Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Avoid The Rough Seas Of Mass Hysteria

I was on a battered old excuse for a barge sputtering along noisily between the many islands of Indonesia. I had just nearly escaped being eaten by a Komodo dragon and was fighting for a place to stretch-out on above the slosh of saltwater, sweat and other unfortunate body fluids (or remnants of lunch) while en route to Sumbawa.

I’d been traveling in Indonesia for nearly 5 months, learning the culture and geography of the land.

Indonesian people are always friendly. They kindly greet every traveler with a loud “Hello Mister!” regardless of gender. But one strange consistency I experienced was that some Indonesians don’t travel well. Buses, ferries and trains were always packed full of travel sick locals. In Indonesia it’s easy to gorge oneself on the sweet and greasy foods offered at odd hours of the night and then get sick on whatever mode of transport you’re on and whomever you’re near.

On this occasion the seas where a bit choppier than usual and the boat quaked and swayed like a one-legged flamenco dancer. I quietly watched one passenger, who earlier was the envy of us all for he had a hammock, get battered from ceiling to floor as his hammock upturned and released him to the pull of gravity. Then those fragile souls who had no control of their stomachs began to empty them in mass exodus.

One man, a man named Nolan, came forth and offered sage advice “Ride the Wave” he said, ”Don’t panic”.

See, travel sickness has some sort of mass psychology – one person starts and everyone follows, caught up in a flood of nausea they submit.

That reminds me a little bit of the stock market the past couple of weeks– maybe not as extreme but at least similar. Granted, the stock market gave reason to turn your gut (I know a few bargain hunters that are smiling though).

Panicking to list your house for sale is also type of half-hearted hysteria. Nolan’s comment of “Don’t panic, ride the wave” is good advice.

It may be time to remind ourselves that markets rise and fall. And within that ebb lays opportunity. Stock markets are more knee-jerking than Real Estate but if you have a plan to hedge against a sudden stock downturn you’ll not only cover yourself, you’ll make a tidy profit.

As predicted, Edmonton’s entering into a brief buyer’s market where the economic fundamentals remain strong, giving us the chance to cherry pick the best properties.

Join me to take advantage of this lull before we begin the next wave of ascent.

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