Financial Independence · investing

Investment update in July 2020

Investment update in July 2020

The stockmarket is rising slowly. Altough its summer, summer has never been a really bull month for the stock market, and with a second wave approaching Europe I am surprised that it is not dropping further. Perhaps its because of the 1600 Biljard EUR the EU will pump in the economy.

On peer to peer investments progress at Grupeers side is really slow right now. When I read the blog of Grupeer I have the impression progress will happen at any time now, but its not happening. I feel like they are holding a carrot in front of me. More about that bellow.

In my personal life sports have taken up such a big part of my life right now, since sport is the safest activity. I subscribed for a Triathlon altough its uncertain right now if it will go on. I will do 1/8 so that means 500m swimming, 25km cycling and 5km running. If it goes well I might try 1/4th of a triathlon. But it does mean I need to train a lot, so a lot of my time is going there.

Additionally (and this is why there has not been so many blogs in July), I am working on a secret project on the side that I do not want to talk about yet but will at some point.

Alright enough stuff about my life lets go and check how much my portfolio dropped or increased.

Image result for I am not a financial advisor

My Portfolio

My Portfolio has risen slightly to 65925 EUR (+1427) mainly because of additional investments and a small rise in the market. This is now the third month in a row that my investments are going up again. Slowly but certain a recovery is on its way.

On the bellow graphic there is three movements that are very clear this month:

  • About 1200 EUR transfered from my peer to peer investments to ETFs
  • Invested about 1000 EUR extra in ETFs on top of that
  • The stock market is rising very slowly

Lets look into more detail for each of these investment types shall we.

ETFs

It seems the stock market is rising slowly but steadily and gave me a nice profit of 929 EUR this month lowering my loss on my ETFs from -3369 last month to -2440 EUR this month. Keep it up!

Inception DateTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L
SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)31/01/202033825816-2310
IShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF (CEMU)28/02/20202318113-130
Total ETF Portfolio30/09/201936143929-2440

At this point I am really happy I limited my portfolio to just two ETFs, it makes it so much easier to track! And I keep finding it very easy to invest with DEGIRO, I am really happy I chose DEGIRO as broker!

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made the biggest profit this month, lets hope they can keep it up for another 2-3 months so I break even!

SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITSTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L% gain this month
31/01/202025160.4100
28/02/202023674-3852-3852
03/31/202022851-3362-7214
30/04/2020290343627-3587
31/05/202029590556-3031
30/06/202031411-95-3126
31/07/202033825816-2310

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

With a 113 EUR profit it was a pretty good month for this ETF

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETFTotal PortfolioMonthly ProfitTotal P&L% gain this month%gain yearly
31/01/2020244800
29/02/20202249-205-205
31/03/20201918.38-331-536
31/04/20202099182-354
31/05/20202064-36-390
30/06/20202211147-243
31/07/20202318113-130

Peer to Peer

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end date
Crowdestor30/09/20192974297907/02/2022
Grupeer30/09/201989908990Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure
Mintos30/09/2019998286501/06/2021
PeerBerry30/09/20192548005/09/2022
TFGCrowd30/09/2019143421017/09/2020
Total30/09/2019269331404905/09/2022

I will no longer keep track of the income I am getting into peer to peer. Instead I am showing the withdrawals here. I sold on the secondary market where possible, but without giving huge discounts. In total I managed to withdraw an additional 2% this month, putting me on 49% withdrawn up to date, which is not bad considering these are long term investments, however when I look at what is left, most will be stuck in Legal battles..

CrowdEstor

  • I withdrew 100 EUR from Crowdestor this month, but this was only interest. For principal I will need to wait until October. Im not really worried that this will go ok, so far payments have restarted normally.

Grupeer

Grupeer has officially defaulted with more then 60 days of delay on my withdrawals. I wrote off Grupeer but there is two points of light at the end of the tunnel that give me hope of recovering some part of my investment.

Legal action

I have grouped together with other investors to prepare a law suit for Grupeer. The main goal of the legal action will still be to ask Grupeer to repay the investments as planned and not to resort to bankrupting Grupeer.

