This seems like kind of a weird post to write as we see more and more people getting laid off or struggling for work as the virus spreads, so just bear with me…

I found myself buying some stock yesterday.

Not a lot, really. I think I spent about $150 between two different companies, and the only reason I did is because quite frankly, it was really, really cheap.

That’s kind of the unique perk of the markets tanking like they have over the last couple of weeks – while it’s painful to watch our retirement accounts fall something like 25%, it also presents the opportunity to buy at a discount for however long this market takes to recover.

This is intriguing to me because I don’t like to admit it, but I stopped contributing to my 401k a little over a year ago when our finances weren’t doing so hot. In fact, I doubled down by taking out a 401k loan and then stopping my regular contributions, too, which I’d been otherwise making religiously for a long time, so I’ve been disappointed in my retirement savings whereas it used to be something I felt pretty good about.

I’ve had the conversation with people a few different times now that despite uncertainty in the markets, now isn’t the time to pull your retirement funds. If anything, as long as you’re nowhere near ready for retirement, low points like this are when it’s smart to buy more! So far this year I’ve slowly started limping my 401k contributions back up from 0%, and though they’re nowhere near what I’d like them to be … it’s something.

Anyways, the other day at random I started thinking about some of the businesses currently on hold – namely theme parks and cruise ships – and it wasn’t much of a surprise to see that they’ve really gone south!

As of when I’m writing this (3/19, after market close), here’s what they looked like (compared to one month prior)…

  • Walt Disney Company (DIS) – $94.93, down 34% from $144.63
  • Universal Corporation (UVV) – $44.13, down 12% from $50
  • SeaWorld (SEAS) – $8.54, down 76% from $35.25
  • Six Flags (SIX) – $11.39, down 75% from $45.11
  • Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) – $22.41, down 83% from $133.51
  • Carnival Cruise Lines (CCL) – $10, down 80% from $50.83

Now I honestly don’t think much about individual companies for investments anymore – what little stock I did own, I sold off and traded for an S&P 500-based index fund instead. And of course, all of our retirement savings are in similar mutual funds.

Still, it’s kind of fun to own a small piece of a company – something I used to boast about Disney before I sold my shares because kids are even more expensive than their park tickets!

It’s also worth noting that A) I like all of these companies, and B) I don’t really have any doubts that they’re going to recover from all of this … eventually. It might take a while, namely because lord only knows how long these closures will need to drag on, but they’re all popular entertainment businesses with large assets, be it cruise ships or castles or even whales and dolphins… 😉

So for starters, I bought a handful of shares of both SeaWorld and Royal Caribbean. I’ll probably buy a few more tomorrow once we get paid, too, depending on how all of the dollars and cents wash out.

I’m not looking to get rich off of these investments, however I do believe in each of their brands and what they do, and 80% off seems like a pretty good deal when you’re buying companies that you enjoy and admire!

If they can help to bridge that gap left behind by not contributing to my retirement over the last couple of years, that would be nice because honestly it’s probably one of the few “risky investments” that I’d ever feel comfortable gambling my money on.

Do with these thoughts what you will, as I’m certainly not a financial professional. I’m just a guy who likes Florida’s tourism industry, and saw a fun opportunity to own a piece of some fun companies that my family enjoys. 😉

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