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Is 2020 The Worst Year In History?

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Forge Your Wealth is meant for education and entertainment and should not be used for financial advice.

Remember 2008? This was the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression so far. Now 2020 is here. We have a contender for the title! Some even argue this could be a new depression, although that may not be likely. But I have heard people claim that these are two once in a lifetime, maybe even in history events. My generation feels like we have been dealt a terrible hand. Honestly, we have. But then again pretty much every generation has.

I do not think 2020 is the worst year ever, in fact it will be far from the largest blip in history. There are many events in history that have paralyzed society deeper than anything 2020 has thrown at us yet.

The Worst Decade In Modern History

Believe it or not, but I do not think this generation was given the shortest stick in modern history. I would say that the Greatest Generation, or the generation born just before 1924 was given the shortest stick in modern history. This generation has gone through two world wars, a depression, the Great Depression (yeah they went through not one but two depressions), and a recession pretty much every 3 years till the 1950s. Oh did I mention the Spanish Flu? The disease that killed 50 million people, almost fifty times what the Coronavirus killed so far.

For this pandemic to be equal to the Spanish Flu 200 million people need to die since the world population is four times that of hundred years ago. I hope we will never reach those numbers and I doubt we will.

2020 is not the worst year in history just considering almost any single one of these events aside from the recessions.

Baby Boomer Generation

The Baby Boomer generation may have the most wealth. And people associate this with luck. Apparently, I am one of the few people in the world who knows that investing, even saving over a few decades tends to forge your wealth. Trust me, give it time and gen Xers and Millennials will have their majority share of the wealth one day. With any luck the share of wealth will be diverse among races and genders unlike previous generations.

Economic Troubles

There were many events Baby Boomers faced that did not make them feel lucky. There were numerous recessions, mostly caused by almost two decades of The Great Inflation, an economic event called “the greatest failure of American macroeconomic policy in the postwar era.”

During this time inflation rates were as high as 14%. You know how I said to invest to beat the average 2-3% inflation? Try to do that with and inflation rate of 14%. Economic growth was slow and unemployment was consistently high at around 7-10%. This was a high unemployment rate for about a decade. Our unemployment crisis right now is most likely going to be a sharper but more temporary employment crisis.

Baby Boomer Epidemics

The Baby Boomer generation faced many epidemics. H2N2 killed 1.1 million people in a single year. A number we have not yet exceeded with a novel Coronavirus and twice the global population compared to back then. Unfortunately, we may exceed those in absolute numbers.

Polio and smallpox were still a thing during the Baby Boomer’s time. Would any of you trade the Coronavirus for either of those with no vaccine? Covid-19 is (luckily) far from the worst pandemic we ever had. Admittedly, it could have been worse, especially if we did not take the measures we have. However, the drastic measures we took affected the world broadly by itself. We will only see the total effects this had in the near future.

Other Events

Am I missing anything? Oh yeah, continuous nuclear threats. The Cold War was a fearful time with people scared of nuclear attacks. These fears were not irrational. There were many close calls. In one incident we were almost literally a finger twitch away from nuclear war.

During the Cuban Missile Crisis a Soviet B-59 sub was being bombarded by a US destroyer with the intent to force the sub to surface. The submarine crew was scared and the captain wanted to use their nuclear warhead torpedo. If this happened it would have all but guaranteed the feared and dreaded nuclear war people were trying to avoid. The reason this did not happen is because of the second in command, Vasili Arkhipov. He refused consent and convinced the captain to surface the sub instead.

I would actually like you to remember the name Vasili Arkhipov and tell his story to others. There are very few individuals whose actions have impacted all of humanity positively like his have. The fact that Vasili Arkhipov is not a household name is evidence enough that we have no idea of how truly on edge the world was and how it is laughable that some believe 2020 is the worst year in history.

How To Get Around The Bad Hand Dealt

2020 is almost certainly not the worst year in history. But it is far from the best. Regardless of how terrible history was current generations have been dealt a bad hand. Like a hand of cards though, you cannot just be re-dealt a new hand when the game is on, you need to play them. But you can always choose how to play your cards in a game, just as you can in life.

Know When To Hold Them And Know When To Fold Them

In poker even the worst hands can win the pot. Modern investing platforms allow people to invest with only a handful of cash both in stocks, and even real estate. There are many ways to start revenue making businesses with just a little money. Applying the capital wisely could lead to a solid income source.

Furthermore, many investors including myself are a little cautious about traditional investments. Many investors may be looking into alternative markets for investments. You will probably never have a better chance to find investors. Maybe your idea could be the next big thing and you do not know it.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the best hands can lose. I once lost a full house to a royal flush (and no, I was not mad about that, it was a ROYAL FLUSH, most people die without seeing such a hand). Many of the largest and most successful businesses have failed during a recession. The reasons usually include lowering quality and cutting in development.

Even the best scenarios do not equal success. Take a look at Quibi. Everyone has heard of it, but considering that Quibi has fewer than 6 million subscribers and lost most of their early subscribers, it would be smart to believe you have not seen their content. But why? They were a video subscription service with over a billion in capital, and some of the best people behind it. Oh! It was also developed during the Coronavirus Crisis when the average time watching video definitely increased. The stars could not have aligned any better for this platform to breakout. However, poor choices including the wrong target audience forced them down a road to near failure. Even the best hands can lose if played wrong.

Final Thoughts

2020 is not the worst year in history. Do I understand why my generation feels like 2020 the worst year in history? Yes and no. 2020 definitely has fewer good options available for the general public. But one thing my generation and everyone must remember is that the world never promised us any options much less good ones. But there are still some good options to try out there, you just need to find them.

If you lost your job, you can revive your resume and try to find a new one or even take take free classes to learn a valuable skill including coding. You could revise your investing strategy to try to keep your money, or even make a little. It is not the years that make the life, but the life that makes the year(s).

Author: Papa Foxtrot

Most of my life I was careful with money and learned where I should invest it. I was very lucky to have parents who taught me financial literacy when I was young. Unfortunately, I am very lucky because many people lack the financial literacy I know. The purpose of Forge Your Wealth is to teach people who are just starting out in life how to obtain their wealth or anyone who just realized they may need to learn more to handle their finances. I currently have a PhD in biochemistry, just started a job in industry (will not disclose where exactly for personal and professional reasons) and am currently married to the love of my life. I am one of the lucky few people in America who graduated with no student debts, my wife was not. Over the series of a little over 3 years we paid for our wedding with no debt and paid off her federal student loans.

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