Unfortunately everything is confidential, so I am not at liberty to discuss anything not public here. All I can say its being prepared right now, and it feels good to have legal representation.

Plan from Grupeer

Unfortunately the plan from Grupeer to start paying back the investments is currently more looking like a carrot they are holding in front of us. Any real money has not come out way, even though 75% would be in a recoverable state based on the bellow analysis.

 [visualizer id=”3020″] 

That means that 75% is hopefully in a recoverable state. 3% is probably lost and 22% is unclear but at high risk.

As long as Grupeers bank accounts remain frozen its only virtual money.

Kuetzal

I am in a legal procedure with Kuetzal and cannot comment on any non-public information, I wanted to share more this month but I still can’t. Perhaps in setpember.

Mintos

The last amount in Mintos is fully stuck in pending payments. Right now there is not much I can do to speed up the process except wait for these payments to get paid.

PeerBerry

Rita from Peerberry has offered to rebuy my loans as the Loan Originators have no problems right now, and I have happily accepted. That means I can close my investments in Peerberry and will no longer mention them.

TFGCrowd

Right now I am waiting for the last 200 EUR of principal to be finished in TFGCrowd. After that I will be fully out of this investment. This will happen in September.

Startups

I still have 3500 EUR in startups, but there is some news, one of my startups (WeGroup) made an offer to buy back the shares with quite a bit of interest. The counsel has come together (online) and voted to accept the offer. I had 300 EUR of principal invested there and it will be bought out at 164% the value I bought it for, so I expect a nice buy back soon. Once this has been completed I will re-invest this money into ETFs or a new startup.

Retirement funds

I decided not to update my retirement funds all the time since for most of the funds I get an update just once a year, so I will update it also just once a year. This is from end of 2019. I will update it again in December 2020.

November 2019Current Value
KBC Pension funds7999
First job Pension plan1467
Second job Pension plan592
Third job Pension plan12084

Wins / losses this month

  • My ETF Portfolio made 900 EUR profit
  • Slowly but certainly I am moving out of peer to peer

What is next?

  • I will be doing a 1/8 Triathlon in two weeks so right now Im training a lot to make that!
  • If things go well I plan to do another Triathlon in September (at least if they are not canceled because of Corona).
  • I am working on a secret project that I cannot give any info about right now, however I hope I can soon!

I will also post a savings rate update soon! Subscribe and make sure you don’t miss any of my monthly portfolio updates!

Peertopeer

Eight reasons why I moved out of peer to peer investments

I realized I never actually went deeper into my reasons for fully leaving peer to peer. So here are my reasons why I decided to cease investing in peer to peer and only invest in real estate and the stock market.

#1 Its not actually passive

What I realized that with some sites you need to keep a constant eye out for negative news messages about the LO’s you invested in. Sometimes you can read in the news a Loan Originator is going bankrupt, and a few days later it gets suspended from the secondary market. You will want to sell your loans off from that originator before this happens.

#2 It’s hard to distinguish between scams and honest sites

While I do feel some peer to peer sites are easier to spot as scams some are much harder. Sites where the projects don’t match up, or where Loan Originators are kept a secret. I was invested in Kuetzal, Envestio and Monethera. While I got out in time out of Monethera and Envestio I was not able to get out of Kuetzal in time. Looking at it back now of course I should have spotted Kuetzal as a scam.

But other sites were much harder to decide on if they are scams or not. Take Grupeer who went into default for me for example. Are they a scam? Even up to this day after not paying for 90 days they keep up appearances. In any case they were listed on explorep2p which usually only listed credible peer to peer sites.

#3 There is a high liquidity risk on most p2p and p2b sites

Some of these sites have a secondary market but that does not necessarily means it functions correctly. When shit hits the fan and everyone wants to get out, even a secondary market will not help. Some sites don’t have this at all, and they offer investments for 24 months. That’s a very long time to wait when things go wrong.

#4 Investors money might not be separated from the company’s money

When I asked to wire the money on my virtual Grupeer account in March, Grupeer answered me that due to delays in transfers from the Loan Originators they could not transfer it. BUT it was already on my account. That means that the company money and investors money was all together in one big pool. And I am sure that Grupeer was not the only p2p site doing this. It’s not regulated, so they are not required to do it. We need to trust in the goodwill of the p2p site.

