Lessons learnt. Or maybe learned.
I often intimate that the Big Short was a masterpiece in storytelling. Insofar as it took something quite complex and turned it into a compelling (and more or less understandable) narrative with likeable characters (I don’t think in real life any of them really are). In any event, one scene in particular has always resonated with me as some sort of portent.
Its where Mark Baum (Steve Carrels character) is trying to talk to the stripper about her Option-pay-adjustables and he drops a truth-bomb on her that her monthly payments could go up two to three hundred percent.
She incredulously asks, “Two hundred percent? On all my loans?”
Mark : “What do you mean all my loans? We’re talking about two loans on one house, right?”
Dancer : “I have five houses. And a condo!”
He leaves the strip club on the phone, “… its a bubble!”
I have no idea how Mark actually came to the realization that there was a housing bubble. But that was a cool (and potentially apt) piece of storytelling.
I think there is an adage that I remember hearing once about when your barber is giving you stock-tips or marketing you crypto, its time to sell. (Although maybe nowadays maybe its getting financial advice off Tiktok)
Which brings us to the present. Or twenty twenty two. And how, I’m getting a distinct feeling of Deja-vu. (which, because I’m old, and also a little childish, immediately makes me quote Top Secret out-loud in my best faux-french-accent)
Du Quois : “This is Chevalier, Montage, Detente, Avant Garde, and Deja Vu”
Deja Vu : “Haven’t we met before monsieur?”
I then laugh at my own joke. (someone has to)
When they make the movie about this crash… well, hopefully it will be mild enough not to warrant its own movie (because I don’t really want everyone to get murdered), but the basic premise might be how for a decade, the market basically went in one direction, an entire generation left school and got to their thirties without every having experienced a significant downturn. Stonks only go up!
Robinhood option traders, Stimmie-checks, a federal reserve printing money at an eye-watering clip, Exchange traded funds dumping money into already over valued stocks. Bank bailouts. Negative interest rates. I mean the signs were all there right?
We should have had our correction already back in 2020. Remember when the governments of the world (quite capriciously I feel) flicked the off switch and sent everyone home and when the stock-market drunk crawled out onto the road, and they propped it up artificially by making it snort cocaine and stuffing it full of amphetamines. I mean we all know this story by now. (and this should not be blindsiding anyone that these sorts of actions have consequences)
In any event, this morning I saw something that made me pause. And then made me think of Mark Baums stripper…
Initially I cocked to my head to one side. (like my German shepherd might do when its confused, willing the brain cell to roll from one end to the other, me I mean, my German is actually way smarter)
Someone can’t be this… I initially use a meaner adjective… but finally settle on naive.
Headlines pronouncing an imminent housing market collapse are probably clickbait. But a serious downturn in the housing market, sure that will probably be a thing soon given how people with debt (especially mortgages) are suddenly staring down the double barrel of having to pay more every month for their home (without compensatory wage increases) AND potentially if they had to sell that house, not being able to get what they paid for it. Coupled obviously, with a complete misunderstanding about how any of this works.
Is this the final nail in the coffin of your average millennial, finally getting killed off by rising interest rates, inflation and crude oil, with all their hard earning savings in dollar pegged crypto, stablecoins and GME call options?
Being a GenX’r I’m contemptuous of anyone born after… I dunno… ’95. Because, we’re the best (obviously). Participation trophies can’t compete with a kid whose parents dropped them off at the bike park without a helmet and then let them cycle home.
But an entire of generation getting wiped out and just never able to accumulate any wealth is bad for everyone. Who is going to buy the superfluous crap the GenXr’s manufacture in their factories?
So there’s that wrinkle.
Its probably not the end of the world though. Even if you are a squishy millennial. Because… well… if ’08 wasn’t the end, and really, that was 1 minute to midnight, this will probably turn out okay. Y’all still have time on your side.
And just like back in ’08 we will take the lesson we’ve learnt from all of this upheaval, we’ll moderate our existence and temper our base instincts for endless consumption. And the world will be a better place from hereon out.
Oh… wait… that didn’t happen. What were the lessons from ’08 again, I can’t even remember anymore? Oh right, when a stripper tells you she has six leveraged properties, get out of property and into short positions.