomes “Yes! Time to live again!”
The researcher was nice enough to spend almost two hours learning more about my situation. PhDs are made from collecting, transcribing, analyzing, and reporting on dozens or hundreds of such conversations. He assured me of anonymity. I assured him I wanted the opposite. I can understand many of his subjects wanting to keep their predicament private, but I’m not going to be quiet about it. The best way to keep a ship from sinking is to get all hands to their stations – now. Besides, if everyone kept quiet, no one else would know there were things to fix or reasons to help.
I’ve listed my reasons for optimism, but most of them include significant uncertainty. Most of the optimisms are backed by events that are out of my control. Stocks are driven by the other investors and the companies’ news. Jobs are like the lottery, I can submit an application or buy a ticket, but some authority figure or chance is really in control. Selling my house, selling anything, is in the control of the buyer. I can decide to sell, and pick a price, but the buyer makes the deal.
I do what I can, and move on to the next thing so there are as many opportunities opened as possible. It keeps me busy throughout the day. Some of those opportunities are actually paying me for my time, but so far they only total half of what I need. They are the encouragement to continue. The same situation plays out for almost every unemployed person I know: not enough cash, and so busy we can’t take time to collect and commiserate – except on facebook.
Most of the negative possibilities are also outside of my control. The “If”s make it hard to come up with quick answers to “So, how are you doing?” To anyone asking the question, thanks for asking and also thanks for listening. If you think the lack of certainty is hard to listen to, imagine the internal conversations that happen every hour. Then realize that those conversations can go on for days, and in some cases years. I’m in my 23rd month of unemployment. My home has been for sale for over a year. My portfolio has been irrationally undervalued for longer than both. And my business, while growing well, will do much better as consultations increase. Charitable pricing is a nice way to start, but it doesn’t pay the mortgage.
I’m lucky. Even though my IRA has shrunk, within it remains stocks that have great potential. One in particular, MVIS, is on my mind because its timing is similar to the foreclosure’s timing, but in a good way. There are incredible estimates for MVIS’ value. Let’s take the upside optimistic view of one shareholder and blogger. That estimate is for $1,200 to $1,500 in 2017. Let’s use the $1,200 as a bit of conservatism. If the stock was growing 40% per year, then MVIS would be about $600 in 2015 (Rule of 72). Continue that trend back and MVIS could be worth half of that in 2013, $300. Let me check. As I type we are more than halfway through 2013 and MVIS is ~ $2.20. At $300 per share every ten shares of MVIS is worth about one month’s living expenses. With a thousand shares and MVIS at $300, my mortgage and debt issues are resolved.
The $300 from $2.20 looks like an extreme jump, and it would – or will – be; but MVIS went through a one for eight reverse split. That $300 estimate is more like $37.50. (Note: If your reaction changed, then you have a good example of how the market is affected by psychology and not just math. The market cap stays the same with any split.)
MVIS hasn’t hit those levels because investors are waiting for news. Many of us have bought our tickets (er, shares), but the rest is out of our control. Supposedly very significant progress is being made, but the company can’t tell us about it. We shareholders must look for clues through other companies’ reports, US patent filings, and YouTube videos. (Does this video include MicroVision inside?) Most guesses are for very good news in 2013 (see discussion), which we are more than halfway through.
I told you that to tell you this. Imagine that, even if those estimates are too much, even if they are two times too high, if MVIS hits $150 by the end of the year, then the stock will have to average going up more than a dollar a day. Every day it does that is about a week’s living expenses.
But, I don’t know if it is going to happen. It hasn’t happened so far, but sooner or later the company and the stock can succeed that phenomenally.
Engage the mental clutch and shift gears.
I also don’t know what’s happening with the foreclosure proceedings, but it looks like their schedule probably includes a resolution by the end of the year (the same timing as MVIS). The only entity that does know the foreclosure timing is the mortgage servicer, and they have no incentive to tell me their ultimate plan. Every communication from them includes purposeful uncertainty. Sooner or later I’ll know, unless I get the money to them first.
And that’s the simplified version. Every life has uncertainties, but I’ve never had so many simultaneously and for so long. How do I handle such uncertainty? With a lot of effort, patience, and a hope that the good news comes sooner because at this rate I am running out of later.