The mail I got from Grupeer that made me suspect that investors and company money were not separated

#5 You are also investing in Startups

Most p2p and p2b sites around are actually small companies. So in a way you invest in Startups. Statistically you should know that a startup in the Finance industry has a 42% chance to fail, so this is already a huge risk you are taking just by wiring money. In theory you still have a claim on the loan you invested in directly with the business or loan originator. In practice its quite hard to recover that stake as you have no collateral.

So forget about all these blogs that say you need to diversify! You really shouldn’t, you should be investing in the biggest p2p sites only and stay away of the smaller sites run by a handful of people.

#6 They don’t need to start off as a scam to become one

I’m sure a few of the p2p sites are starting off with the idea that they would set up an honest system. However when the company gets in trouble its quite tempting to start using investors money as your own, or create fake loans or loan originators to get extra funding for your site. Of course that’s not legal, but the temptation is there and there is no regulation to check if they are behaving as they should.

#7 I lose to much sleep over it

When the stock market crashed 30% in February / March 2020 because of Corona I never lost one night of sleep over it. While when Kuetzal stopped functioning, I remember in December 2019 I was awake all night. Even though I had 20 times more in the stock market. The idea that I fell for a scam was just extremely painful.

#8 It feels that even peer to peer loans are P2B loans

On some platforms where you can invest in many different loans, my original thought was that if the LO ever stopped paying I would still have a claim to the loan. After a few Loan Originators got into troubles because of Covid, its very clear that my claim is not on the person that I actually took the loan from but on the Loan Originator itself. So instead of investing in 1000’s of loans I was actually just investing in 30-40 businesses.

Conclussion

In conclusion I no longer feel comfortable to put my money into peer to peer. For me the high risk / high reward has mostly turned out to be high risk. Normally next year there would come some European regulation. This could actually be good for the sector in the long run, but mostly for the investors who will feel more confident simple rules (like keeping investors money seperate), are being followed.

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Uncategorized

Savings rate June 2020: drop to 24.45%

Finally the drop of income due to no travelling for work is starting to become clear. Travel will probably only pick up again near the end of the year so until then I will need to accept a lower income.

Additionally I had a few expenses that came unexpectedly..

Expenses

Lets start with the expenses and compare May and June

[visualizer id=”2827″] 

 [visualizer id=”3031″] 

Of course I only have high housing expenses every 3 months, so that means in June and July they will be low. On the other hand all my other costs did go up. While some are unexpected, some I will just need to keep a closer eye on.

The highlights

  • Living costs are stable at 640 EUR which is normal for June
  • Hobbys grew very high due to the following reasons: I started kiting, and as it is with all sports there is a start up cost. For kiting this is 450 EUR which will get you the initial lessons package. I paid a part of this already in June and will pay another part of this in July. A second sport I started was a rather expensive gym that gives a lot of personal guidance. There was a startup cost here of 120 EUR. This number will drop in half every month after that. Lastly I also spend 130 EUR on 12 spinning classes. I plan to go every 2 weeks or so, so I will be able to last for 6 months with this card.
  • Groceries was quite high as well. I started buying more microwave meals again and healthy salads. I can see this very fast on my expenses, so I decided to stop buying prepared – meals for the future. Its good I track these things or I would not have noticed it!
  • I took a short holiday, this costed me 186 EUR for 3 days. This will probably be my only holiday abroad this summer.
  • There was a 167 cost to be part of a class action law suit against Grupeer
  • Shopping remained stable (although I did send some items back, but I am still waiting for a refund) and health costs dropped a bit

Expenses overview for 2020

My total expenses for June were 2064, which is not that much higher then other months really, but I do feel there is areas I will be able to cut back on more.

Income

The extra income stream I got from travelling in Q1 has now officially ended, so I need to accept that for a few more months I will be on a lower income. But hey, its not such a bad income, even on a month I spend 400-500 EUR on sports I am able to save 24% and that’s not bad at all.

The good thing is this is giving me insight on my spending patterns without travelling, and it can help with my decision to just stop travelling for work at one point.

