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  • Writer's pictureGary Grewal

Happy Halloween! Some Spooky News?

(We're lucky to have a neighbor who is incredibly talented at pumpkin carving, I mean just look at that lineup!)

Ah, October, the official start of Fall! Well, I know it's technically September, but when you have 90+ degree days I'm sorry it's not fall. Plus October has so much going for it. October is when:

  • Fall foliage is peak in many parts of the country.

  • Temperatures are mild (and less thunderstorms in Colorado, which means the rainfly on the tent comes off!)

  • Fall festivals, and pumpkin patches

  • Halloween decor, haunted houses, costume parties, and scary movies

  • TONS of fall produce comes into peak season (persimmons and squash anyone?

  • A lot of great restaurants release their fall menus (unlike SOME chains that bring pumpkin in August..mmm just can't wait to have a pumpkin chai latte with my watermelon)

  • Trader Joe's comes out with a lot of their fall favorites (I think that happens in September but whatever, one of the employees told me that once October comes, they receive their full lineup of fall items, and there's more to choose from since the pumpkin spice fanatics cleared out their inventory on Labor Day)

  • Q3 bonuses are paid out...wait that already happens 4 times a year :)

It's the Most Wonderful Time of The Year, Not Tax Season

As you can see, I'm very bullish on October each year. It's just that special time of year when there is so much to look forward to, the weather is nice, the colors are changing, and you can go on a weekend trip without long lines everywhere.

What's so special about fall, and other seasons, is that they are fleeting, so they force us to live in the present before it's gone (unless you're one of those people who plan their "Christmas Shopping Excursions" as you chow down on leftover Halloween Candy).

What's even more special about fall is that we have a physical reminder that the seasons are changing, and won't last long: fall foliage. I might be biased, but I think fall foliage is way more exciting than Spring blooms. As the final leaves fall and the color turns, we have the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas to look forward to!

As for winter, I don't know who actually looks forward to that. Short days, cold weather, no holidays, and January is just a blah month!

So what else is changing besides the colors this fall?

No More Monthly Updates

Don't be sad, this isn't goodbye! This is just a reset and refocus on other endeavors in life and making sure I don't clog your inbox every month unless there is something of value and significance to share.

I know it's just once a month, but we are all short of time and attention these days, so it's hopefully you see this as a gift to take the extra 5-10 minutes you'd spend reading a blog, and maybe go for a walk instead (listening to the Financial Fives audiobook of course, and maybe while enjoying some fall colors in your neck of the woods!)

Life changes and my new work/business endeavors take more time, and I want to make sure I reward my readers with good, juicy content if they take the time to read and support Financial Fives.

A little while ago one of my fellow FI enthusiasts wrote about how blogging seems to be declining as other forms of media consumption, like podcasts, become more popular.

I think that's the case, but I also feel there will always be an audience for blogs. Just like not everyone listens to the audiobook version of a book, they prefer the physical book so they can turn the pages (and not add to the time they have their eyes glued to a screen).

When Oh When Will the Buyer's Market Come Back?

We're also in fairly interesting times. Although there has been noise about a recession or, which I find ridiculous, a "housing recession", people still seem to be doing fine.

Jobs are still plentiful in most sectors, the market has been buoyant, and housing continues to defy logic and fundamentals, with prices continuing to increase despite such high interest rates (the pros blame the lack of inventory).

I've heard some journalists call this a "buyer's market" simply because buyers now don't have to compete so strongly with other offers. I found that laughable.

No, it was a buyer's market maybe 8-14 years ago when choices were plentiful AND prices were more in line with fundamentals. Paying 10% less for a house that went up 45% in 3 years is not a buyer's market deal, it's a recipe for disaster.

People are making it work, I just don't know how. Even my usually logical uncle said maybe a bunch of people got inheritances after so many people died during the pandemic, yet even he is dumbfounded at how so many, especially younger families, are making it work in today's economic environment.

Even SNL Makes Fun of Us and Our Zest for Zillow

Perusing Zillow, I saw floor plans of homes that sold for $700k during the last bubble being marketed at about double, yes DOUBLE the price now.

Out of curiosity, I went on a bike ride to these new neighborhoods and was shocked to see how many homes were sold and occupied. In addition to being occupied, those I saw were younger, typically young parents, and also had brand-new cars in the driveway.

People are driving nice cars, yet the average monthly car payment is at a record high, not to mention an increase in car repossessions.

Rent is going up, and housing prices haven't come down to 2019 levels, even after an increase in rates, bank failures, and increasing concern about a recession.

I'd suggest you all try to recognize the vulnerability of your income. Now, if you're in municipal services, healthcare, or another industry that stays constant, you might be safer than others.

How Safe is Your Job? Or your Other Income?

However, think of some alternative scenarios. If you lose your income tomorrow, how much longer can you pay rent/mortgage? Can you get rid of any debts right now? If you've been using your savings to beat inflation, can you move back in with your family to build it back up again?

Prices have been going up since 2012, but then we had the anomaly of a pandemic, and prices went crazy. How is it that they can be sustained as high as they are?

Interest rates have been very low for much of that time as well, as we recovered from the Great Recession. However, all the influx from the pandemic relief programs added a lot of fuel to the economy, hence why we are facing some high inflation.

I don't know how some people are making it work. And I also don't understand how we can have such a "shortage" of housing suddenly, even after building millions of homes.

Where were all these people living in 2009-2015? If home prices generally increase with the pace of inflation, what the heck has been happening the last 3 years? I especially want to know what kind of millennials can afford to buy $1.5 million homes. Who are you?

That's it for now, please be sure to keep an eye out for the next post, read (or re-read) another chapter in the book, if you're missing some saucy financial advice, and reach out with anything you'd like to share!

And remember, just because something is on sale (looking at you Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers) doesn't mean you need it. If you wouldn't have bought it when it wasn't on sale, don't buy it now!

Happy Trick-or-Treating!

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