Sit patiently with paper poised and ready to wipe floor

Bruce Brammall, The West Australian, 9 March, 2019

Running out of toilet paper

Mrs DebtMan and I backed the truck up to the bank a few years ago, borrowed until our noses bled, and renovated the house.

We got a couple of bedrooms, a bathroom and a hangout upstairs for the kids and more space for all downstairs.

But I’m now thinking we got it horribly wrong. We should have gone DOWN! Built an underground bunker. A bomb shelter. For the coming apocalypse.

Clearly, the walls of that bomb shelter should have been lined, floor to ceiling, with boxes of tissues, toilet paper, tinned spaghetti, dried pasta and bags of flour and rice.

We all should have seen the coronavirus coming. We were due for a bout of panic. Sometimes, with hindsight, you see the telltale signs you missed. This time around, damnit, it was so obvious! Karl Stefanovic’s return to breakfast TV.

But we missed it. And you know why, because trying to predict global madness is tougher than trying to predict where the next virus will come from – swines, birds, whatever small-brained animals SARS came from, or coronas.

What is the likelihood that this pandemic/apocalypse/bogroll shortage will actually lead to civilisation collapsing, now priced in at about 50 per cent?

Not great, I’m tipping. Certainly not to current frenzied levels.

So, what should we, as punters, be doing?


For investors … you know where this is going … be ready with your cash on the sidelines.

Like SARS and Brexit and every other exaggerated pants-pooping moment in stock markets in history, this will most likely end up nothing more than a great buying opportunity.

That is, nine times out of 10 it will. There’s a chance we might be witnessing the beginning of the end. Or at least the start of a GFC or Great Depression.

I doubt it. Investors who have just come into cash, or spent last year on the sidelines, should probably be starting to think about “averaging in”. The ASX 200 is off about 30 per cent.

Covid-19 will flush through the system. Apparently, with a lot of toilet paper.

Very good chance that anything you buy now will have you feeling like you picked a 50-1 Melbourne Cup winner a couple of years from now.

Don’t panic if you don’t need to.

If you’re under 50/55 and worried about your super, then you’re giving yourselves grey hairs for nothing. This will be a blip. You’ve got plenty of time. You can’t touch your super for a long time and it will recover.

If you’re conservatively invested – that is, a decent proportion of your money is in fixed interest and cash – don’t worry, be happy. Fixed interest has done very well this year, as a safe haven. It hasn’t made up for the losses in equities, but it has cushioned the blow, significantly.

Markets fall faster than they gain. Don’t expect a fast 30 per cent rebound. If you’re thinking of taking advantage of the recent tumble, accept it will take time.

Lastly, take my sister-in-law’s advice. Make one last visit to the loo before you leave the office.

Bruce Brammall is the author of Mortgages Made Easy and is both a financial advisor and mortgage broker. E:


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