Saving Rate

With a saving rate of 24.45% I am at one of the worst months this year, but that’s ok. It does mean my goal of saving 5% more then last year is not yet lost, but it is at high risk of failure.

2019 saving rate: 45.8%

2020 average (so far): 46.99%

Whats next

I will need to budget another 250 EUR for kiting lessons in July, and 60-80 EUR for fitness (depending of the subscription I choose), but I do think with no more holidays planned and no unexpected costs (law suits and such) I will be doing better next month.

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Financial Independence · investing

June 2020 Portfolio update: Grupeer presents their plan to repay investors

Investment update in June 2020

The stockmarket didn’t really seem to know what it wanted this month, we had a few drops and a few rises, but in general nothing to indicate that corona is behind us or that we are tumbling into a deeper crisis. I guess the stockmarket really hasn’t made up its mind. Its not unexpected given the record breaking infections that we see across the world and especially in US that is dominating the stock market.

Last month I decided to write off all investments I made in Grupeer as they were officially 60 days late on repayment. As a reminder I had a big investment there of 9000 EUR, so it was a very difficult decision to make. Grupeer remains the center of attention this month and since last month, together with other investors, I have employed a lawyer to assist us to retrieve our investments. On the other side Grupeer has just presented their initial version of their plan to repay the investors. But more about that bellow.

In my personal life since I had a lot more time to spare by no longer travelling and working from home I have taken up various sports. I managed to sport 42 hours in June! Partly due to holidays of course that gave me more time for this, but also because I have been looking for new sports. Right now I am doing mainly mountainbike, tennis, kite and gym. So yes I do spend much more $ on sports these days, but I really put the goal for myself to get into shape and try to enjoy the summer. And at the end of the month its really nice to see the results in Strave, which is my n1 App to track all my activities:

Image result for I am not a financial advisor

My Portfolio

My Portfolio has risen slightly to 64498 EUR mainly because of additional investments. Its good to see that after a few months of a dropping portfolio I am making a recovery.

On the bellow graphic there is three movements that are very clear this month:

  • Continue the sell off of my peer to peer portfolio, so transfered a little over 600 EUR from peer to peer to ETFs
  • Invested about 1300 EUR extra in ETFs on top of the 600 EUR that came from peer to peer
  • The stock market remained stable this month

Lets look into more detail for each of these investment types shall we.

ETFs

It seems the stock market is stabilizing and has no idea if it should move up or down. I made a modest profit this month of 52 EUR, mainly thanks to my IShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF (CEMU) that performed really well

Inception DateTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L
SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)31/01/202031411-95-3126
IShares Core MSCI EM IMI UCITS ETF (CEMU)28/02/20202211147-243
Total ETF Portfolio30/09/20193362252-3369

At this point I am really happy I limited my portfolio to just two ETFs, it makes it so much easier to track! And I keep finding it very easy to invest with DEGIRO, I am really happy I chose DEGIRO as broker!

SPDR MSCI World UCITS ETF (SWRD)

My World ETF has made a small loss this month but nothing to worry about

SPDR MSCI WORLD UCITSTotal PortfolioMonthly P&LTotal P&L
31/01/202025160.4100
28/02/202023674-3852-3852
03/31/202022851-3362-7214
30/04/2020290343627-3587
31/05/202029590556-3031
30/06/202031411-95-3126

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETF

With a 137 EUR profit it was a second best month for this ETF this year.

ISHARES CORE MSCI Emerging Markets IMI UCITS ETFTotal PortfolioMonthly ProfitTotal P&L
31/01/2020244800
29/02/20202249-205-205
31/03/20201918.38-331-536
31/04/20202099182-354
31/05/20202064-36-390
30/06/20202211147-243

Peer to Peer

I will no longer keep track of the income I am getting into peer to peer. Instead I am showing the withdrawals here. I sold on the secondary market where possible, but without giving huge discounts. In total I managed to withdraw an additional 2% this month, putting me on 47% withdrawn up to date, which is not bad considering these are long term investments.

PortfolioStartTotal at 29/02/2019Left inpeer to peerExpected end dateMoney left to withdraw
Crowdestor30/09/20192974297907/02/2022100.17%
Grupeer30/09/201989908990In Legal procedure, awaiting Grupeers plan100.00%
Iuvo Group31/12/2019224004/20200.00%
Kuetzal30/09/201910051005Defaulted. In Legal procedure100.00%
Mintos30/09/2019998286501/06/20218.67%
NeoFinance30/09/20191273004/20200.00%
PeerBerry30/09/20192548109405/09/202242.94%
TFGCrowd30/09/2019143421017/09/202014.64%
Total30/09/2019284301514305/09/202253.26%

CrowdEstor

  • I was not able to withdraw anything from CrowdEstor this month, but I expect I can finally start next month as interests are coming in again. As you can see bellow I am expecting quite decent amounts to come in the coming month!

Grupeer

Grupeer has officially defaulted with more then 60 days of delay on my withdrawals. I wrote off Grupeer but there is two points of light at the end of the tunnel that give me hope of recovering some part of my investment.

Legal action

I have grouped together with other investors to prepare a law suit for Grupeer. The main goal of the legal action will still be to ask Grupeer to repay the investments as planned and not to resort to bankrupting Grupeer.

Unfortunately everything is confidential, so I am not at liberty to discuss anything not public here. All I can say its being prepared right now, and it feels good to have legal representation.

Plan from Grupeer

The other point of hope is the plan from Grupeer. Yesterday Grupeer posted they have analysed their portfolio and decided there is 5 Groups of investments / Loan originators.

Group 1: This includes money that was not yet invested mostly and can just be transfered back

Group 2: These are good Loan Originators that are willing to continue payment. They will announce in 2 days if payment will be resumed.

Group 3: These are Loan Originators that have financial problems but are planning to present a repayment schedule by the 20th of July

Group 4: These are Loan Originators that basically refuse or cannot pay anymore. Grupeer states they will prepare legal action against them

Group 5: These are Loan Originators that have not decided yet what to do. They might land in Group 3 or Group 4.

I mostly invested in loans on Grupeer and based on this its clear that it was mainly the B2B that have a lot of issues. The P2P are doing better. I have analysed my portfolio to find out how good / bad I was off and found the following results:

 [visualizer id=”3020″] 

That means that 75% is hopefully in a recoverable state. 3% is probably lost and 22% is unclear but at high risk. All in all my portfolio is not doing that bad, if Grupeer is telling the truth I can hopefully recover a large amount still. As you can see at the graph bellow my portfolio is also doing much better then the average portfolio.

Grupeer does point out it all depends of their bank accounts getting unfrozen, and its not clear yet if that will happen. If it happens then they will resume operations from the 3rd of July for Group 1 and Group 2. Exciting times!

Kuetzal

I am in a legal procedure with Kuetzal and cannot comment on any non-public information. There is also nothing new to add, I expect the next update to be somewhere in my blog from August.

Mintos

I have managed to withdraw about 93% of my cash from Mintos already. My last loans are for 95% in Capital Service, and this is suspended from the secondary market unfortunately. I managed that right now the pace of further withdrawals is going really really slow. Additionally most of my funds are currently stuck in pending payments. All I can do is wait and hope that Capital Service will recover and make faster payments soon.

PeerBerry

Withdrawals are going slow but steady and I managed to withdraw another 80 EUR this month. So far 58% is already withdrawn.

TFGCrowd

I managed to withdraw another 500 EUR of finished projects this month! Im amazed to see the recovery of TFGCrowd. I have one project remaining where I have 200 EUR of principal in, that finishes in September. So far I managed to withdraw 85% of my investments!

My final project is a real estate project in Cambridge. A really good area, so what could possibly go wrong?

Startups

I still have 3500 EUR in startups, right now there is nothing new to report.

Retirement funds

I decided not to update my retirement funds all the time since for most of the funds I get an update just once a year, so I will update it also just once a year. This is from end of 2019. I will update it again in December 2020.

November 2019Current Value
KBC Pension funds7999
First job Pension plan1467
Second job Pension plan592
Third job Pension plan12084

Wins / losses this month

  • My ETF Portfolio made 52 EUR profit
  • Some light at the tunnel for Grupeer, is there a chance I can recover some part of that investment?
  • I tried Kite Surf for the first time and loved it!
  • I also subscribed to a Gym membership, my new gym has something called an egym to help you progress easier on the level you are at

What is next?

  • I will be waiting full of tension to see if Grupeer actually starts repayment the 4th of July or not
  • I want to try to drink less alcohol, as a way to get more into shape. So I am going to try to say no to alcohol the coming month. This with the exception of birthday parties.

I will also post a savings rate update soon! Subscribe and make sure you don’t miss any of my monthly portfolio updates!

Personal

Going on vacation to Luxembourg during Corona times | June update

Read my other blogs about my life during Corona:

Its now June Belgium has been stuck in the age of Corona for 3 months now. But again a month has gone by, read bellow what was changed and how this affects my life!

  • The borders have re-opened, since the 15th of June Belgians are welcome in plenty of EU member-states again. And I will use this opportunity to do a small trip abroad, but more about that bellow
  • Restaurants and bars have re-opened finally! I don’t see many people sitting inside yet, but plenty of people are outside on terraces
  • Indoor sports are allowed again
  • You can now have a “bubble” that means you can invite up to 10 people at home. Every week you can change your bubble, so you are pretty much allowed to see anyone you know again.
  • Mouth-masks are still obligated on public transport but nowhere else. That unlike other countries where they are allowed everywhere again
  • Some schools / classes are open, but not yet all of them
  • Picnics and sitting down in public areas is now allowed again
  • The last update there was 1448 in the hospital and 277 on intensive care, today there is 308 people in the hospital and 50 in intensive care in Belgium so that’s another huge drop!
  • Tourism is allowed again but events are not. The event sector feels a bit bypassed I am sure, but really its understandable that events with 1000 people are not allowed. We need to avoid a second lockdown, and large amounts of people together is just not a good idea right now..

Update on my personal life

I have really gotten used to this new way of life. When I finish work I am already at home, I didn’t had to use my car or the train to get home, and I feel very refreshed. I am using this extra energy to do more sports.

  • I sport about 6-8 hours / week now. Mostly tennis and mountainbike, but I am open for a new sport
  • I have met friends and colleagues after work to sport together, or to go to a bar and do a terrace. I still avoid going inside restaurants or bars.
  • I feel much healthier and less stressful. I don’t know if its because I work from home or sport more often.

How are things at work

I have now been working for 3 months! I gotten so used to this way of life.

  • I went to have beers with colleagues several times now. It was good to see them again
  • I really do feel I could use an extra room to have an office in case I need to work longer from home in the future
  • Working at home has been extended until end of September, and even then nothing is certain right now

Upcoming trip to Luxembourg!

I have actually planned a trip! I am going to Echternach in Luxembourg, and I am leaving tomorrow (22nd of June)!

  • I am just going for a few days. The area is known for (apart from the beautiful old town of Echternach), walking, cycling and kayaking
  • I am driving there by car, somehow I don’t think stepping into an airplane is a good idea right now
  • I am staying in Germany across the border because it was much cheaper (75 EUR / night in a really nice hotel 10 minutes from Echternach)
  • Germany and Luxembourg have different rules then Belgium. Mouth-masks are more obligated there so I will pack some extra
  • I am sure travelling will be different, but as I plan to do mainly outdoor activities and the weather is looking great, I do feel its just as safe as in Belgium right now

I will report next month how it went, and whats its like to travel in these times. Hopefully I can add some of my own photos then, but for now I will post some stock photos bellow so you have an idea of what to expect..

Echternach the city
View of a waterfalls you can encounter on a hike near Echternach

How are my investments doing?

The stock market keeps going up slowly. So far I have good hopes that in a few months the stock market will be recovered fully, especially considering that we are getting closer and closer to a vaccine. I hear the Oxford vaccine (if it works) might already be available in the UK in October. So perhaps in Belgium by December?

Last month was terrible for searching a house. Almost all houses got sold instantly. I do have the impression that real estate agents are still working to work trough their backlog, and things are improving slowly. I keep looking and hopefully I will run into something I like soon.

Follow me if you are interested to see how I manage to cope with these crazy times! And remember stay healthy!